Louisiana Federal Jury Awards Nearly $4.4M to Trucking Plaintiff for Alleged Traumatic Brain Injury

On January 28, 2020, a federal jury in the United States District Court for Western District of Louisiana awarded $4,375,017.62 to a plaintiff allegedly injured in a truck accident.

Hall v. Landstar Ranger, Inc. – The Facts

The case, Hall v. Landstar Ranger, Inc., No. 18-410 (W.D. La. 2018), stemmed from a September 4, 2017 automobile accident in which a commercial truck driver operating a 2012 Freightliner tractor-trailer rear-ended a vehicle operated by plaintiff-Hall on Interstate 10 in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Hall sued in federal court, asserting federal diversity jurisdiction as his claimed damages exceeded $75,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs, and Hall was from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the defendants were from different states.

In his federal complaint, Hall alleged injuries to his brain, low back, neck, shoulder, knee, hand, wrist, and body as a whole. The traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis had apparently been made by plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon based on the results of Diffuse Tensor Imaging (DTI). According to the defendants, the neurosurgeon’s opinion that the imaging showed a TBI, was not the finding of the Ph.D. who performed the testing or the radiologist who oversaw the testing. The defendants’ attempts to exclude the neurosurgeon’s anticipated testimony was denied by the presiding magistrate judge, however. During the course of litigation, the defendants stipulated to liability for the underlying accident but otherwise disputed plaintiff’s allegations.

The Verdict

The case was referred to a magistrate judge for trial by consent of the parties. Following a six-day jury trial, the federal jury awarded Hall $4,375,017.62 broken down as follows: past medical expenses – $232,017.62; future medical expenses – $750,000.00; past lost wages – $93,000.00; future loss of earning capacity – $800,000.00; past physical and mental pain and suffering – $1,000,000.00; future physical and mental pain and suffering – $750,000.00; past and future disability and loss of enjoyment of life – $750,000.00.