Torts Keyed to Goldberg
National By-Products, Inc. v. Searcy House Moving Co.
On July 11, 1985, Robert Foley was driving an 18-wheel tractor-trailer for his employer, National By-Products, Inc., on a highway. The 18-wheel tractor-trailer weighed about 80,480 pounds, which was 480 pounds over the limit. Nonetheless, Foley had previously exceeded the weight requirement in the past without being subject to discipline by National. The Searcy House Moving Co. was shipping a house on the same highway. When Searcy was not able to pass below a bridge, it had to stop to adjust the house. When Searcy was making the adjustments, traffic was moving only through a single lane. Foley turned a corner on the highway when he was traveling at approximately 70 miles per hour, 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. At that time, Searcy was about 900 feet away from Foley. Foley did not try to slow down or stop or appear to try to slow down or stop. Thereafter, Foley’s 18-wheel tractor-trailer collided into a vehicle in which Stacy McGee and Lorene Staggs were inside. Following that collision, Foley’s tractor-trailer collided into Searcy’s house and another vehicle. Subsequently, McGee and Staggs died. Later, it was known that Foley’s breaks were not functioning properly and National was about two-and-a-half months late in fixing them. Nevertheless, Foley himself,was being diligent with his personal daily and periodic inspections of the brakes. McGee and Staggs estates brought a wrongful-death action against Foley, National, and Searcy. Foley and National and Searcy filed cross-complaints on each other. A jury heard all cases ruled in favor of the estates of Staggs and McGee and to Searcy. National appealed the damages ruled against it of $100,000 in punitive damages to Searcy.
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