$300,000 Settlement

Personal Injury / Car Wreck

May 2012

Venue: Buchanan County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 11BU-CV04162/May 24, 2012

Caption: Richard Faris and Debra Faris v. Buchanan County, Missouri and Mark Donaldson

Judge: Patrick Robb

Plaintiff's Expert: Stan Oglesby, Midwest Accident Reconstruction Services, L.C., Concordia, MO

Insurer: Missouri Public Entity Risk Management

Plaintiff's Attorney: James Montee, Montee Law Firm, P.C., St. Joseph

Defendants' Attorney: Keith Schieber, Ferguson & Schieber, P.C., St. Joseph

Buchanan County settled a lawsuit against it after a deputy sheriff on duty crossed the center line on a county road entering a curve and collided head-on with a county resident. The deputy sheriff was delivering supplies to law enforcement personnel guarding flooded county roads in the summer of 2011. MOPERM paid the plaintiff $300,000 to settle the lawsuit.

On August 19, 2011, Buchanan County Deputy Sheriff Mark Donaldson was driving a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe northbound on County Road-Old Highway S.W. The speed limit on Old Highway Road is 40 mph and the roadway is unmarked, seventeen feet wide and paved. The Tahoe entered a curve in the road almost entirely in the oncoming southbound lane and collided head-on with a southbound 1979 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Richard Faris, age 49.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated the accident and determined that the deputy sheriff's vehicle left 10 feet of skid prior to collision with his driver-side tires leaving marks on the roadway starting two feet from the western pavement edge and ending four feet from the western edge at time of impact. The highway patrol determined the deputy sheriff was at all times entirely on the wrong side of the road while taking the curve and leading into the collision.

As a result of the collision, Richard Faris suffered a fractured hip, crushed sternum, multiple rib fractures, and a throat contusion from his seat belt. Faris claimed original medical bills of $67,000 and lost wages of $1,500. Plaintiffs' petition included a derivative spousal claim. The plaintiffs' agreed to a $300,000 settlement at the conclusion of discovery.