Prushansky v. Fradley (West Palm Beach, Florida).
Plaintiff Janet Prushansky claimed that defendant Tara Fradley negligently caused a car crash that killed Janet's mother, 70-year old Ann Prushansky, while Ms. Fradley was driving under the influence. At the time of the incident, Ms. Fradley was 17-years old.
For the plaintiff, Mitnick and Levy's Ken Mitnick told the jury that Ms. Fradley rear-ended Ms. Prushansky's stopped vehicle at a high rate of speed, crushing the rear of Ms. Prushansky's car, and propelling Ms. Prushansky forward. According to Mr. Mitnick, the seatbelt released as a result of the collision, and loading marks on the seatbelt showed that Ms. Prushansky routinely used the seatbelt. Moreover, said Mr. Mitnick, the jury would be able to infer from the evidence that Ms. Fradley had been drinking alcohol and taking Xanax without a prescription prior to the accident, and was talking on a mobile phone at the time of the accident.
For the defense, Bart Cozad, of Derrevere Hawkes, told the jury that in fact Ms. Prushansky had struck the car in front of her first, which created a sudden stop situation for Ms. Fradley. According to Mr. Cozad, Ms. Prushansky's negligence in causing the sudden stop, and in failing to wear her seat belt, were contributing factors to the accident.
The jury awarded damages of $1M to each of Ms. Prushansky's children, for a total award of $3M.