By: Heriberto "Eddie" Morales Jr. (Langley & Banack Attorney)
EAGLE PASS, MAVERICK COUNTY, TX (August 22, 2018) – Langley & Banack, Inc. announced today their litigation team successfully defended a $200 million dollar civil claim against construction client Anderson Columbia Co., Inc. (Anderson Columbia).
The case involved a 2014 rear-end collision initiated by an 18-wheeler tractor trailer hitting a Ford F-150 pickup truck and creating a chain reaction into and Ford Van and another 18-wheeler tractor trailer. The vehicles had come to a complete stop in the highway construction zone area that included a one lane road closure and the use of flaggers and pilot vehicles.
The collision took place on Texas Highway S-277, approximately 8 miles outside of Eagle Pass during the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas boom. The driver and passenger of the Ford truck, as well as the driver of the Ford Van, passed away as a result of the collision. The driver of the 18-wheeler, as well as the attorneys representing the Plaintiffs’ in the Ford pickup, alleged the traffic control warning signs pursuant to the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TXDOT) Traffic Control Plan were not in place at the time of the collision.
The verdict for the two and one-half week case in Maverick County returned at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, after jury deliberations began at 9 a.m. the same day. The jury found no liability on Anderson Columbia and found the company in full compliance of TXDOT’s Traffic Control Plan, which would have granted Anderson Columbia immunity even if the jury had found liability. The jury also found the trucking company fully responsible for the accident and awarded $3 million dollars to the family of the deceased driver of the Ford van.
The trial team consisted of Jennifer Aufricht of Thompson Coe in Dallas, and Langley & Banack Shareholder Heriberto “Eddie” Morales, Jr. of the Firm’s Eagle Pass office as co-counsel, with Darrell Barger of Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer in Corpus Christi serving as third chair. Langley & Banack Shareholders Catherine M. Stone, Gayla Corley and Robinson Ramsey provided appellate and litigation support.
Morales, a seasoned litigator with more than 18 years of experience, is frequently retained to represent corporations and privately held businesses in defense matters throughout Maverick, Dimmit, Zavala and surrounding counties.
“The superb work and cooperation by the entire defense team led to this victory,” said Morales. “Our primary focus was on the jury receiving the complete truth about this tragic event and holding the correct defendant accountable for this horrible accident,” Morales continued. “While we were passionate about defending the company, it was equally important to consider the effects that this lawsuit had on the employees being wrongfully accused and blamed for the tragic deaths involved. We made it our mission to inform the jury that Anderson Columbia was fully supporting its employees and intended to go the extra mile to defend them,” he explained. Morales concluded by stating, “Our condolences go out to the families that lost loved ones as a result of this collision and we hope they find closure knowing the correct negligent party has been exposed.”
“From the support staff to the extremely effective and hardworking attorneys, all involved contributed greatly to achieving this favorable result and in defending the reputation of Anderson Columbia Co., Inc. and its employees” said Zeb Cheshire, General Counsel for Anderson Columbia Companies.
“No one wins when there is loss of life,” said Berry O’Bryan, Anderson Columbia VP of Texas Operations. “Ultimately we have a strong obligation to protect our wrongfully accused employees from false accusations and stand by them every step of the way if a claim against them and our company arises” he said. “We value our hard-working employees and the professional work they do every day in the field,” O’Bryan continued.
The client, Anderson Columbia Company, Inc., is one of the fastest growing highway construction companies in Texas. Headquartered in Florida, the company has 1,600 employees across Florida, Texas, Georgia and the Southeast, and is one of the largest heavy civil contractors in the United States.
As one of South Texas’ largest, locally owned law firms, Langley & Banack boasts 18 practice areas, providing the highest quality legal representation to clients. For more information, visit www.langleybanack.com.