Hale County Jury Returns Large Verdict Against California Insurance Company

by: Prince, Glover & Hayes Monday, February 6th, 2012

A Hale County jury returned a significant verdict against an insurance company in a trial involving an automobile collision between a local resident and a drunk driver. On January 31, the jury awarded a verdict of $750,000 against Farmers Insurance Exchange, a nationwide insurance company based in Los Angeles, California.

Matt Glover and Josh Hayes of the Tuscaloosa firm Prince, Glover & Hayes served as lead counsel during the two-day trial along with Hank Sanders of the Selma firm Chesnut, Sanders, Sanders & Pettway. The late Milton Brown, Jr. of Tuscaloosa was the original lawyer for the plaintiffs. He worked hard and added value to this case before the illness that ultimately took his life caused him to pass the case to Matt Glover and his firm.

The case involved an admitted drunk driver – who later pled guilty to several felonies for his actions on the day of the wreck including unlawful possession of a controlled substance, burglary in the third degree and theft of property – who hit Mrs. Linda Aldridge at the intersection of Alabama Highway 69 and Football Drive in Moundville. This wreck marked the at-fault driver’s third DUI and the jury learned of a fourth DUI that he received three days before the trial began. Sometime on September 25, 2009, the driver took a handful of his wife’s prescription anxiety medicine, and then broke into three Hale County residences stealing and using prescription drugs. Later that day, he fell asleep at the wheel, entered Aldridge’s lane of travel, and struck her almost head-on. She sustained significant and life-altering injuries.

Mrs. Aldridge and her husband Mr. Lee Aldridge, both long-time Hale County residents and professional truck drivers, were insured by Farmers for automobile coverage. Part of their insurance policy, for which they had been paying premiums for years, included Underinsured Motorist coverage. This coverage is in place for instances like this collision, when the injured parties’ damages exceed the available insurance coverage of the at-fault driver. Farmer’s forced the Aldridges to take their own insurance company all the way to trial instead of paying the claim when it was presented.

Matt Glover praised the jury for its hard work in rendering a fair and impartial verdict. Matt said, “This jury really worked hard on the case. They paid close attention to the evidence and came back with a verdict that sends a loud and clear message to drunk drivers everywhere but also to the insurance companies of this country. Hale County’s drivers deserve to be safe and this jury took a giant step in that direction through their hard work.”

Glover’s law partner Josh Hayes stated, “The jury just couldn’t believe the conduct on the part of this driver, nor that the Aldridges were forced to sue their own insurance company to get the coverage they paid for and deserved. We always believed that the good folks of Hale County would be fair in a case like this.”

Sanders added, “I serve in the Alabama Senate and Hale County is a county that I represented for 11 years. As such, I am extremely proud of the work the jury did in this case. I asked the jury panel during jury selection what they would like to improve about their county and a number of them said ‘roads’ and ‘jobs’. The work they did this week is a clear signal that drunk drivers are not welcome on Hale County roads. This case also took a step toward restoring the jobs that this drunk driver wrongly took.”

The attorneys said the Courthouse staff – especially Circuit Judge Jack Meigs, and Circuit Clerk Catrinna Long Perry – run a tight ship with which all the citizens of Hale County can be proud.

About the law firms involved

Headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Prince, Glover & Hayes is a statewide law firm focusing on catastrophic personal injury cases where consumers have been injured or wronged and need help seeking justice against large, negligent corporations. The firm also has a West Alabama Office located at 104 Main Street in Eutaw. The firm’s number is 800-536-1105 and its website is www.princelaw.net.
Chesnut, Sanders, Sanders & Pettway in Selma handle a wide area of cases ranging from personal injury to criminal law to the general practice of law. Hank Sanders also serves in the Alabama Senate. The firm’s number is (334) 875-9264.

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