Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin earned one of the largest jury awards in Florida in 2018 for their work on the Letterman v. National Truck Center, et al. trial. Led by Partners Donald R. Fountain and Julie Littky-Rubin, the firm represented the family of a man who died in a truck accident due to a defective tire and a defectively designed commercial truck. After a three-week trial, a Palm Beach County jury awarded $15.5 million to the man’s 14-year-old son, who lost his single dad and only parent in the accident.
The Top Verdict Awards recognize law firms and attorneys who have obtained the highest jury verdicts, settlements, or arbitration awards by state. The Letterman verdict ranked 13th in Florida, earning the firm a spot in the 2018 “Top 20 Verdict” list.
“A case of this complexity and magnitude requires a team approach, and I am very proud of the work performed by our whole team,” Fountain said. “I am also thankful for the jury who worked very hard, long hours and conscientiously considered all of the evidence to ultimately deliver justice to the Letterman family more than five years after this tragedy. I am hopeful this verdict will encourage safer vehicle and tire designs.”
The firm represented Susan Letterman as the personal representative of the estate of her son, Werner Letterman, who was 41 years old when he died in a truck accident on I-95 in Palm Beach County. After a full and extensive investigation, it was discovered that National Truck Center, Inc. modified the six-year-old tractor-trailer into a sewage pumper truck with a 4,000-gallon tank. The modifications significantly impacted the steering system of the truck, and when the tire blew out on the interstate, it was rendered uncontrollable, killing Werner Letterman, the only parent to his 14-year-old son, Tyler.
The jury assessed 95% of the responsibility against National Truck Center, Inc. and apportioned 5% to the tire manufacturer, Shandong Linglong Tyre Co., Ltd., with which a settlement was reached prior to trial.
The “Top 20 Verdict” Award is the second for Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin in recent years. In 2016, Partner David Prather secured the 38th largest verdict in Florida and earned a place in the “Top 100 Verdicts” in Florida for that year.