EP. #21

#21- Litigation in Trucking

This week on the Liquid Trucking Podcast, we’re digging around in the realm of litigation involving trucking companies.


Dave Mullin Partner Fraser Stryker
Jason Eisenman VP of Safety and HR
Drew Lagow Partner, Cox PLLC


This week on the Liquid Trucking Podcast, we’re digging around in the realm of litigation involving trucking companies. Jason Eisenman and Marcus will first be joined by Dave Mullin from Fraser Stryker, who will bring us some mind-blowing stats about lawsuits involving trucking companies, and we’ll learn a bit about the life cycle of an accident as it works its way through the court system. After that, Drew Lagow from Cox P.L.L.C. joins us to talk about a case that is still working through the system involving a mega-carrier and a nearly $100 million lawsuit. Drew will also discuss some of the tactics defense and plaintiff attorneys use in these cases. Finally, we’ll hear about some truck stops that hopefully aren’t too high on your list of places to stay the night.


What’s good Liquid Trucking and welcome to episode 21 of the Liquid Trucking podcast.

As always,

I am your host,

your boy Marcus Bridges and I am very happy to be here,

very excited about this episode.

Uh Before we get into what we’re talking about today.

Don’t forget if you have something that you want to hear about on this podcast or maybe you just want to be on this podcast.

It’s really simple to do,

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excuse me,

or you can go to Liquid trucking.com,

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Click that thing and that will also put you in touch with all the platforms on,

give you a little bit of uh inside info on some of the guys that we’ve had on the show and also get you that email address so that you can get in touch with us.

Uh Again,

thank all of you.

You guys are amazing.


we could not do this podcast without the support that we get not only from the staff at the terminal,

but also the drivers and everybody else that’s out there.

Click and listen.

We really appreciate the downloads.

Episode 21 of the Liquid Trucking Podcast is an interesting one because we are going to dive into the world of litigation against trucking companies specifically.

And in this episode,

we’re going to be joined by a couple of defense attorneys.

We’re gonna talk us through some of the strategies that are used against trucking companies.

Whether those be,


what you might consider predatory or a little bit,


underhanded or the ones that they hit you right in the face with that is a good legal blow.



this is how they’re trying to try their case.


really excited to talk to Dave Mullen from Frasier striker.

He’s done a lot of work with Liquid Trucking in the past.

He’s gonna bring us some statistics on,


what exactly the legal environment looks like right now,


in the trucking industry.

And let me tell you,

call this a tease if you will.

It’s stupid.

You guys,



the increase alone,


I don’t want to spoil it for you.

So we’ll let Dave bring it to you because he does a much better job of presenting it than I could.



also from Cox P LLC,

we are going to be joined by Drew Leggo who,


practices down in Texas and Oklahoma and has also done some work with Liquid in the past.


he’s going to talk to us a little bit about getting prepped for these cases.

And we’re also going to discuss with both of these gentlemen,

kind of the life cycle of an accident.

That’s right.

They happen sometimes and sometimes people are very adamant when it happens and involves a semi truck.

They’re very adamant about trying to get a large amount of money out of the company.

So that’s what we’re discussing today.

And also later on in,

at the end of the episode,

I’m going to bring you a list compiled by an asset management company of places that they recommend.

You don’t park your truck for a tenner,

a 34 because they’ve had a lot of theft,

a lot of,


you know,


that type of thing.

There’s some lot lizard activity going on in these places and I’d be willing to bet with as much time as you guys spend out on the road,

you’ll know exactly,


where some of these places are that I’m talking about.

So we’ll get to that towards the end of the episode.

We want to get on the phone with Dave Mullen right now though,

Jason’s just around the corner,

he’s gonna jump in here.

Very excited about this.

Lots of good information,


coming up around the corner.

So let’s get into it.

Welcome to the Gold Standard of podcast for the Gold standard of Drivers.

This is the Liquid Trucking podcast with your host Marcus Bridges,

joining me next here on the Liquid Trucking Podcast.

I’ve got uh my guy Jason Eisenman,

always with me for these.

Uh I love having you here,


You might as well be called the co-host of this thing at this point in time.




I’m not much of a host,

but I definitely enjoy talking every time.


thank you.

No problem.

We’re happy to have you here and also joining us today,

Uh an attorney for Frasier striker.

I’ve got Dave Mullen here,


We really appreciate the time.

Thanks for being here.

Pleasure to join you guys.



we’ve got you on here today because you are an attorney and you’ve got a lot of facts for instance,

and statistics to talk about uh when it comes to uh rulings against trucking companies or,

or even just accidents and,

and litigation against trucking companies in general.

Um I know precious little about this topic and so I am going to turn it to the expert.

What kind of stats and,

and uh information have you brought us today about this,



Marcus and,


and thanks pleasure to appear on your show and,


and thanks for giving me the floor.


what we’re,

what we’re seeing in the legal world,


over the last decade or so is we’re seeing that jury verdicts against truck drivers and truck companies are going way up,


faster than anybody anticipated specifically the US CHAMBER of commerce estimates between 2010 and 2018,

trucking verdicts in this country went up 867%.

Which is crazy when you think about it.


And during that same time,


the statistics show that truck accidents per mile actually went down.

So what’s going on here?

We have jury verdicts against truckers and trucking companies going way up in the last decade or so.


even though the companies themselves are getting more safe.


so we’re dealing with that on a day to day basis.




and figuring out the best way to handle it and that’s what I do in my job,

you know,

working with as many trucking companies as I do and,

and talking to as many experts within the industry as I do,

it is very apparent that safety is the number one overall goal across the industry,

not just to protect the drivers,

protect the load,

protect the equipment,

but also to protect everybody on the road around the drivers.

So what gives Dave,

I mean,

how is it that we’ve gotten so much more safe as an industry?


but we’ve ended up in the courtroom so much more.



there’s a bunch of factors contributing to that.




the first one I’d point to is this isn’t necessarily just a trucking problem.


we have seen in the industry verdicts go up in all different kind of industries.




the one constant seems to be where corporations are involved.

So there’s kind of some anti corporate anti big business sentiment that’s been going on the last decade or so in courtrooms all around the country.

And unfortunately,

trucking companies have got swept up into that.


now in my experience,

the verdicts against trucking companies have gotten even have gone up even faster than the,

the verdicts against other corporations.

But I do want you to realize this isn’t and I,

I want our drivers to realize this isn’t just a trucking problem.

Part of it is a societal problem.



And you know,

just to add,

add some to that,

you know,

that’s that figure you gave 800 some percent is staggering and liquid trucking is a small portion of that whole sea of trucking companies out there seeing and feeling that and,

and we’ve,

uh we just did some statistics internally to look at like,

what are we paying today for insurance?

That kind of follows this and insurance has gone up the same type of staggering numbers,

you know,


I mean,

it’s just staggering and why does that go up because those insurance companies are paying a good portion of all those uh verdicts you’re talking about.



And let me,

let me,

let me follow up on that.


you’re totally right and it isn’t just the verdict.

The problem with the verdicts is,


you know about one out of every 10,

1 out of every 20 of these cases actually goes to court.


and then those cases set the value for all the other ones that settle.

So when the,

when the verdicts go up,

867% that means the settlements are probably also going up 800%.



in the cases that we don’t know about.


So to Jason’s point,

these verdicts don’t just affect the companies and the drivers in the verdicts themselves,

they make the whole cost of doing business go up and they make all the settlements higher in all these cases.

You know,

lately I’ve seen a lot of news coverage about,


predatory towing.


there was,

of course down in,


in Louisiana,

I think a year and a half ago or so,

we had,


a racket that was going on where people were intentionally trying to get into accidents with trucks so that they could sue the companies.

How much does this type of predatory activity contribute to these statistics?


you know,

I wouldn’t place a ton of that on the predatory activity because I think,


the predatory activity,

these are opportunists that see a societal trend and they’re trying to capitalize it.

They’re not really driving the numbers,

so to speak.

So I think the underlying numbers are the,

are the bigger problem,

but the problem is,


and one of the reasons honestly,

that these numbers are going up.

What happens,

Marcus is once plaintiff attorneys see,




verdicts against trucking companies are going way up.


then all of a sudden you get some of the best plaintiff’s attorneys going into that field and starting to refine their craft.


because they think,


that’s where I’m gonna make my millions in suing trucking companies.



so which is kind of the same phenomenon as what you’re talking about,


once an industry gets marked with,

oh boy,

big verdicts there,

then they’re subject to lawyers who want to make a lot of money there.

Uh Predatory Towers who want to make the mo mo money there,


So I don’t think they’re driving the market,

but I think they’re a symptom of that market.

The other thing that we’re seeing these days,


kind of from a macro trend is,

you know,

if you guys think back,


you know,

politically and I don’t get too involved in politics,

but I do get involved from a verdict,

but standpoint,


And if you look back a decade or so ago,

uh I know there was a presidential debate about 15 years ago where one of the main issues in that debate that was discussed was tort reform and how out of control jury verdicts are.

And you used to hear 15 years ago all the time about the mcdonald’s coffee case and how ridiculous it was and how we have to stop that and change that and pass laws and that has kind of stopped in the last 10 years.

Uh You used to have at least one of our political parties really advocating for that type of thought.

And now there isn’t really anyone advocating for,

for pro-business,

anti litigation.




at the big level,

you see it in some states,

Iowa passed a great new law this year that protects trucking companies,

but you’re not seeing it on the national level and part of that,



you know,

once those trends stop,

once people start thinking,

stop thinking in terms of lawsuits are out of control,

verdicts are out of control,

then that causes them to get even more out of control.


And so we’re seeing that as well.

Do you have any thoughts on where the anti big business,

anti corporation sentiment comes from?

You know,

it’s always been there a little bit right.

There’s always these undertones in American life of,

uh fight the power,

fight the big guy.





that’s been there a little bit over the years.

Uh So some periods of our history that’s been controlled more than others.

And like I say back in the odds,

uh 2000 to 2010,

we had a relatively business friendly environment.

We didn’t have out of control verdicts and we had a lot of political actors actually pushing that train of thought.

I can’t tell you how many times I heard about the mcdonald’s coffee case from non lawyers 15 years ago.


That doesn’t really happen anymore.

You don’t have people coming up to me saying aren’t these verdicts out of control?

People get millions for stealing coffee that’s kind of faded from the national consciousness a little bit over the last decade.

And we’re seeing verdicts go up along with that and also warnings on the side of coffee cups going up exponentially alongside that,


Uh I want to turn the conversation a little bit here,

uh to talk about the the life cycle of an accident.


Jason actually brought this up when we were preparing for this interview and I,

I love the way that that is,

that is,


stated there,

talk to me about the life cycle of an accident within a trucking company and,

and how that accident sort of lives on long past the moment that it occurs in Dave.


So the first thing to realize with,

with the whole process is,


the way liability works and the way liability works is,


there is agency liability for trucking accidents.



if a driver gets involved with an accident,

on behalf of Smith trucking,

then both the driver and Smith trucking are liable for everything that happened in that accident.

So that,

that governs how the life cycle of these work.

Because right after a driver gets into the accident,

they are in the exact same spot as their company.


We are both on the hook for this.

And so now what we need to do what we can to protect ourselves.


if it’s a really bad accident,



say fatality or obvious,



a near fatality injuries,

oftentimes I’ll get hired that same day,

the same day of an accident.

I’ll be in touch in touch with the trucker that day.

I’ll be in touch with the safety director of the company.

I’ll be in touch with the company and I will be uh handling the post truck investigation and a lot happens in these first three weeks,


Because we’re uh contacting witnesses reaching out to the police trying to impact how the police uh view uh an accident.

And we’re also reaching out to our own experts.

We have accident reconstructionists that we hire for these type of things.

We have uh people that come and download the ECM data on the trucks,

see what we can learn from that.

Uh So we’re doing all that investigation.

So what the,

the first part of the life cycle of an accident is the investigative.

Uh and that,

that all happens pretty soon after that part,

things get slow and all the drivers I represent,

sometimes they get frustrated.

They call me,

they say Dave this accident happened 2.5 years ago.

I ha I still haven’t heard anything.


a plaintiff’s attorney has uh,

until the Statute of limitations expires to file a suit in some states.

That’s two years in my state,


That’s four years.

So sometimes you don’t hear anything,


for 3,

3.5 years after you’ve done your initial investigation.

And you think to yourself,

maybe this has gone away.

We have our investigation done,

maybe no one’s going to come after us.


but then oftentimes we do find right before that statute of limitations expires.


a lawsuit shows up.


and we call that the 11th hour filing the 11th hour filing.


Jason is familiar with them because uh,

they happen all the time.

So a lot of times what happens in these life cycles is we do an investigation up front,

uh get out all the,

all the materials we need and then it just sits for a period of time and then either a claim is made against the company or a lawsuit is filed and then the attorney gets involved.

Is there anything strategic about the plaintiff attorneys uh,

putting that off other than just maximizing their time to gather information?

Are they kind of hoping from time to time,

Dave that you guys have,


kind of left that one in,

in the past and,

and forgotten about it or maybe didn’t uh follow up on it as much because you didn’t think that something was coming down the pipe.


fair questions and what we get as Jason could tell you what we get is,



we might not get a lawsuit or,


or a demand,

but we do get right away.

Usually a letter that says,

preserve every piece of paper,


from this accident,


which we do have to do.


and so is there a disadvantage to them waiting?

Not really.


and frankly,

I don’t think most plaintiff’s attorneys wait,



in order to make our lives difficult,

they just don’t get around to doing it.


And some of them do get around to sending a,



oftentimes on the bigger cases,

you don’t wait four years.


On the bigger cases they let you know right away,

our demand is $20 million something like that.


so I don’t think there is an advantage but,

you know,

what do I know?

I’m not a plaintiff’s attorney.


There you go.

Everybody’s out here playing their cards their way.

I was gonna weigh in a little on that.

From the carrier side.


and this is,


you know,

definitely not a legal opinion if you will,

but from our side,

I think Dave touched on it right there.

What is the value of a case in law firms?

Plaintiff attorney firms?

They have all sorts of data and programs and software and historical stuff that place value on a case based on what happened.

And then,

you know,

when they send those preservation letters,

demand letters and such.

They’re looking for all those uh insurance,

uh limits the shelf cases that have lower values,

longer statute of limitations,

less potential.

And we,

we find that,

you know,

maybe a case that had a small minor lane change,

there was a little bit of medical injury,

you know,

maybe some follow up treatment,

some tissue damage and,


you know,

they might demand 100 which means they work on contingency,

They might pick up 30 grand if they actually win this or resettle it or mediate it.




you could weigh in on that.

I think that the value of a case definitely determines the shelf life for a plaintiff’s attorney.

Totally agree.



to your point.




and I made that comment early,


you don’t see many plaintiffs attorneys sitting four years on a,

on a $20 million case,


Of two or three fatalities,


You tend to see the,

the ones that crop up four years later are the ones,


I got bumped in a parking lot and,


pulled my,

you know,

back muscle and I want,


75 grand,

you know,

th those tend to pop up later,

not the bigger ones.

So I think Jason’s right about that.

Is it frustrating?



I know our drivers get frustrated with it.

You know,

as they’re listening today,

like this is one of the reasons we’re constantly talking about all the safety initiatives and things that we do because ultimately,

at the end of the day,

we don’t want to see anybody get hurt either if it’s our own driver or somebody that they are sharing the road with.

But we also have to protect the business and the place that pays us every week,


as our job and livelihood and,


and that continued success and growth and these nuclear verdicts as they call them or a litany of smaller verdicts can really put a dent in a company like ours if we’re not careful.




what would you like the drivers to get out of,


this segment in particular,

just in,

in getting some of this information?


they know more about it now than they did 15 minutes ago.



if there’s,

if there’s one piece to really take away from this for the drivers,

what would that be?


everything that they do every day?

All the decisions they are,

the whole industry is stacked against them.

They’re in a,

I mean,

if you look at what they’re operating on the road and all the,


items that they have to overcome every single day,

they’re making more decisions by the second,

by the mile than some of the most powerful CEO S in the company in the country.

Excuse me,


they are making decisions on the fly all the time and every good decision counts,

slowing down thinking through things not cutting corners,

one bad decision and don’t get me wrong.

We’re human.

We’re meant to be not perfect but any and you know,

one bad decision or really negligent decision,

uh or making an intentional negligent decision can change and alter the way that your life as a driver in our life,

as a company works for the next three or four years while we all stress out about this case.


put there and Dave,

how about from your perspective,

anything that you would tell the drivers just based on what we’ve talked about here,



to maybe look out for or to be conscious of.


thanks Marcus.

And here’s what I would say.


I think one of the ways the plaintiff’s attorneys,


drive up the value of these cases is they focus on rules violations,

they focus on things we can control and they try to make the argument that this was a conscious decision by this trucker or this trucking company to put money ahead of safety.

And that’s what pisses off juries,


And that’s what gets big verdicts.

I try to make every case about this was a mistake.

This was an accident because everybody makes mistakes,

everybody has accidents and none of us want to be judged by,

you know,


our biggest mistake.

So my view on it is,

you know,

truckers are always getting,

nobody never gonna be perfect.

There’s always gonna be mistakes made,

there’s always going to be accidents.

But those accidents are a lot easier to defend if it turns out,



we go through all the documentation and we follow the rules and the company did everything right.

And those are the cases that typically don’t go nuclear,

that the cases that typically go nuclear are.


there’s evidence this,

this trucker didn’t do a pre tripp inspection and there was a maintenance problem that caused this death.

They put,

you know,

they put their own rush or trying to get there quickly over safety.

And when there’s evidence like that,

we get in trouble,

but everybody makes mistakes.


don’t worry about the stakes.

Don’t go to bed at night feeling like my life’s gonna be over if I’m gonna make a mistake,

but do your best to follow the rules and the company policies because that’s the stuff in the law in the courtroom that tends to get us in the most trouble.


put there as well and,

and those things are all there,

all those company policies,

all those safety protocols are all there in effect to protect the driver in the company at the end of the day.

So if we follow them,

then we’re gonna be protected.

It’s the easiest way to look at it.

Uh Jason before we let Dave go.

Is there anything else you’d like to touch on,


before we run out of time here?


but I’d like to just,


always close with reminding the drivers and listeners if they have comments or questions or follow ups to this to,


send us those emails podcast at Liquid trucking.com because we,

you know,

if there’s questions,

uh from this content,

we’d love to talk about it again and follow up on that.


And the drivers have been great.

I’ve been getting a lot of text messages from Liquid Drivers over these past few weeks.

You guys are giving me episode ideas and everything like that.

So keep that stuff coming.

And uh Dave,

thank you so much uh for being here again,

attorney for Frasier striker.

We really appreciate the time.

This has been a fantastic segment.

It’s been a pleasure,

Marcus and always good to see you,



Thank you so much.

Great conversation that we had there with Dave.

Uh I wanted to ask you though real quick.

This is uh something where Dave’s not your only guy you’re using guys for different regions,

different parts of the country,

different lawsuits and the like um I,

is that correct?


So how that works is we have uh you know,

our insurance,

which we talked at length about with Dave,

you know how insurance plays a big role in this.

And our insurance partners bring people to the table like Drew and Dave and their law firms alike and they specialize in different areas of the country where they’re not only licensed to practice law,

but also bring different specialties to the table.

And with that,

we’re gonna welcome in Drew Leggo from Cox P LLC Drew.

Thank you so much for being here today.

I really appreciate it.

Thank you guys for having me and I understand that you played a little bit of football out at the University of Tulsa.

Is that correct?

I did.

What was the position?

I played defensive end in college,

the older I get the better I was,

I like it.


but you’ve got that tenacity to really go after something if you need to,



in your current role.


has there been anything from the football field that translates into law that you can,


you can pick out,

you know,

I’m a firm believer that football,

like a lot of athletics,


it’s kind of a game of life,

you know,

you learn so many transferable skills,



hard work.


and when I played,

I was always a firm believer that the best players play on defense because they don’t know the place.

So I think that translates into law.

I’m a defense attorney and we have to be disciplined,

read our keys and we have to pounce right.


and to that point,


what are some keys that you might be looking for in,

in litigation that happens uh,

against trucking companies?

Maybe there’s been an accident or something of the sort and somebody’s coming after the trucking company.

What types of keys are you looking to read?

You know,

ideally if it’s a severe accident,

we like to get involved as early as possible.

Um There’s so much evidence that can be gathered at the scene that can be gathered shortly after the scene.

Um We offered rapid response services for clients in those kinds of situations.

We have of course experts we work with and various specialties because those things pay big dividends down the road versus trying to pick up a case.

Two years after the fact,

there’s no more seen evidence stories have changed surveillance footage if it was available has been overridden.

Maybe the driver doesn’t work for us anymore.

Witnesses are scattered,

the officer passed away so on and so forth.

So a lot of this is kind of like sixth sense,

you know,

they teach you in law school versus practical sort of intuition and,

you know,

I wish they could put in a bottle and I wish they could uh define it.



and I wish I could explain it to you.

Uh but uh it’s just,

you know,

that’s where your,

I guess your,

your instinct comes in.



And you’ve spent years honing that instinct too and,

and yeah,

and you get better at it every single year just like you did in football.

I’m sure,

you know,

can you talk to me a little bit about maybe some trends that you’ve been seeing in the industry.

We we had a good conversation with,


with Dave earlier and Dave told us that,


litigation against trucking companies was up like 800 some odd percent.

I mean,

just a mind-blowing stat.

What kind of trends have you seen,



in the industry,

I guess,

where litigation is involved here over the past few years?



in Texas specifically,

that’s a major topic of discussion.

In 2021.

the legislature passed with many of heralded as the trucking bill to address some anomaly verdicts we’ve seen for some of the things you talked about.

I think COVID redefined a lot of things we’ve seen the extreme for and against in transportation litigation.


and so that’s something that is,


you know,

a AAA chess piece if you will,



we’re always trying to outmaneuver the other side and vice versa.

I had a client recently tell me that,


in Texas specifically,

they’re spending 8% of their fuel tax money,

but yet over a third of their pending litigation is in Texas.

So to your point,

if you do the math that they’re not traveling there that much,

but for when they are there,

it’s highly litigious.

And do you have any,

any reasons as to why I asked Dave the same question?

He said it was more of a symptom of kind of an overall problem where litigation across the board was just up.


but I,

I mean,

maybe take a state like Texas as an example.

Is there any reason you think it’s so bad down there versus maybe another bordering state?

You know,


I couldn’t put,


any one thing on it,

having malpractice in all the other states.


you know,


I think that,


we’re seeing a lot of venue shopping.


we’re seeing cases that happened in Oklahoma.

They’re filed in Houston.

We have a case pending now and Dallas had filed,

it was filed in Dallas,

excuse me,

it actually happened in Colorado.


so there’s a lot of that as we call it for,


forum shopping.

If you will,

I had a case in Oklahoma that happened in Oklahoma.

They filed it in Cook County,

Illinois because what the trucking company is based out of,

of course,

Cook County would be Chicago,




I think there’s always some of that,


as to why.

Now that’s a great question.

And again,

I think the legislature is trying to figure that out too.

That’s why they passed this,

this latest bill a couple of years ago.



and happy to see that Jason,

I’m sure you were happy to see that bill get,


get shoved through as well.





just to be clear was this,




the bill that was representative that came from the Werner lawsuit?


In fact,



if you read the,


some of the committee notes and some of the,


the arguments on the floor,

they specifically referenced the $89 million Warner lawsuit,


from Judge Sandhills Court in Harris County who I’ve actually been in front of and it is still on the bench that was in 2000,

I think,

17 or 18,

it’s still on appeal.

In fact,

in May of last year,

it was just affirmed by the Houston Court of Appeals And last I heard was headed to the Supreme Court.

So 67 years later,

it is still out there as far as I know,

it hasn’t,

hasn’t even been paid and it’s still an active topic of conversation.

That’s amazing.

And can you,

can you just talk,


take me through kind of a,

a 10,000 ft view of that case so I can understand a little bit better?





the plaintiff’s lawyer was a guy named Eric Penn who I’ve had cases with and,


he picked up a file.


I listened to a podcast he did about that very case.

So it kind of gave me some more insight into it,

obviously not having been involved.



Warner had a driver who was headed westbound on I 20 out in West Texas,

I think,

somewhere around what we call Ranger Hill,


let’s just call it Ailene.


it was predicted to snow that day.

Of course,

snow in West Texas is relatively speaking compared to snow in Nebraska.


if it snows,

it’s normally not very much.


in fact,


there was some precipitation,

there was some freezing and on the opposite side of I 20 there was a vehicle in which the plaintiffs were occupying and there were some of her Children were in there.


their vehicle lost control now again,

opposite of I 20 which is like I 35 I,

44 I 40 any major highway,

they lost control after hitting a patch of black ice and then come flying across the median and cut right in front of the Warner truck.

And the Warner Truck essentially t bugs them without any real material opportunity to avoid the collision,

devastating injuries.

I think one of the Children died,

one of them was essentially reduced to a wheelchair,

you know,

life care plans,


you know,

significant hospital bills.

And so they sued Warner.

And the theory was,

if you,

of course,

refer to the commercial driving manual,

it talks about adverse conditions.

And for example,

if the roads are wet,

it recommends you should reduce your,

your speed by,

I think one third,


I if you know it kind of upgrades from there all the way to the point where if there’s ice president says you should get off the road.

So the argument was that Warner should have never been there,

even though the Warner Truck wasn’t accused of doing anything wrong from a,


you know,

transportation standpoint traffic,

you know,


anything like that.

He just shouldn’t have been there and,



and more specifically,


they got into the details of the federal motor car safety regulations and how they’re designed to save lives and,

and they said that the,


the driver should have reduced his speed.


he was going highway speeds,

maybe he had reduced his speed by 15 to 20 miles an hour.

But if he,

if he’d have been going,

you know,

a third of the posted speed,

he just used the,



you know,

the wet road standard.

They had all these calculations that he could have come to a complete stop.

It would have been really close,

but he could have come to a complete stop.

He’d have been going just one third slower.

And they did a query.



they searched all the crash reports in a,

like a 10 county area in,

in West Texas and they found another accident or another driver who had reduced his speed but was on the road as we’ve all seen,

business has to go on and many times trucks continue to move forward as safe as possible.

He had reduced his speed and he was involved in a collision with an elderly lady and she wasn’t hurt.

And so they had brought this other truck driver to trial and he talked about how he had been a 20 year trucker.

Never been in an accident.

Versus the Warner Trucker who had just graduated the academy and then they brought in the elderly lady and,

you know,

wasn’t hurt.

And so the whole idea was,



these rules work.



there’s a reason why if he would have just,

if you just wouldn’t have been there for the first or if he just would reduce the speed,

we wouldn’t have a death.


we wouldn’t have a,

you know,

a AAA disabled child.

And so,

you know,

as crazy as it sounds,

that’s the supposed basis for the $89 million verdict against Warner Transportation and it’s still up in the air at this point.

It’s just,

they just keep passing the ball back and forth to one another.





I’m glad that you brought that to us,


drew because it,

it gives me a bit more context for this,

this next question which is,




you know,

before I actually get to that,

I want to say Jason does hearing a story like that just make you quiver in your shoes because I can’t imagine being a guy in your position and hearing a,

a trial,

a plaintiff attorney saying something like,


the truck just shouldn’t have been there.

Does that just melt you into a puddle?

Like what are your thoughts when you hear about this story?




it does simply because,


we talked about this earlier with Dave,

you know,

I referenced the term.

These drivers are like rolling CEO S out there on the road.

They’re making so many decisions on the fly all the time with moving targets.


you know,

not targets but all the cars and traffic around them and they have to be alert,

aware and control that equipment,

the load,

all the traffic,

the road hazards,

the changing of the climate,


the temperatures in the road precipitate.

I mean,

if you think about their job during the day,

the deck is stacked against them.

So when something like this happens and somebody gets awarded that much money on the simple premise that,


if you weren’t out there,


you know,

it might not have happened.


if you put that whole premise into life in general,


we wouldn’t have much of a life.


very good point.

And so drew knowing that these lawsuits are out there as a defense attorney,

how do you,

you start to build your case against,

say somebody’s,


case that says against you?


you just shouldn’t have been there.


what types of,



I mean,


I know that with all your experience,

you’ve probably got 1000 tricks up your sleeve.

You might not want to give up the state secrets.

But generally how do you prepare for something like that?

Sometimes the best strategy is whatever they’re saying against you,

you try to reverse it back then.

All right,

I mean,

we could go down the long list of terribles that had,

you know,

the plaintiff not been born that day or had the driver,

you know,

not put in an application,

you know.

So that’s,

that’s usually one argument.



and there’s usually a lot of discussion in these cases a about preventable and,


and I think it’s worth bearing that a lot of times we wanna talk about prevent,

you can talk about some prevent from the decisions that the plaintiff made in that situation that go well beyond the actual accident.



that’s one way to II I think,

address that.

Um And again,

I don’t know the specifics as to exactly how the Warner case was defended.

I do know one of the traffic reconstruction experts that was involved or,

or his partner was involved in the case and he’s kind of given me,

you know,

some limited insight without getting the details.

Um from what I understand,

I think everybody was shocked and probably wasn’t really prepared and probably would have tried the case a little bit differently.


you know,

that’s why you get one shot and you got to put your best foot foot forward.


Um You know,

we talked a little bit before you came on here with Dave about the kind of the life cycle of an accident and how,

you know,

the driver obviously is there experiences it,

we hope everybody is,

is safe and uninjured but the accident’s life goes on for possibly even seven or eight years.

Like we just talked about after the moment that that accident happens.

Um Obviously,

there’s a lot of information gathering and things like that.

But can you talk to me a little bit about how that life cycle matures as it goes on after the moment that the accident happens?


I’ll give you a recent example with um,

one of uh liquid trucking drivers that we just resolved the matter in Lubbock County,

Texas happened in June of 2021 and was resolved two weeks ago.



you know,

accident happens if there’s injuries,

someone goes to the hospital,

they start to follow up with primary care physicians.

Sometimes they can contact a lawyer,

the lawyer can then send them off for treatment under what’s called letters of protection.

They have two years to file a claim.

Sometimes they’ll file a claim right before the two year mark.

Sometimes they’ll file it earlier,

but let’s just use an extreme example.

They file a claim before the two years runs.



then you have to get service on the,

on the,

the parties involved,

the driver,



the trucking company,

they have 30 days to answer.

Then we have what’s called initial disclosures.

Then we have a scheduling conference and you know,

the judge has other cases too and they’re normally booked out to trials till next year.

And then you know,

you’re one of 25 cases said.

And so when you get down to the wire,

what’s your docket priority?

And so these things can go on for like literally years.

Um There’s always an expert to try to resolve it with,

within reason.


if there’s some middle ground that can be reached,


you know,

sometimes right thing,

the right thing to do,

you know,

if you’re just not there,

it’s not there.




I think that the plaintiff’s bar is really good about sharing information and they know who’s willing to roll over and pay.

And so if you roll over and pay them,

they’ll be back.


this is a business case and,

and is that kind of one of the tactics that they use,


when it comes to council attorneys kind of attacking drivers and companies,

if they’ve received a settlement before,

are they more likely to come back,


to the,


a second time or,

or even further than that?


it’s definitely possible.

It’s definitely possible.

I don’t like that at all.


that makes me uncomfortable knowing that,

that they can,

they can come back and keep trying to pick from the tree.

I don’t know how that makes you feel,




I’m uncomfortable right now.



I think Drew hit the nail on the head and it’s not necessarily the same tree.


you know,

because you have to be present as a carrier to,

to be involved in the wreck to some degree.


you know,

and then then get wrapped into a lawsuit.


and earlier,

we talked about the shelf life of a case,

you know,

and the priority,

there’s priority,

you know,

for the judges,

you know,

taking something to trial like Drew mentioned.

But then there’s priority for all these plaintiffs attorneys and the value of a case,

whether they’re getting after it right away on a big one,

or if they’re filing on that 11th hour filing before the statute of limitations runs out on the,

you know,

the lower valued cases.



you know,


if we’re in another wreck in Texas,


I think what I’m hearing Drew saying is,

you know,

they might look at or have the ability to see that,


we’ve resolved the matter settled it literally not figuratively,

but we almost went to trial.

It was two or three days from going to trial before we were able to settle it out of court.


and hopefully that shows that we’re willing to stand up for ourselves to a degree,




and for our drivers,

when we believe that they weren’t wrong in this case,

we firmly believed our driver wasn’t wrong and stood up and paid dearly for years to fight for his case and,

and take it to trial until they bent far enough that it made sense to settle out of court.


like you said maybe not picking from the same tree but definitely revisiting the same orchard.


that might be a better way to put it.

I think.


What do you think?



I mean,

you know,



we put up a really good fight in that case,

Jason and,

and I don’t think anybody would come back and say that we’re a pushover or that you’re a quick pay or,

you know,

you just,

you pay out the nose,

overpaid cases,

get rid of cases.




and I’m with you.

I don’t think I driving anything wrong.


the problem was the plaintiff had $724,000 in medical bills.

So you start running decision tree analysis of,


if she hits two out of 10 and then if the jury does a 5050 verdict and what are the percentages?

And then if they give her,

you know,

twice her medicals for pain and suffering,

it’s like,

you know,


you’re easily into the seven figure range.

And so those are the,

you know,

risk management decisions that,


I don’t know because not really legal advice.


it’s everybody wish we could look at their crystal ball and see what’s gonna happen.

And again,

sometimes you just have a roll the dice but a lot of times it depends on what the numbers are and what makes sense and that sort of thing for sure.


I’m gonna ask you the same question that I,

I wrapped up the interview that we had with Dave earlier because I think it’s really valuable for the drivers out there listening.

And that is based on all your experience,

based on the cases.

You’ve seen the ones that you’ve tried yourself,

the ones that have settled.

What are,


some pieces of advice you might give to drivers out there on how to protect themselves,

protect the company and uh you know,

try to stay out of the way of this stuff as best they possibly can.


we can’t prevent every accident.

We know that,

but we also know that safety is paramount at liquid trucking.

I mean,

we talk about it all the time on this podcast.

So we’ve got good drivers out there that are paying attention to the things that they should,

what else can they do?

Drew that would help them along the way to maybe avert this crisis once in a while.


safety is a wonderful thing.

It requires mutual participation though.

And that’s usually where the fight is about who could have done what be the good guy as much as you possibly can.

Obviously do everything you can to avoid an accident.

You know,

if something happens,

do your best to be compassionate.

You don’t have to uh admit responsibility just to show human compassion.

You know,

it’s funny,

I went to a AC Le a few years ago in New Orleans.

It was put on by the Association of Corporate counsel and they had done a study about um companies,

drivers could be an example of this,

but it just showed some compassion towards people in the event of an accident.

Maybe even send a representative by the hospital room again,

not talking about the accident from a liability standpoint.

Just how are you doing?

Is there anything I can do to help you?

Can I give you a ride?

You know,

can I give you a family member a ride?

You know,

uh little things like that and then they monitored the,

the ultimate settlements and awards in those cases and they had drastically dropped because the emotions from the offending side,

you know,

the plaintiffs in that situation,

it’s hard to get mad at a guy who’s just a human being.

And so if you’re involved in these situations,

you know,

II I would say from,


from cases we’ve been involved in,

from working with jury psychologists and,

and mock trials getting ready for real trials and picking juries.

You know,

it’s not always what the facts are guys,

it’s how the jury feels about the facts.

And it’s like in trial schools they talk about,


you might not like a convertible but if it’s red and it’s got a V eight and it’s a stick shift.

Could you live with it?


and that’s the same thing.

So do your best to be compassionate.

You don’t have to talk about who is at fault or anything like that.


but I think that goes a long way,

whatever you get into a courtroom and emotions are involved and,

you know,

you obviously want to come across as much as you can as the nice guy in the white hat.

And it’s like a judge told me a long time ago.

Justice isn’t always about the outcome.

It’s about the process.

And so,

you know,

uh we’re all in this together.


you can’t say it any better than that.

You really can’t.

Uh Drew and,

and thank you for,

for that.


I’m hoping that the drivers get something out of this and just understand a little bit better what this whole situation entails.

Um This is something the company’s got to live with for a long time if it happens.

And uh it’s,

it’s uh it’s no easy battle.

Um And we’re just uh glad liquid I know to have people like yourself uh fighting on our side of the aisle.


I know,


I probably speak for Jason when I say that,

but Jason,

I want to give you a chance to get back in here before we wrap this up and see if you have anything else for Drew before we let him go.


not necessarily for Drew,

but Drew might um add to this,

we talked about this in this last case that we worked on together.

But for,

for our drivers listening and any driver,

if you’re even not with liquid trucking listening,

remember that an accident happened because everybody involved didn’t know everything that actually truthfully happened because if they,

if they would have,

they would have all avoided it.

So when you get into an accident,

like Drew said,

you don’t have to admit fault and it’s better sometimes not to do a whole lot of talking and,

and guessing and speculating because had you known everything,

it probably wouldn’t happen.

So take,

take your time,


safety call,



People be compassionate.

But remember you were just in an accident and it’s really not your point or,

or your turn to just start uh guessing things or admitting fault and,

and let you know,

folks like drew work on that down the road that that’s very well said,


you know,

in a,

in a number of transportation manuals that I’ve seen representing companies like liquid,

one common denominator I have seen in almost every accent kit is do not admit fault.

And of course,

the other side looks at that and says it says right there that they,

they tell him what to say,

you know,

they’re never gonna admit fault.

But it’s for the same reasons that Jason just described.

If everybody knew what happened,

it probably wouldn’t have happened to begin with.

So very well said,

and I’ll just say this one of the really encouraging things we’re seeing,

you know,

coming out of the COVID crisis.

And there’s a lot of research on this with jury psychologists that we work with,

you know,

one of the new heroes are truck drivers and I truly believe that,

I mean,

truck drivers are essential to our economy without trucks.

America stops.

We’ve all seen those,

those bumper stickers and,

and I do think that we are seeing more and more of that with juries because,

you know,

people want their toilet paper.

We all remember when COVID first hit and the,


the the the shelves were empty,


And so,

you know,

be the hero.


it’s not just limited to police officers and doctors and nurses and,

but be the hero that people really truly,

I think are starting to realize that you are.


and so from myself,

thank you to any truck driver out there listening to this because you guys really are the backbone of our community and it’s my honor to partner with you and defend you if you do get yourself into a,

you know,

nefarious situation,

drew Leggo from Cox P LLC.

I could not agree more.

Uh These guys are absolute heroes.

We do this podcast for him because we appreciate them so much.

I mean,

that’s the,

that’s one of the reasons I got into the gig here.

So I,

I couldn’t agree more.

I wanna thank you so much for coming on here,

sharing your uh your experience and expertise with us and uh shining some light on some of this litigation stuff.


it’s great to get kind of a,

an understanding of it in,

in like the layman’s terms like you made it so that a guy like me who didn’t do very well in school obviously talks for a living because of that fact.


I understood it very well and I really appreciate you,



just coming on here and,

and talking us through this stuff,


we’ll get you back on again for sure.

Thank you very much for having me.

All right.


since we’re on the topic of defending trucking companies,

which is really why we had,


our lawyers that we’ve had on the show today on,

we wanted to talk about,

you know,

the life cycle of,



an accident.

How long does this thing last after the minute that it actually goes bang or after it goes?


I’m just really happy with that sound effect.



I actually was just kind of browsing the internet looking for different things on the subject.

You know,

we’ve talked about predatory towing a little bit.


we’ve talked about various different,


things to look out for,

which is all great.

This is kind of more along the lines of protecting yourself when you’re not driving.

And I’m sure a lot of you have seen this because it’s been going around.


this is the high value load,

do not stop location list.


it was put together by L brands Asset Protection and it requests that their truck drivers do not stop at these locations.

These are high-risk truck stops,


kind of laid out state by state and I’m probably not gonna hit on all of them,

but I’m gonna hit on as many of them as I can to in a,

in what time we have available for us in this segment.

So we’ll start off alphabetically here in Alabama.

They don’t want you stopping at the Flying J.


once again before I get into this,

this is not from liquid Trucking.

All right,

this isn’t liquid trucking’s boss is saying,


don’t park here.

This is a,


an asset management company that is saying if you have a high value load,

we don’t recommend that you stop here.

You still have to make the decision for yourself.

Just make sure sure that your loads secure that your cab is locked up when you’re sleeping at these places because I think that’s kind of what they’re seeing.

They’re seeing a lot of lot lizards,

they’re seeing a lot of theft.


they’re seeing a lot of maybe some predatory towing activity,

maybe some people getting booted or getting a barnacle put on their windshield.

So think of it that way.

Like just have this list in the back of your mind.



starting out at Alabama the Flying J 602 off I 65 and service road 94 exit 264.

That’s out in Birmingham.


pilot Travel Center in Theodore,

Alabama off I 10 exit 13.

And the pilot travel center number 369 in Birmingham.


that’s I 2050 9,

65 Alabama 78.

Exit 123.

Moving on to Arizona,

uh Flying J off exit 137 on,


110 in Phoenix.

The Loves off exit 135 on I 10 in Phoenix.


that’s in Tolleson,


but only two miles away there on I 10.

Pilot Travel Center uh on I 10 again,

exit 133 in Avondale,

Arizona and finally the pilot travel center on I 10 exit 268 Tucson.

Um man,


this list is gonna get long.

I just realized that going through just those first couple of states.

So I’m gonna concentrate a little bit more on the Midwest here.


Because a lot of times when I talk to you drivers,

you’re not necessarily on the coasts,

you’re between them somewhere.

Let’s go to Colorado.

Uh Stay away from that Loves on I 270 exit two A.

Uh There’s a pilot on I 70 exit 276 A in Denver.

Uh Not loving that one T A in Commerce City.

Uh That’s I 70 I 270 exit 278.

Uh Flying J I 70 exit 275 in Aurora.

There is a Florida pilot dealer service road 826.

Exit sr 817,

Miami Gardens,


I don’t know why Florida worked its way in here.


I see.



let’s go up to Georgia.

How about,


Petro Atlanta?


or I 285 exit 12 in Atlanta.


pilot Travel center in Atlanta.

I 285.

Exit 51.

Conley Georgia.

I 285.

Exit 53.

That’s a Loves,


how about Missouri?


loves number 461 I 70 exit 246 A in Saint Louis,

Texas has a grip of these things.

I 45 exit 64 in Richie road in Houston.

That Flying J Loves I 20 exit 472 in Dallas.

Uh T A Dallas South I 20 I 635 exit 472.

Flying J highway 281 and FM 1925.

That’s in Edinburg,


Uh I 45 exit 50 in Houston.

Uh That’s a Loves,

let’s see.

Uh Tennessee.

How about Loves number 429 exit 87 off of I 65 Iowa I 80 exit one B.

That’s the Loves in Council Bluffs pilot Travel Center I 80 slash 29 exit one B in Council Bluffs.

Those seem like they’re right next to each other.

Same zip code and everything.

Uh Indiana.

We’ve got a few,

uh Mr Fuel I 80 I 94 exit 15 B.

There’s a Loves off of I 94 exit nine in Gary,


Uh Pilot travel center I 70 exit 96 in Greenfield and A Flying J I 94 exit 15 B in Lake Station,


They say stay away from the pilot travel center I 55 and 70 exit four in East Saint Louis,


Flying J in Lorton,


That’s I 255 exit 17 A and the road ranger uh I 55 exit 288 in Chicago,

say you should stay away from that one.


once again to recap here,

this is not liquid trucking,

telling you to stay away from these.

I’m sure you guys have those conversations with,


your dispatchers and your driver managers and everybody else.

This is just a,

an asset management company saying this is where they’re seeing the most losses,


come from in my humble state of Oregon,

only two and they both sit in Troutdale,



if you can,

from my experience,

you should just stay out of Troutdale,


but you do have to drive through it there on I 84.

If you’re trying to get past,


it’s both of them are on exit 17.



the T A in Troutdale and the Loves in Troutdale.

They’re right next to one another.



it’s just kind of a,

not a very good area of Portland if you will or,

or not necessarily Portland proper,

but the suburbs,

it’s out there by the outlet malls which are really cool if you’ve ever gotten a chance to stop in there.


but don’t stop at the Loves,


looks like in Mississippi,

I 55 exit 119 in Canton,


That’s the Loves.


there’s also a pilot over on I 55 slash I 20 exit 45 in Jackson,




there is a whole grip of these,


look around for it.

It’s on Facebook,

it’s on Reddit.

It’s all over the place.

If you troll these pages like I do,

you’re definitely gonna find this information and you know,

it’s all about making AAA good decision.

That’s right for you.

You gotta be aware of your surroundings.

There’s one thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is I’ve just started to kind of look around more and spot sketchy individuals more.


I don’t know why,

like I didn’t become more paranoid.


nobody near me got mugged or,

or got their car broken into or anything like that.

But there’s something to this.

If this asset management company is seeing a lot of losses at these places that we’ve just mentioned.


you don’t want to be a statistic.

So think about that type of stuff,

make sure it seems safe to park uh wherever you are at.

Uh That’s gonna pretty much wrap it up for this one.

This has been a great episode.

Really informational.

I gotta thank Drew Leggo and uh Dave Mullins for coming on.

And talking to us about the life cycle of a traffic accident and how sometimes,


attorneys will go after trucking companies and drivers even years after the fact,

it’s amazing to hear the details of some of these stories.


like that one that happened to Werner,


you know,

78 years old and it’s still in the court system and that was almost a $100 million settlement.

That is nuts.

and no,

that this will happen if anybody can make it happen.

All right,

judges are a little bit so happy.

That’s also something we learned.

Something like an 800% increase in litigation against trucking companies.

Let’s do our safety checks.

Uh Let’s keep an eye on everybody around us and let’s make sure that we stay out of those dire straits.

That’s all for episode 21 of the Liquid Trucking podcast.

We appreciate you being here as Jason brought up earlier in the show.

If you want to hear something on this podcast or you wanna be on the podcast,

shoot us an email podcast at Liquid trucking.com and don’t forget to head over to Liquid trucking.com and click the link that,


advertises the podcast there.

It will get you in touch with everybody you need to be in touch with and all the platforms that we are available on.

You guys are awesome.

Liquid Trucking couldn’t do this podcast without you.

Appreciate all the support.

We’ll see you next week,

keep the shiny side up and be safe out there.

Thanks for tuning in and being the gold standard of drivers on the road.

Be sure to like and subscribe to the channel and tune in next week for another episode of the Liquid Trucking podcast.