Jury gives woman $6.8 million in suit against KLLM

| Tuesday, December 31, 2002

A court has ordered KLLM Transport Services Inc. to pay $6.8 million to the mother of Lindsey Garretson, a teen-ager who died after her car was hit by a truck whose driver was working for Vernon Sawyer Transportation, a KLLM subsidiary.

The Federal District Court award was the result of a verdict reached Dec. 20 in the courtroom of Judge Robert Echols. The jury found that KLLM ignored its own standards when it hired Stuart Foy, the truckdriver accused of causing the August 2000 accident.

Rose Walker, L.L.P., the law firm working for Garretson's mother, said in a statement that Foy had eight preventable accidents and six moving violations in the three years before he was hired at Vernon Sawyer and two additional minor accidents and another four tickets in the months before the accident.

The law firm contended that under the firm's policies, Foy's previous driving record should have prevented him from being hired by a KLLM company, and his record after he was hired should have led to his being fired.

"The company had hiring standards that were designed to screen out reckless truckdrivers," Marty Rose, principal at Rose Walker, said in a statement.  "When they hired Foy, they ignored those standards and knowingly put the traveling public in danger."

A receptionist at Vernon Sawyer referred all calls on the suit to KLLM. A spokesman for KLLM was not available for comment.

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