Connect with us

For Business

Jury awards trucker $80M from former employer after fatigue-induced crash

Published

on

EDINBURG, Texas — In a case that proves “going the extra mile” isn’t always a good thing, for anyone involved, a Texas jury awarded a professional truck driver $80 million Wednesday after it decided a 2015 crash in which the driver was severely injured was due to his employer having coerced him into falsifying his log book and driving beyond what federal Hours of Service regulations allow.

The jury in the case, held in 93rd District Court in Edinburg, Texas, awarded Lauro Lorenzo Jr. $5 million in compensatory damages for the loss of income as well as the injuries and the ensuing pain and suffering he sustained from the accident, which occurred when he fell asleep at the wheel and rear-ended another truck on Interstate 59 in Alabama. The jury also ordered three companies: JNM Express, LLC; Anca Transport Inc.; and Omega Freight Logistics, LLC to each pay $25 million in punitive damages.

All three companies are owned by Jorge and Silvia Marin under the umbrella Marin Enterprise.

According to the original court petition, on May 3, 2015, Lozano had finished a run to San Antonio and had returned to McAllen, Texas. Lozano was due to take a 34-hour reset, per HOS regulations.

Lozano said that a few hours after he got home, Jorge Marin called him and told him he needed to make another run, that he should adjust his log to make it look as though he had taken his 34-hour reset.

According to Lorenzo’s lead attorney, Ray Thomas, “This was not an isolated deal.” Several drivers testified that this was a common practice at the Marins’ companies, that they were frequently pushed to drive beyond HOS limits.

According to Thomas, evidence showed that Lorenzo drove an average of almost 5,000 miles a week.

According to the petition, although Lozano was tired and initially objected, he feared for his job and went along with Marin’s demand. South Texas is not an affluent part of the country, Thomas said. Lorenzo has a special-needs son, and he couldn’t afford to miss even a week’s pay.

Lorenzo went to San Antonio and picked up his load at 5 a.m. the next day and set off to Maryland. On May 6, the accident occurred, in which Lozano sustained a traumatic brain injury, as well a crushed pelvis, a crushed foot and broken ribs.

“He was off work for several months,” Thomas said. In fact, he added, Lorenzo started dispatching for the Marins from his bed, before eventually trying to drive again.

Thomas said that in January Lorenzo reinjured his foot, which had six pins in it. He’s working for another carrier now, but with wire and pins holding his hip together, he has to pull up to a loading dock to get in and out of his cab. He’s planning within the next year or so to switch to dispatching full time.

“He’s a hard worker, he has a strong work ethic,” Thomas said. Despite the verdict, with appeals and other legal wrangling, it may still be some time before Lorenzo sees any money, and he’d rather earn a living than try to collect disability benefits.

Actually, Thomas said, this case is unusual, and it only came to be because the Marin Enterprise was not subscribed to the Workman’s Compensation Act.

“In Texas, the workman’s compensation system is voluntary,” Thomas said, but the vast majority of businesses subscribe to it, because if a worker gets hurt, they get benefits, or in cases of extreme injury, they can get a lump-sum payment. In exchange, the employer is protected from being sued by the employee.

When an employer is not subscribed and is sued by an employee, Thomas said, the employer cannot try to claim comparative responsibility or contributary negligence on the employee’s part. In other words, the employer can’t turn around and say the employee knew it wasn’t the right thing to do but they went along with it.

“The jury has sent a clear message that putting profit over the safety of not only their drivers but all drivers on public roadways will not stand,” Thomas said.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For Business

NACV to feature 3 Solutions Theaters to focusing on trucking industry needs

Published

on

Leading truck and trailer manufacturers and commercial vehicle parts and components suppliers will demonstrate their latest product offerings during the NACV Show 2019, taking place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from October 28-31. The NACV Show 2021 will be held in Atlanta from September 27-30, 2021. (Courtesy: NACV)

ATLANTA — The North American Commercial Vehicle Show (NACV Show), the biennial B2B trucking industry event focusing on the needs of fleet owners, managers and decision makers, said Thursday that it will feature three new Solutions Theaters to showcase topical industry discussions on the show floor.

The show organizers have partnered with leading industry publications to secure thought leaders and industry visionaries who will discuss a range of topics.

All Solutions Theaters’ sessions are free for NACV Show 2019 registered attendees.

“We expect the discussions that take place in our three Solutions Theaters will inform and empower all industry professionals who attend NACV Show 2019,” said Carmen Diaz, show manager for the NACV Show. “We are excited to present top industry leaders and visionaries during our on-floor education sessions to discuss both the challenges and opportunities confronting today’s fleet professionals.”

Following is an overview of some of the NACV Show 2019 on-floor education sessions:

Two panel discussions will take place in the Solutions Theater located in Hall A.

The first panel is entitled “Finding the Data Driven Solutions That Work for You,” which will focus on how fleet owners can identify leading service challenges. Panel participants will provide insight into collecting and organizing the right data to help overcome these challenges. The second panel is entitled “How to Use Data to Improve Service Operations” that will highlight how to best utilize data — from fault code data to VMRS records — to reduce fleet downtime to improve operations.

Also, in the Hall A Solutions Theater, three educational topics will be discussed, including a Class 8 panel discussion, a medium duty panel discussion and “Last Mile – Autonomous Delivery Startups” discussion.

Two panel discussions will take place in the Solutions Theaters located in Hall B, including “Vetting Technology” and “Best use of Smart Technology.” Three educational sessions will also take place in the Solutions Theaters located in Hall B, including “Transitioning from AOBRDs to ELDs,” “Driver Retention” and “Rapid Pace of Technology Trucking.”

The show organizers will announce additional conference and educational programming topics prior to the event, which takes place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from October 28-31.

The North American Commercial Vehicle Show is a B2B exhibition focused on fleet decision makers and key influencers in the commercial vehicle industry.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

For Business

FTR March Shippers Conditions Index shows positive momentum

Published

on

An FTR official said an area to watch is diesel prices, which could move up in the fourth quarter. (The Trucker file photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s March Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) rose two full points from February to a reading of 2.8 reflecting a continued easing of truckload and intermodal rates.  The outlook is for improved shipper conditions through 2019.

However, some key areas to watch are fuel price increases and capacity utilization in trucking which can result in added costs for shippers, according to Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR.

“Shippers are benefiting from relatively stable fuel prices and weaker trucking capacity utilization than they experienced in 2018. But both of those metrics are expected to tighten up as the year progresses,” Tranausky said. “Diesel prices could move up in the fourth quarter ahead of the IMO 2020 fuel mandate, which could pressure fuel surcharges higher late in 2019.”

The May issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published May 8, 2019, details the factors affecting the March Shippers Conditions Index. Also included is data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions include freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem…and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.

 

 

Continue Reading

For Business

Heartland Express opens new, remodeled terminals in Colorado, California

Published

on

The Heartland Express Driver Appreciation Team performed at the ribbon cutting for the new terminal in Frederick, Colorado. (Courtesy: HEARTLAND EXPRESS)

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — Heartland Express has opened a new terminal at Frederick, Colorado, and a remodeled terminal in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Just north of the Denver metro area, the Colorado facility offers a service shop with a truck wash, fully covered 24-hour fuel island and service lanes.

The terminal features a driver lounge with 24-hour access and amenities that include restrooms with private walk-in showers and laundry room with full size washer/dryer units. Other comforts include sofas and recliner chairs, table seating, ice machine, coffee, and a large screen TV for entertainment.

An RFID software system was installed for driver security and over five acres of parking with industrial Wi-Fi network available site wide.

The opening of the Frederick terminal occurred shortly after the grand re-opening of the newly remodeled Southern California facility in Rancho Cucamonga.

This 20-acre facility includes all of the amenities available in Frederick and utilizes solar power. Rancho Cucamonga is also one of 12 company locations that hosts driver orientation and soon we look forward to driver orientation at the Frederick facility.

“I’m extremely proud of these new terminals and what we can offer to our drivers. We’ve invested significant time, capital, and environmentally conscious resources into these provisions and look forward to seeing growth of our market position in both locations respectively,” said Heartland Express CEO, Mike Gerdin. “These grand openings are just the start of great new things to come from Heartland. Including the completion of these two terminal projects, we are spending an estimated $40-50 million on terminal related capital projects during 2019.  These terminal projects are centered around upgrades, remodels, expansions and terminal amenities for the comfort and support of our drivers, including additions of truck wash facilities at certain locations. Our desire is to offer state of the art amenities to our drivers while they are away from home.

The Frederick terminal is located at 9040 Bruin Blvd. The Rancho Cucamonga terminal is located at8566 Pecan Ave.

Heartland Express is an irregular route truckload carrier based in North Liberty, Iowa, serving customers with shipping lanes throughout the United States. Heartland focuses on medium to short haul regional freight, offering shippers industry leading on-time service so they can achieve their strategic goals for their customers.

For more information, visit .

Continue Reading

Trending