YRC settles for $1.1 million in '07 Pontoon Beach negligence suit

By Amelia Flood | Jun 1, 2009

The number of defendants in a 2007 negligence suit that has spawned counterclaims and a wrongful death action has dropped as one settled with both plaintiffs Monday.

Logistics company, YRC, will pay $1 million to Cynthia Martin, the wife of accident victim Russell Martin and will also pay out over $130,000 to the widow of David Groves, whose car struck a tractor trailer injuring Martin and Groves. Groves later died from his injuries.

Attorneys for co-defendants Werner Enterprises Inc., Jose Velazquez, and Proctor and Gamble Manufacturing objected to the settlements. They took issue with the amount YRC agreed to pay and with a clause that was removed Monday that they said would have prevented them from arguing YRC's fault in their own cases.

Under the Martin settlement, YRC will pay $750,000 to Russell Martin and $200,000 to his wife. Attorneys for the couple will receive $50,000 in legal fees. It is not yet known what legal fees are contained in the Groves' $132,000 settlement.

The settlements will be final pending a fairness decision from Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, who indicated that she found both monetary amounts to be fair.

YRC was added to the suits brought by Cynthia Martin and Julia Groves after Cynthia Martin initially filed a negligence suit against the estate of David Groves in 2007.

Cynthia Martin originally sued the Groves estate due to injuries her husband received in a car accident in November 2006. Russell Martin was a passenger in a car driven by David Groves when it struck a tractor trailer backing out of a Pontoon Beach warehouse logistics center. Russell Martin sustained serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury. David Groves died of his injuries weeks later.

Cynthia Martin later amended her complaint and the Groves estate filed a counterclaim for wrongful death against the truck's driver Jose Velazquez, and his employer, Werner Enterprises Inc. The suits and counterclaims also included the leasing company CP/IPERS,
Proctor and Gamble Manufacturing and YRC, the company Proctor and Gamble hired to run logistics. Several of the defendants also filed counterclaims.

CP/IPERS, YRC and Proctor and Gamble each requested summary judgment in May. Only CP/IPERS was granted one.

Cynthia Martin is represented by Joseph Bartholomew. Werner and Jose Velazquez are represented by Richard Nash and William Brasher of St. Louis.

The Groves estate is represented by Thomas Buckley and others. YRC was represented by Michael Kleffner. CP/IPERS and Procter & Gamble was represented by Matthew Reh.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-224.

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