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DAVID VS. GOLIATH FOR $10,000,000
J. Craig Jones and Craig Ray Hill successfully secured over $10 million for a client last week in Calcasieu Parish. The trial lasted five days, with the jury hearing from 19 witnesses. The client, Becky Jackson, was badly injured in a car crash caused by defendant Steven Matte in October 2016. Matte admitted that he drove a truck owned by his employer, Galaxy N.A., across the center line of La. Highway 12 and crashed into Jackson as she was on her way to work. The crash knocked Ms. Jackson’s car backwards 26 feet into a following vehicle. The trial was held in the 14th Judicial District Court in Calcasieu Parish. Almost three hours after the crash, Matte took a breathalyzer test and had a breath alcohol concentration of .106. Jackson was rushed to the hospital in Lake Charles with severe injuries including a broken collarbone, broken arm, internal injuries, and a shattered pelvis. Ms. Jackson underwent several surgeries and has been in a wheelchair ever since. She was left with a scar from her chest to her pelvis after a laparotomy surgery; a foot and a half of her small intestines had to be removed because it had been torn by her seatbelt. Attorney J. Craig Jones told the jury in opening statements, “There is so much more to a human being than snippets from her medical records. To know a person, you have to hear from the people who know and love and care for that person.” Jurors heard Becky Jackson’s personal story from her friends, neighbors, and relatives. They heard how Jackson was living life to its fullest until that fateful day that the car crash left her wheelchair bound and facing a life full of pain. On Thursday, Jones convinced Judge David Ritchie to strike the testimony of the defendant’s “expert” toxicologist from the record after Jones challenged the expert’s qualifications. The expert, Dr. Ronald Henson of Peoria, Illinois, had been paid to make similar testimonies in several other drunk driver related cases, and Jones pointed out that Henson made his living almost exclusively from testifying in drunk driver cases. After hearing the evidence, Judge
Ritchie refused to accept Henson as an expert in toxicology and instructed the jury to disregard much of his testimony.
On the fifth day of trial, the defense team agreed to pay Ms. Jackson $10,000,000, all court costs, and the cost of Jackson’s expert fees. The settlement will be paid into an independently administered trust set up by her family. J. Craig Jones stated, “Becky Jackson and her family have finally received the justice they deserved. This was truly a David vs. Goliath story.” Craig Ray Hill said, “We try cases all over the U.S. and can say that this is one of our best results.” The plaintiff was represented by J. Craig Jones and Craig Ray Hill of the law firm of Jones and Hill, LLC, with offices located in Alexandria, Oakdale, and Oberlin, Louisiana.
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