In April 2006, plaintiffs Blake Gladin, 8, and Reise Gladin, 3, were passengers in a vehicle being driven to school on a freeway in Central Brevard County, Florida when the driver lost control of her sedan as she tried to avoid a truck that had entered her lane. Her sedan was then struck by a tractor-trailer driven by Scott Brecht in the course of his employment for Conrad Yelvington Distributors Inc.
Reise was taken to Arnold Palmer Trauma Center via helicopter. She suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Plaintiffs' counsel contended that Reise's traumatic brain injury caused her to become more withdrawn. He further contended that Gladin's intellectual capacity has been stunted and, as a result, would struggle in school and be unlikely to finish college.
The plaintiffs sought recovery of $32 million in total damages.
Gregory Gladin and Dory Gladin, acting as the natural parents and legal guardians of Blake and Reise, sued Brecht and Conrad Yelvington Distributors for motor vehicle negligence.
Plaintiffs' counsel contended that a phantom tractor-trailer had forced Blake and Reise's vehicle off the road. He argued that when the driver attempted to recover from the incident and came back on the road, Brecht's tractor-trailer rear-ended their vehicle.
Brecht claimed that the plaintiffs' vehicle abruptly cut in front of his vehicle. He claimed that he applied his breaks, but could not stop in time.
The jury found the driver of the plaintiffs' vehicle, Helen Carden, a Fabre defendant, 70 percent negligent. It also found Brecht and Conrad Yelvington Distributors 30 percent negligent.
The plaintiffs were awarded $1,324,387, which includes $1,280,334 for Reise's total damages and $44,053 for Blake's total damages. However, based on the liability finding, they would recover only the reduced amount $397,316.10, the amount owed by Brecht and Conrad Yelvington Distributors.
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