Shawn Battagler and Megan Ray represented defendant Brandon Dighero in the case of John Powell v. Brandon Dighero before a Jasper County Missouri jury in March of 2013. The case arose out of a motor vehicle accident which occurred in December of 2005, in which Plaintiff John Powell’s vehicle collided with the rear of a tractor driven by Defendant Brandon Dighero on rural Highway N in Jasper County Missouri. Dighero was moving hay after dark as a favor to his father, the owner of the tractor. Plaintiff was approaching the end of a trip which began in Colorado earlier that day.
Plaintiff submitted the case on a negligence per se violation of Section 307.127 of the Missouri Revised Statutes which requires slow moving vehicles to display a reflective triangle when operated on the roadways after dark. The tractor’s owner admitted that the tractor was not equipped with the required emblem, but insisted that the lighting and reflective tape on the tractor made it safe on the roadway.
Evidence was presented that a number of other cars had seen the tractor and changed lanes without incident in the moments just before the accident. The defense asserted that the cause of the accident was Plaintiff blacking out just prior to the crash. Defendant presented a medical record to the jury in which Plaintiff stated to his doctor in 2008 that a blackout had caused him to be in a motor vehicle accident in 2005. A second medical record indicated that Plaintiff had blacked out and been in an accident. Other medical records referenced blackouts over a six year period.
Plaintiff sustained severe trauma to his face requiring extensive dental work and the need for future surgery. Damages claimed by Plaintiff for past and future medical expenses were near $24,000. Plaintiff argued to the jury for damages up to $75,000. No offer was made by defendant.
The unanimous verdict assessed no fault to either party.