McKeen attorneys Brian McKeen, Todd Schroeder and Victor Balta won a historic jury verdict in Wayne County Circuit Court yesterday for $96 million on behalf of the family of two men killed in a trucking accident. It is believed to be the highest jury verdict of its kind in Michigan history.
The jury found Canada-based Challenger Motor Freight, Inc. and its driver, Jose Angel Nogueras, negligent in the death of a father and son, Jude and Zachary Attianese of New Jersey.
Jude and Zachary Attianese were driving to attend a funeral in metro Detroit in June 2018. They were traveling on I-75 in Wayne County when traffic slowed due to construction and were going approximately five miles per mile. A semi-tractor trailer, traveling at speeds inappropriate for the construction zone, rear-ended the pair. Both Jude and Zachary died from the injuries of the accident.
The plaintiff in the case is the wife of Jude, and the mother of Zachary, Natalie Attianese. Jude Attianese was a small business owner, and Zachary was a college student with a promising baseball career: one of the highest-ranked left-handed pitching prospects in the country. At the time of his death, he had signed a letter of intent with Florida State University to attend and play baseball and had received interest from Major League baseball teams.
It was found that Challenger Motor Freight had been informed in 2015, that the driver suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had failed to perform company assessments that would have discovered that he was incompetent to drive. It was also revealed that the driver was on medications that rendered him unsafe driving and was not compliant with his medical treatment.