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At the end of a four-day trial, a jury found that defendants – System Transport (an ATTIC insured) and its driver – did not cause a fatal collision. Defendants were represented at trial by Cosgrave attorneys Bob Barton and Paul Berg.  Judge Scott A. Collier of Clark County (Wash.) Superior Court presided over the trial.

The case arose out of a double fatality which occurred when a pickup, driven by a father and occupied by his fourteen year old son, rear-ended defendants’ trailer at freeway speed.  Defendants’ tractor-trailer was stopped behind a three mile long traffic back-up on I-5 about one hour north of Portland.

Plaintiffs alleged that the defendant driver had breached standards of care by pulling into the left lane of a three-lane freeway, and by failing to activate his four-way emergency flashers. Testimony from defendants’ witnesses rebutted these arguments. Three troopers and one sergeant from the Washington State Patrol testified that the statute prohibiting semi-trucks in the left lane was not applicable to the specific stretch of road and circumstances where the collision occurred. As for the flashers, defendants argued that they were activated. Moreover, defendants’ experts testified that even if the flashers were not on, there were brake lights and other available visual cues that would have alerted a reasonably attentive motorist of the need to stop, just as every other driver had done during the five-hour long gridlock.

The case was presented to a jury of eight women and four men, who took just under half an hour to return the defense verdict.