Jury awards plaintiffs a fraction of damages sought in federal injury trial

Jason Granger Mar. 16, 2009, 8:14am


Two Missouri couples who had sought $1.36 million from a Carbondale True Value hardware store were awarded only $113,000 on Friday by jurors deciding a personal injury case in the Southern District of Illinois.

Eugene and Virginia Sturm of High Ridge, Mo, and Ken and Leslie Richardet, Manchester, Mo., were returning from a Florida trip in January 2007, when a three-vehicle accident occurred at the border of Illinois and Kentucky.

According to the original complaint, the driver of a Murdale True Value company truck, Kevin D. Harrison, operated his vehicle without properly working rear brakes at a speed that was "greater than reasonable and proper."

The attorney representing Murdale True Value, Richard Korn of Fox Galvin in St. Louis, said the company admitted fault in the case.

John Allen, of Fox Galvin in St. Louis, served as co-counsel with Korn in the case.

"We admitted liability," he said. "The focus of the case centered on injuries."

Virginia Sturm claimed the accident caused severe hip damage, which required hip replacement surgery.

Korn disputed her claim, saying that Virginia Sturm did not complain of hip pain immediately following the accident or at subsequent visits to a physician.

Sturm had hip replacement surgery in April of 2008, more than a year after the accident, Korn said.

Another plaintiff, Leslie Richardet, claimed the accident caused a full thickness tear of her rotator cuff.

However, Korn said Richardet did not complain of shoulder pain at the accident site, nor during six weeks of physical therapy.

Korn said the defense was able to disprove the allegations of Richardet's shoulder injury with previous medical records showing she had experienced shoulder problems in the past.

The jury granted individual sums to each plaintiff:

  • Eugene Sturm, $27,000
  • Virginia Sturm, $41,000
  • Kenneth Richardet, $21,000
  • Leslie Richardet, $24,000

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