Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. reported that it had resolved the “Denton litigation”, agreeing to pay $36 million, in addition to amounts already paid, to settle the lawsuit arising from a 2011 accident involving Universal Am-Can (UACL), a subsidiary of Universal Logistics Holdings.
Previously, UACL was ordered to pay $19.2 million after a jury found all defendants negligent and said that UACL was negligent in its hiring and retaining of David Lee Johnson, the driver involved in the accident. Additionally, the jury awarded the defendants $35 million in punitive damages.
Johnson never completed a truck driving course while he held a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in South Carolina. He was “involved in four accidents, had three moving violations, and had his license suspended twice” in the three years prior to applying to UACL. Johnson had been terminated from four of his prior seven employers for reasons that included “tailgating a motorist, a felony conviction, too many points on his license, and crashing into a vehicle after refusing to let it merge onto an interstate ramp.”
Johnson, who was “driving a truck above the speed limit on a suspended license,” crashed into the Jeep in front of him occupied by James Denton, pushing Denton’s vehicle into the fuel tank of another tractor, which caused Denton to incur severe injuries.
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