Multi-million dollar Ste. Genevieve, Mo. tractor trailer accident suit settles

Amelia Flood Feb. 3, 2011, 8:10am


The parties in a tractor trailer accident case that won a former trucker and his wife more than $3 million in damages last year has settled.

Plaintiffs Thomas and Betty Edwards filed a release of judgment in their suit against truck driver Gary Collier and his employer Millstadt Rendering Company Jan. 28.

The Edwardses and Thomas Edwards' employer, Slay Transportation, sued Collier and Millstadt for injuries Thomas Edwards suffered when his tractor trailer ran into part of Collier's rig that had come off his tractor trailer and crossed a highway median.

The 2007 accident in Ste. Genevieve County, Mo. left Thomas Edwards with severe injuries that required an airlift to a St. Louis hospital.

His wife, Betty, sued on claims of loss of consortium.

Slay Transportation sued seeking to recover damages to its tractor trailer rig.

The plaintiffs claimed that Collier had worked more than 12 hours on the day of the accident and that he fell asleep, running his truck off the road.

The defendants countered that Thomas Edwards was suffering from uncontrolled diabetes at the time of the accident.

The disease, according to the defense, caused Thomas Edwards vision
and fatigue problems that impaired his ability to avoid the wreck.

After a hard-fought trial that included personal barbs traded between attorneys Eric Carlson and Martin Morrissey, the jurors awarded Thomas Edwards $2.5 million in damages.

His wife received $800,000 and his employer just over $200,000.

The defense filed a post-trial motion seeking to set aside the verdict.

In that motion the defense claimed that Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis allowed "zombie-like" evidence that in effect directed the verdict for the plaintiffs.

The defense argued Callis' rulings had given jurors the impression that the defendants hid or destroyed evidence.

The parties settled before Callis could hear the post-trial motion.

The terms of the parties' settlement are not available in the case
file or specified in the release of judgment.

Carlson represented Thomas and Betty Edwards.

Joseph Swift and Michael Ward represented Slay.

Morrissey and Dominique Seymoure represented Collier and Millstadt.

The case is Madison case number 08-L-813.

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