The trial began this week in Oregon in a civil complaint that accuses trucking giant C.R. England Inc. of gross negligence.
The suit, which will be heard in Portland’s federal courthouse, is being brought by Andrea Lister, the daughter of a woman who was severely injured in an accident with one of the company’s trucks in late 2005.
Her mother initially filed suit but she has since passed away from cancer.
In the suit, which seeks $430,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages, Lister alleges that the company ignored the driver’s checkered past and pushed him onto the highway, where he hit 85-year-old Marjorie Dunn.
Four years ago, Jesus Nieves Olivares, who is also named in the suit, was carrying a load of bananas when he ran a red light and collided with Dunn’s Ford Escort Station wagon.
The suit alleges that the company deemed he was a qualified driver even though he had acknowledged to having been in prison and having used cocaine. It also says that during his first days on the job, he was ticketed for driving too many hours and for running off the road.
Lister accuses the company of keeping him on the road even after these incidents.
Court papers filed by C.R. England’s lawyers say the company should not face punitive damages because one of its drivers ran a red light and caused an accident.
The company, they say, is not liable because it did not act maliciously or with conscious indifference to anyone’s health, safety or welfare.
C.R. England’s attorneys in Portland could not be reach for comment.
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