Ohio Supreme Court declines appeal of $2.7M verdict for fatal motorcycle accident
On February 22, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a $2.7 million verdict awarded to victims of a fatal trike motorcycle crash. Elk & Elk attorneys Gary Cowan and Kimberly Young represented the family of the Ohio man killed in the accident and his surviving spouse, who suffered severe injuries.
On May 8, 2011, James and Pamela Worman were riding a 1973 Honda Trike on Route 18 in Defiance County. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the couple was thrown from the motorcycle when the trike violently struck a ditch after the right rear axle broke. Mr. Worman’s extensive injuries left him paralyzed from the chest down, and he passed away soon after. Mrs. Worman suffered fractures to her legs, arms and ribs.
The axle, which was manufactured by an individual contracted by Hart’s Machine Service, Inc., was found to be in violation of industry standards after it was discovered the part had not been heat-treated or induction-hardened.
Cowan and Young filed a lawsuit against Hart’s Machine Service in 2012 on behalf of Mrs. Worman and the heirs of Mr. Worman. On May 6, 2015, a Fulton County jury found the company liable for breaching the implied warranty of merchantability as well as the implied warranty for fitness for a particular purpose in selling a defective axle. The jury awarded the victims the largest jury verdict in Fulton County history.
Of the $2.7 million verdict, Mrs. Worman received $1.33 million in compensatory damages, and $1.42 million was awarded to Mr. Worman’s estate for the survivorship and wrongful death claim.
Hart’s Machine Service appealed the verdict, and the Court of Appeals (6th Appellate District) issued a unanimous 3-0 decision in favor of the victims on June 30, 2016. Hart’s then attempted to take the case to the Ohio Supreme Court, who on February 22 declined to hear the appeal. This decision represents a long, hard-fought victory for the victims. In addition to the verdict, Hart’s Machine Service will pay close to $150,000 in post-judgment interest for prolonging the case through the appeal process.
“The Worman case is an example of not only our law firm’s skill and prowess in litigating and trying cases, but also the fact that we will defend our judgments and verdicts in the Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court to ensure our clients receive justice and compensation for their injuries,” Cowan says of the case.