Court restores $8.5 million verdict against Allied Concrete - The Daily Progress: News

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Court restores $8.5 million verdict against Allied Concrete

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Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:56 pm | Updated: 4:14 pm, Thu Jan 10, 2013.

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of a local widower whose wife died from injuries sustained when a cement truck hit the car in which the two were riding in 2007. This action reinstated the Charlottesville jury's original $8,577,000 award.

An Allied Concrete cement truck driven by William Donald Sprouse crossed Thomas Jefferson Parkway's center line on June 21, 2007, tipping over and landing on Isaiah and Jessica Lester's vehicle. Sprouse later pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Authorities ruled speed was a factor in the fatal crash.

Isaiah Lester filed a wrongful death suit, and in December 2010, a Charlottesville jury ruled in his favor and awarded him $6,227,000 plus $2,350,000 in interest.

The jury awarded each of Jessica Lester's parents $1 million.

Before the start of the trial, prosecuting attorney Matthew B. Murray said Isaiah Lester deleted 16 photos from his Facebook page. Most of the images were later recovered, including a photo of the defendant holding a beer can and wearing a T-shirt that said: "I (heart symbol) hot moms."

It was later uncovered that Murray had directed Lester to "clean up" his Facebook profile prior to the jury trial.

As a result, attorneys arguing on behalf of Allied Concrete asked for a new trial. Judge Edward Hogshire denied their request, but did shave $4,127,000 off Lester's award, saying the plaintiff played on juror's emotions by crying during opening and closing statements.

Both defense and prosecuting attorneys appealed Hogshire's ruling to the Virginia Supreme Court, which ultimately sided with Lester on all matters.

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