Bus Driver Injured by Semi-Truck Accident
On August 28, 2008, plaintiff Jimmy, age 50, a bus driver, was driving a charter bus of elderly passengers on Columbus Parkway near Vallejo when it was struck by a tractor-trailer loaded with a set of doubles operated by Juan Enrique Velazquez. Coming to rest, the bus was trapped between the tractor-trailer and the wall of an overpass. The bus was destroyed and Jimmy suffered head, neck and back injuries. Jimmy sued Juan Velazquez; his employer, Velazquez & Sons Trucking Co. Inc.; and its owner, Jesus Velazquez; as well as G3 Enterprises Inc.; Sun Valley Express Transport Inc., and Sun Valley Express.
Jimmy alleged that Juan Velazquez was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that the remaining defendants were negligent and vicariously liable for his actions. Just days before the collision, Juan Velazquez was hired by Velazquez & Sons Inc. to haul grapes under a subhaul agreement with Sun Valley Express Transport Inc., which had a long-term subhauling contract with G3 Enterprises Inc. G3 Enterprises coordinated and dispatched the load on the tractor-trailer and was the owner of the two trailers being hauled.
The jury returned a unanimous special verdict in favor of Jimmy for $4,588,750, finding G3 Enterprises Inc. liable based on theories of non-delegable duty, based on its operating under franchise or public authority as defined in Restatement Second, section 428, negligent selection or retention of Sun Valley Express Transport Inc. and G3 Enterprises Inc.’s negligent entrustment of their trailers to the subcontractors of Sun Valley Express Transport Inc. The verdict allocated 70% liability to G3; 30% to the remaining defendants.