Jacksonville, FL— Attorneys Monday debated whether a parked delivery truck was responsible for the 2017 crash that killed an 18-year-old Florida mother and injured her infant daughter, as trial opened against FedEx Ground Package System. Marcus, et al. v NKM Transportation, et al., 2018-CA-004903.
Sari Marcus, died after she lost control of her car and ultimately struck a concrete utility pole after swerving to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming SUV. The SUV had pulled into Marcus’s lane to pass a parked FedEx delivery truck, contracted through NKM Transportation and driven by Jerry Mondestin.
The crash, on a two-lane residential street in Jacksonville, also injured Marcus’s daughter, who was 22 months old at the time, and another passenger.
Marcus’s husband, Charles Marcus III, claims Mondestin caused the crash by blocking one lane of the street when he parked the truck, forcing traffic behind it to move into the oncoming lane to pass.
On Monday, Marcus’s attorney, Spohrer Dodd’s Barry Newman walked jurors through FedEx safety protocol, which he said Mondestin violated when he parked the truck in a spot that blocked traffic.
“Mr. Mondestin had a lot of choices that day,” Newman said. “There were better options than parking in the roadway.”
But FedEx contends Mondestin’s parking choice was reasonable under the circumstances and that Marcus actually caused the crash. On Monday, O’Melveny’s Lee Blalack told jurors Marcus was driving 70 miles per hour on a wet residential road when the crash occurred.
“Had she been going the speed limit she would have had the opportunity to slow down, approach the vehicle with caution, and pass without incident,” Blalack said.
The proceeding is the first Florida Fourth Circuit civil trial to open with jurors in the Duval County Courthouse courtroom since the coronavirus pandemic scuttled such proceedings more than a year ago. Jury selection in the case was conducted through Zoom. Selected jurors were then brought into the courthouse for the trial itself, which is subject to a range of safety protocol, including social distancing and face-cover requirements.
Trial in the case is expected to last about two weeks. CVN is covering the proceeding, and will provide updates via the news page.
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