Lightfoot Wins Defense Jury Verdict for U-Haul in $130 Million Personal Injury Case

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (September 7, 2018) — Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC has won a significant defense victory on behalf of client U-Haul in a personal injury trial in Arizona. A jury in the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County yesterday found in favor of U-Haul in a case where the plaintiff sought more than $130 million in damages.

The case arose out of a 2014 rollover accident involving a pickup that was using a tow dolly rented from U-Haul to tow another vehicle. The accident left a passenger with permanent paralysis due to a spinal cord injury. The plaintiffs in the case had alleged U-Haul’s decision to rent the tow dolly, which did not have brakes, to the plaintiff caused the accident. The plaintiff had sought $30 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages.

The jury delivered a verdict in favor of U-Haul on all counts.

“We are grateful to the jury for this verdict and that they saw the case for what it was: a tragic accident,” said Lightfoot partner Banks Sewell. “We have always contended the rollover was the result of the pickup driver’s failure to heed the warnings included with our client’s tow dolly, including a stipulation not to drive over 55 miles per hour.”

During trial, U-Haul presented evidence that the pick-up’s driver passed another vehicle on the emergency shoulder at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour and that this led to the rollover. In addition, U-Haul demonstrated that the plaintiff would not have been seriously injured if he had been wearing a seatbelt — which he was not.

“U-Haul’s equipment had been extensively tested and was found to be safe without independent brakes when used correctly,” added Lightfoot partner J. Chandler Bailey, who, along with associate David A. Rich and Ryan S. Patterson of the law firm Quarles & Brady, was also part of the U-Haul trial team.

The case is Wing et al. v. U-Haul International Inc. et al., case number CV2016-050917, in the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County.