Baton Rouge, La
Just before 10 p.m., a 12 member Baton Rouge jury presided over by the Honorable Judge Janice Clark, finally provided closure to the family of Mr. Ulvado Soto Martinez by issuing a verdict totaling $12,000,000.00 to his widow, Maria, and her 6 and 10 year old boys. Kenny Hooks, a member of the trial team, was quoted: "I am so proud of our community as represented by the jurors selected by the parties in this case. Only in the American civil justice system can a single mother of two small boys obtain palpable justice against a corporate venture made up of Kiewit company (a billion dollar contracting firm), Modjeski and Masters Engineering, (self proclaimed as one of the top bridge engineering firms in the world) and a Switzerland based insurance group 60,000 people strong world wide. Baton Rouge jurors are smart and attentive and have shown rogue, faceless entities they cannot harm our families and neighbors without providing compensation for the losses sustained". Lead Counsel Juan Hernandez closed by admonishing the members of the jury: "Maria and the boys are not here seeking your sympathy, they want justice under the law. No More, No Less".
Justice was administered. Kiewit, a billion dollar contracting company that brags number 249 on the fortune 500 list, was part of a Joint Venture found by the jury to be "substantially certain" the bridge column where Mr. Martinez was working would certainly collapse injuring or killing workers. The uncontested evidence conclusively proved the column that crashed was the third in a row with severe problems standing on its own weight. Instead of repairing the bridge before the collapse, those found liable chose not to spend the money or the time to resolve the underlying problems.
Bob Lyons, attorney for Martinez's brother, asked for and received a verdict of $1,000,000.00 for the long term effects of his client watching his brother fall to the ground, saw him trying to crawl out from the wreckage and comforted his brother for over 20 minutes until he could do nothing further. Lyons, past president of the Dallas, Tx bar association, stated angrily: "There is no reason for us to be here today, none. The death of this man should not have occurred. Simply speaking, it all happened because of corporate greed. Nothing more".
After the verdict, one of the jurors wrote:
"I have just completed my civic duty. I was chosen as a juror on a civil suit case. We spent 8 days listening and watching our judicial process at work. Although this was sometimes "an inconvience"
Additional information can be obtained from the trial team:
Juan Hernandez, P.C. (Browning & Hernandez)
8111 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1065
Dallas, TX 75251-1389
Robert C. Lyon
Robert Lyon & Associates
Lyon, Gorsky, Haring, Gilbert & Livingston, L.L.P.
Dodson, Hooks and Frederick
112 Founders Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70810