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“Disturbing” video a catalyst in $1.2M settlement


Video evidence of a pedestrian being hit by a truck in a crosswalk was powerful evidence that helped facilitate a $1.2 million mediation settlement in Lexington County, the plaintiff’s attorney reports.

Neal Lourie of Lourie Law Firm in Columbia described the video of the accident, which occurred on April 22, 2016 at about 11 a.m., as “very disturbing.”

“If you just read about what happened, it’s bad,” Lourie said. “But when you see it happening, the video is shocking.”

Lourie’s client, Rosswell Conklin, an employee at the Columbia Farms chicken processing plant on Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia, was crossing the street on his break when he was hit by a pickup truck. The boulevard has heavy traffic, and because the employee parking lot is across the street from the processing plant, there is a crosswalk in front of the plant.

“He stopped at the crosswalk and looks to his left. Looks to his right. Looks back to his left and he starts walking and then out of nowhere a kid driving a pickup truck comes flying and hits him on the left side of his body, and my client goes flying up into the air,” Lourie said.

“The video does not show the defendant attempting to put on the brakes. And he’s moving extremely fast. The officer wrote that he was going 50 miles per hour.”

Conklin suffered broken vertebrae, a broken tailbone, broken ribs, a broken leg, a torn ACL, a 90 percent tear to his rotator cuff, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Lourie said Conklin continues to be treated for injuries and pain suffered in the crash.

The driver, Christopher Beard, received a traffic citation for violating a state statute protecting pedestrians in a crosswalk, Lourie said. Conklin alleged that because Beard had violated a state law designed to protect pedestrians, the crash was a case of per se negligence, which would have allowed Conklin to pursue punitive damages had the case gone to trial.

Lourie said the ability to access video taken by a plant security camera at the crosswalk was the primary catalyst for the settlement. He encouraged victims and attorneys to request video footage of an incident immediately.

“If a client comes to you early, you’ve got to go to the scene and attempt to get video footage. And that made this case,” he said. “The reason you’ve got to get to this stuff early is a lot of these videos tape over the next week or the next day. They get deleted. And so that’s the key is getting the video quickly. You can’t wait.”

Kelli Sullivan of Clausen and Staubes in Columbia represented Beard. She declined to comment on the settlement.

Ron Stanley of the Stanley Law Group in Columbia mediated the settlement, which was agreed to on May 14. Robert Chambers, also of Lourie Law Firm in Columbia, also represented Conklin.

Follow Renee Sexton on Twitter @BobcatRenee


Amount: $1.2 million

Injuries alleged: Broken vertebrae, broken tailbone, broken ribs, broken leg, torn ACL, 90 percent tear of the rotator cuff, and post-traumatic stress disorder

Case name: Rosswell Conklin v. Christopher C. Beard

Court: Lexington County Circuit Court

Case No.: 2018-CP-32-01329

Mediator: Ron Stanley of the Stanley Law Group in Columbia

Date of Settlement: May 14

Attorneys for plaintiff: Neal Lourie and Robert Chambers of Lourie Law Firm in Columbia

Attorney for defendant: Kelli Sullivan of Clausen and Staubes in Columbia


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