Jury awards man who drove golf cart into his Cavalier while it was being repossessed

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 28, 2007, 6:46am

A Madison County jury awarded William Clawson $111,118.64 for injuries he sustained after driving a golf cart into the path of his 2003 Chevy Cavalier that was being repossessed.

But after the eight-day trial ended in Circuit Judge David Hylla's courtroom, the jury reduced Clawson's take to $56,837.18, determining that he was 48.35% responsible for his injuries.

Represented by Steve Buser of Columbia, Clawson was seeking damages from Jack Turner of Collinsville, who works for RDA Towing and Recovery in Missouri. Turner had been sent to repossess Clawson's car.

Clawson also was seeking damages from GMAC claiming the company failed to notify RDA that the repossession had been rescinded.

Clawson claims he drove a golf cart in the path of his car on Feb. 27, 2005, because he thought it was being stolen because GMAC never notified him they intended to repossess his car.

During trial, Clawson said he suffered severe and disabling injuries to his neck that required an experimental disk replacement, mental anguish, incurred and became liable for medical expenses, and has been unable to perform his work activities.

He claimed Turner used an unreasonable amount of force in his effort to take possession of the Cavalier and then drove the car into the golf cart.

Buser claimed Turner failed to reduce his speed to avoid colliding into the golf cart, failed to properly apply the brakes, and failed to keep the car under proper control.

Though the jury found that RDA and GMAC were each 25.35% responsible for Clawson's injuries, they also entered a verdict in favor of GMAC on a counter-suit GMAC filed against Clawson for the cost of the vehicle.

GMAC alleged Clawson attempted to preclude Turner from taking his vehicle by threatening Turner and his wife with bodily injury and then running into Turner with the golf cart.

GMAC claims if Clawson was really injured it was because Turner was only defending himself against an assault.

The company also said Clawson owes them $14,897.08 for non-payment under the contract for his car.

GMAC was represented by Nelson Mitten of St. Louis.

Clawson purchased his car on May 15, 2003, from George Weber Chevrolet.

The amount financed was $17,974.52 plus a finance charge of $7,892.92.

Clawson went into default for non-payment on April 30, 2005.

Turner and RDA were represented by Zack Vaughn of St. Louis.

Without taking into consideration the question of reduction of damages due to Clawson's own negligence the jury awarded Clawson $60,525.64 in past medical expenses and $50,093 in the present cash value of future medical expenses.

The jury did not award damages for his pain and suffering, loss of a normal life and lost wages.

The six man six woman jury also awarded him $500 for property damage.

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