A major pizza delivery corporation has agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle a negligent hiring case after one of its delivery drivers had a seizure and rear-ended a 70-year-old man, the plaintiff’s attorneys have reported.
The corporation’s name and other aspects of the case have been withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement, according to one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, Kevin Smith of Hoffman Law Firm in North Charleston.
The corporation hired the driver, Smith said, despite being aware that he had a seizure disorder. Smith said that during the job interview the corporation did not inquire into the man’s seizures, medications, or whether he could safely operate a vehicle, because the corporation believed it was restrained by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“All that was requested was a copy of his drivers license and proof of insurance,” Smith wrote in an email.
Five months after being hired, the man had a seizure and rear-ended the elderly driver, who had a history of back problems.
A human resources specialist stated that the ADA not only allows, but requires, an employer to inquire further—after an employment offer is made—to protect the employee from being placed in a job where he poses a significant threat of harming himself or others. An occupational medicine specialist opined that he would not have cleared the man to drive for a living because the man’s symptoms and the fact that he was not taking his medication as prescribed made another seizure foreseeable, Smith said.
Smith said his client made a non-negotiable offer of $1.4 million that was paid shortly before trial.
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Amount: $1.4 million
Injuries alleged: Low back injury
Case name: Withheld
Special damages: $220,704 in medical bills
Date of settlement: August 9
Attorneys for plaintiffs: Kevin Smith and Amanda Stearns of Hoffman Law Firm in North Charleston
Attorneys for defendants: Withheld