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Woman struck, killed getting mail at roadside box — Defense verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 5, 2022

Woman struck, killed getting mail at roadside box — Defense verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 5, 2022

Type of action: Personal injury

Injuries alleged: Wrongful death

Name of case: William Chadduck, Administrator of the Estate of Ginger Chadduck, Deceased v. Tymir Brown

Court: Spotsylvania County Circuit Court

Case no.: CL18-2933

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Ricardo Rigual

Date resolved: 4/26/2022

Special damages: $354,166.66 in hospital bills and funeral expenses

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $0 (defense)

Attorneys for defendant (and city): James M. Snyder, Richmond


Description of case: On March 22, 2018, the decedent crossed the road and retrieved her mail from a roadside mailbox. With traffic approaching from each direction, she stepped behind and to the left of the mailbox. From decedent’s left, two vehicles were approaching, with Mr. Brown driving behind a dark sedan. After the lead vehicle passed decedent, she began to run parallel to the road. Mr. Brown, who had already slowed upon seeing decedent by the mailbox, hit his brakes, at which time decedent entered the paved surface, striking Mr. Brown’s vehicle just above the passenger’s side front wheel. The impact caused decedent to strike her head on the windshield and she was thrown off the paved surface. She was airlifted to the hospital with significant trauma and passed away approximately two weeks later.

Plaintiff sued Mr. Brown alleging he was traveling too fast and failed to keep a proper lookout. Mr. Brown, whose testimony was read to the jury, first saw decedent from approximately 300 feet away and slowed to about 35 mph and moved over toward the center of the roadway. When decedent began to run, Mr. Brown hit his brakes and left 60 feet of skid marks, starting 10 feet prior to the mailbox, and trending toward the double yellow line and away from the edge of the paved surface.

The investigating officers identified footprints in the grass they opined indicated decedent’s path of travel from behind the mailbox to the paved surface. Skid mark analysis indicated Mr. Brown was traveling between 30 and 35 miles per hour at the time of the first mark.

Plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert agreed with the speed analysis and, upon learning plaintiff conceded the impact occurred past the mailbox, also agreed the impact occurred on the paved surface.

Following the presentation of plaintiff’s evidence, Mr. Brown moved to strike the evidence and for entry of judgment in his favor based on the lack of evidence of primary negligence or the clear evidence of contributory negligence. After argument, the court sustained the motion, finding no reasonable juror could conclude Mr. Brown was negligent, and entered judgment in Mr. Brown’s favor.

Prior to trial, the parties had entered into a $30,000/$300,000 high/low to protect Mr. Brown from excess exposure.

James M. Snyder, defendant’s counsel, provided case information. [022-T-090]

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