Ted M. had been out fishing; he was driving home when an oncoming truck, pulling a trailer, passed him. The trailer became disconnected from the truck and struck Tedâ€™s car, instantly killing him. The truck fled with its occupants. The driver of the vehicle was never determined. The Sheriffâ€™s office investigated but no charges were ever filed since there was no information available to determine either the driver, operator or owner of the truck.
The trailer was owned by a large farming company in the King City area. The farming company alleged the trailer had been stolen for the value of the metal pipe stored on the trailer; the farm claimed that no one in their employ had been driving the unknown truck â€œstealingâ€ their trailer. The defendant farming company denied liability and made a $5,000.00 final offer to settle the wrongful death action.
The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment to throw the case out-of-court on the grounds that the Plaintiffs could not establish that the farming company had any liability for the accident. Just before the summary judgment motion was heard, Mr. Murphy discovered a potential eyewitness who testified the truck pulling the trailer was owned by the farm. The eyewitness testified he was able to identify the vehicle by looking in his side mirror as the truck was driving past him at a high rate of speed.
Mr. Murphy hired a leading visual perception expert who established to the juryâ€™s satisfaction that it was possible to identify a vehicle by the vehicle logo at a distance of 150 feet, as testified to by the witness. Mr. Murphy aggressively tried the case and recovered a $1,498,000.00 verdict for the family of Ted M.