Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP founding partner Adam Shea is a nationally recognized trial lawyer with extensive experience and success representing individuals and families in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and across Southern California.
Mr. Shea has a proven track record of helping those who have been harmed by negligence, wrongful conduct, violations of safety rules, and defective products – including automotive and tire product defects. In this area, Mr. Shea specializes in bus and truck collisions involving other vehicles and pedestrians, accidents resulting from tire failures, rollovers of 15 passenger vans, trucks and utility vehicles, as well as cases involving claims of roof crush, defective fuel systems, defective restraint systems, seat back failures, child safety seat defects, airbag deployment failures, van conversion defects, and vehicle crashworthiness.
Voir Dire, Opening Statement, Closing Argument, & Rebuttal
At approximately 6:45 a.m., newlyweds Paul and Sara Troupe were driving on northbound I-17 in Phoenix. During their drive, they encountered some traffic and found themselves coming to a complete stop behind a line of cars. As this was happening, defendant Brian Knolls was driving a Freightliner truck and towing a flatbed trailer loaded with thousands of pounds of decorative pavestones. Mr. Knolls had started working early that morning and was sleepy. The night before, he had taken SOMA medication which is a muscle relaxant for his back pain. Mr. Knolls fell asleep while driving and failed to recognize that traffic ahead of him had come to a stop. Mr. Knolls’ tractor-trailer slammed into the rear of the Troupe’s SUV at 58 mph, violently pushing the SUV into a Chevrolet pickup truck that was in front of the SUV. After the violence of the collision pushed the Chevrolet pick-up into other vehicles, Mr. Knolls’ tractor-trailer continued pushing the SUV for 310 feet before impacting the concrete center median wall, then proceeded to push the SUV along the median wall for another 114 feet, and finally the SUV separated from the tractor-trailer and traveled an additional 200 feet before coming to a stop. A download of the Pavestone Freightliner’s black box showed that Mr. Knolls did not take any actions to apply his brakes or slow his truck for approximately 11 seconds after first colliding with the Troupe’s SUV.
Paul died and Sara was injured. An occupant of one of the other vehicles also died, and other drivers were also injured. The Court did not allow the jury to hear about the other death and injuries. After three weeks of trial, the jury awarded Doug and Sherri Troupe $5,000,000, and found that Mr. Knolls’ conduct warranted an award of punitive damages. The punitive damage phase of the trial was scheduled to commence the following Monday. The case settled in its entirety for a confidential amount prior to resuming trial on Monday.