Dwarfing a trucking company’s pretrial offer of $625,000, an Arizona jury returned a combined verdict of over $13.2 million to the parents of a man killed in a 2008 accident in Ahwatukee, AZ. (Bachrach v. Covenant Transportation, U.S. District Court, Arizona) The verdict, which came down on March 13, 2012, is one of the largest U.S. verdicts in a consortium case. Consortium claims compensate loss of love, affection and companionship, along with the grief and shock experienced following the accident. They are not for economic loss.
According to stipulated facts filed with the court, Matthew Bachrach, 31, was killed on Sept. 7, 2008 when his car struck an overturned Covenant Transport tractor trailer on Interstate 10 in the middle of the night. Bachrach was forced to slam into the tractor trailer, and was killed instantly.
Matthew Bachrach’s wife and children brought claims against Chattanooga-based Covenant Transportation that were resolved three years ago, but I, along with attorneys Ken Levinson and Chris Stombaugh, argued that Covenant should also be held responsible for destroying the relationships with his parents. The jury agreed, returning a verdict of $9.5 million to Carrie Bachrach, who maintained a close relationship with her son. The jury also gave a verdict of $3.718 million to Randolph Bachrach, whose relationship with his son had “peaks and valleys.” The two had not seen each other for nine months prior to Matthew’s death.
At the heart of the claim was that Covenant’s negligence destroyed not only the relationship between Carrie Bachrach and her son, but also any opportunity for Randolph Bachrach to rebuild a relationship with his son. The fair and reasonable verdict in this case was a very large number, given the close relationship between the mother and her adult son. The father’s verdict represents his lost opportunity to reconnect with his son before the truck accident led to his unnatural and untimely death.