by Heath Hamacher
After a one-day trial, a federal jury has awarded $208,000 to a Canadian woman heading South for the winter after her vehicle was struck by a flying semi-truck wheel on Interstate 95 in Clarendon County, her attorney reports.
Jeffrey Gerardi of Joye Law Firm in Summerville represented Karen Hodder and Terry Hodder, who were on their way from Newfoundland, Canada, to their winter home in Florida when the tire assembly of a truck driven by defendant Mark Maye came off, sending a tire bouncing across the median and into the Hodders’ vehicle.
Terry Hodder, who was driving, suffered only a minor wrist injury. But Karen, who was in her late-50s at the time of the incident, suffered back injuries that resulted in continuing, debilitating daily pain.
“She went through several rounds of therapy and basically finished treating about a year and a half after the collision,” Gerardi said.
Gerardi said that Maye, who lives in New Jersey, did not show up for the trial and that his discovery deposition was read to the jury. The defense admitted liability but contested damages, Gerardi said, adding that the defense filed an offer of judgment of $21,500 for both plaintiffs before mediation ended at $7,500 for Karen and $500 for Terry.
The jury deliberated approximately 30 minutes before awarding more than twice the original demand, but half of what the Hodders hoped to get.
Gerardi said that he asked for $416,000 with a per diem argument at trial, something he said one juror told him they had a hard time with, given Karen Hodder’s lack of treatment and low medical bills ($9,700).
The defendants were represented by Ron Diegel of Murphy Grantland in Columbia. Diegel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SETTLEMENT REPORT — MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Injuries alleged: Soft tissue, back injuries, degenerative disc issues
Case name: Hodder v. Mark Maye and Maye Transport
Court: U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
Case No.: 2:20-cv-00019
Judge: Bruce Howe Hendricks
Date of verdict: May 13
Highest offer: $20,000 for Karen Hodder and $1,500 for Terry Hodder
Insurance carrier: Progressive
Attorney for plaintiff: Jeffrey Gerardi of Joye Law Firm in Summerville
Attorney for defendant: Ron Diegel of Murphy Grantland in Columbia