Woman wins lawsuit, $327,000
Mary Holbrook has been awarded $327,750 in damages in her wrongfuldeath and personal injury lawsuit against State Farm Fire & CasualtyCo.The suit stemmed from an 1995 accident, in which Holbrook andher husband, Hob, were struck by a vehicle driven by Joseph Villanoas they walked along Highway 82 near El Jebel. Hob Holbrook waskilled in the accident, while Mary Holbrook sustained lastinginjuries to her wrist and thumb.A seven-member jury ruled Wednesday that the damages incurredby Holbrook – the result of her injuries and Hob’s death – totaled$575,000. However, they found that the Holbrooks and Villano sharedresponsibility for the accident – 43 percent to 57 percent respectively.The $327,750 awarded Holbrook is equal to 57 percent of the totaldamages incurred by Holbrook. In Wednesday’s closing arguments in Pitkin County District Court,Holbrook’s attorney, Harry Shulman, said Villano was underinsuredat the time of the accident and unable to fully compensate Holbrook.Therefore, he said, State Farm was “contractually liable to payup.”Shulman said Villano “drifted off-course” when he hit the Holbrooks,and “that constitutes negligence,” or responsibility for causingthe accident.State Farm attorney Hugh Wise argued that the Holbrooks were walkingwith traffic at the time of the accident, which is against thelaw. He added that they should have been more watchful for trafficcoming up behind them. In addition, Villano couldn’t have seenthem until it was too late because it was dark, Wise said.Both attorneys debated where the accident actually occurred. Shulmanoffered that the Holbrooks were on the very edge of the road,but Wise indicated that the couple was in harm’s way. The jurors returned their verdict at about 6 p.m. Wednesday, afterfour-and-a-half hours of deliberation.
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