By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
HARRISONBURG -- A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed an Arkansas trucking company from a lawsuit filed in connection with a triple-fatal Shenandoah County crash.
Three Churches, W.Va. resident Thomas Troxel Miller and his employer, Pitt Ohio Express LLC, filed a $2.175 million complaint against John Joseph Banik of Coldwater, Miss.; William Michael Fewell of Bedias, Texas; Pat Salmon & Sons Inc. of North Little Rock, Ark.; and C. Bean Transport Inc. of Amity, Ark., last summer.
That is the sum for which Miller settled three wrongful death suits arising out of the April 20, 2009 crash.
Hilario Guox Vicente, 27, and Ramiro Vicente-Atjun, 35, both of Edinburg, were killed, as was Dennis Lavelle Fayne, 50, of Brighton, Tenn., in the crash.
Vicente and Vicente-Atjun were in a Hyundai that had slowed down following a collision between tractor-trailers driven by Fewell, who drove for C. Bean Transport, and Banik, who worked for Pat Salmon & Sons.
Fayne was a passenger in Banik's truck, and had gotten out of the truck following the initial collision.
Miller ran into the Hyundai, but in his suit blames Banik's and Fewell's driving for causing the fatal pile-up.
On Jan. 27, U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski dismissed Miller's suit against C. Bean Transport, according to online court records.
The company, which filed for bankruptcy two years ago, had filed a motion for dismissal, saying Miller hadn't sought relief from an automatic stay to pursue indemnity claims against it by way of its insurer. The motion says a modified liquidation plan banned further claims against C. Bean Transport.
The defendants have blamed Miller for negligence.
In a Feb. 29 motion, Pat Salmon & Sons says it wants to be repaid the $37,500 it gave to Fayne's family in worker's compensation and death benefits, as well as the $75,000 in damage it says Miller did to the tractor-trailer.
In a filing from Sunday, C. Bean Transport and Fewell asked the judge to make Miller and Pitt Ohio provide some answers, including whether Miller was drunk at the time of the crash and what was in his trailer that exploded.
"Of particular import is Request No. 11 which seeks the cell phone records of Mr. Miller," the filing says. "Mr. Miller admitted in his deposition that he would talk on his cell phone 'every night,' 'while his vehicle was in motion,' and he recalled using his cell phone prior to the accident but was unsure of the time frame."