Employers large and small have a responsibility to the public to ensure that anyone they put behind the wheel of a vehicle has a safe driving record. When that vehicle is a 25-ton garbage truck, there is no question that safety should be of the utmost importance. In this case, the victim was an 11-year old girl, who believed that when the crosswalk showed the WALK signal that she was safe to cross. Rather than pause and make sure it was safe, the driver went right into the turn. At about the same time, the WALK signal was displayed and the girls thought it was safe to cross, that traffic would wait. Sadly, the garbage truck was already barreling through the crosswalk as the young girl stepped into it, and she lost her life. The jury was told by the defense attorney was that the whole incident was the fault of the 11-year old girl, and that no responsibility lay with the company or the driver.
The jury, after 10 days of evidence and testimony, did not agree. They awarded almost $39 million, vastly different from the initial offer of $250,000 and the pretrial offer of $1 million.