Dump Truck Owner Found Liable for Death of Man at Construction Site

Case Caption: Estate of Mack Pitts, et al. v. A & G Trucking
Case Number: 08A90649
Verdict: $5,470,000
Court: DeKalb County State Court
Judge: Edward E. Carriere Jr.
Date of Verdict: 10/23/2009
Plaintiff: Matthew E. Cook, Columbus and Patrick J. Sneed, Atlanta
Defendant: Joseph C. Parker, Marietta

A DeKalb County State Court jury awarded the estate of a man killed at a construction site $5,470,000 in damages. The defendant had denied liability.

Plaintiff’s decedent, Mack Pitts, was killed while working on the runway expansion at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport. Pitts was working as a spotter or flag man for dump truck drivers during the construction of the airport runway. A dump truck driven by Sarah Okoro backed over him. Okoro was paid by Defendant A & G Trucking, Inc. based on the number of loads she hauled per day. Allegedly, she was seen by eyewitnesses hurriedly passing other drivers in an attempt to dump her load of fill dirt and return for another load. According to eyewitnesses, Okoro, who was talking on her cell phone or CB radio, was given a stop signal by Pitts. She initially obeyed the stop signal, but then began backing without receiving the required signal and ran over Pitts.

Plaintiff alleged that defendant’s driver was negligent in failing to adhere to the unloading signals and failing to properly observe the situation before backing. Plaintiff sought damages for the wrongful death of Mack Pitts.

Defendant denied fault and disputed damages. Okoro contended that she did not see Pitts behind her truck, nor did she see him signal for her to stop. Defendant maintained that Pitts violated worksite safety rules and contributed to his own death in turning his back to defendant’s truck and walking behind it.

Plaintiff Profile: Plaintiff’s decedent was a 26 year old single male who worked as a laborer at a construction site.

Alleged Injury: Blunt force trauma, resulting in death. Decedent was survived by four minor children.

Jury Deliberations: More than a day

Settlement Efforts: Last Demand: N/A
Last Offer: $1,000,000

Insurance Carrier: Progressive

Plaintiff: Robert D. Coston, Ph.D., Economist – Statesboro, GA
Defendant: None 
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