Over $1 Billion in verdicts and recoveries
Handling Catastrophic Cases
Nationwide Since 1984
Call Us Toll-Free 1-800-474-1339
KANSAS CITY 816-474-8080
The Kansas City Star - October 4, 2000

Award Tops $1 Million in Postal Truck Crash

Mark Morris
The Kansas City Star
10/04/2000

A federal judge Tuesday awarded more than $ 1 million to the survivors of a postal – truck accident that killed a 3-year-old West Side girl.

The order from U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner culminated a two-year legal struggle that began April 21, 1998, when a postal truck slammed into the building in which Andrea Nicole Salazar was sleeping.

In the case, US Postal Service officials acknowledged liability because the driver, who jumped from the vehicle before the crash, had been negligent in his operation of the truck.

Lawyers representing Andrea’s family and the Postal Service argued over damages in a three-day bench trial before Fenner in late September.

The government does not foresee appealing Fenner’s order, said Chris Whitley, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, which represented the Postal Service.

Lawyer Anita Porte Robb, who represented Andrea’s family, said the Postal Service’s admission of responsibility was an important factor in the case.

“It’s pretty tragic,” Robb said. “These were the kinds of folks they had driving the postal vehicles. It’s pretty frightening.”

In December 1998 after a four day trial, a Jackson County jury acquitted the driver, Sinclair L. Taylor, of careless driving.

In his two-page order, Fenner did not explain how he arrived at his final damage figures. He did however, award:

$850,00 to Andrea’s parents for her death;

$50,000 to her mother, Jenny Salazar, for emotional distress;

$25,000 to the family for injuries suffered by Andrea’s brother, Dario Salazar, who was 2 years old at the time of the accident; and

$100,000 to Jesus Manuel Valles, her father, for physical injuries and emotional distress.

Whitley noted that government lawyers suggested damages of $650,000 at the end of the case in September. The plaintiffs had asked for $5.75 million.

In filing the federal wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit in April 1999, Robb said the Postal Service initially had denied an administrative claim for damages from the parents. The lawsuit, she said, was to establish whether driver training, poor maintenance or improper loading contributed to the accident.

The original lawsuit also named the owner of the apartment building, Richard G. Keller, as a defendant, saying he knew the building had been hit by runaway vehicles before and should have taken reasonable steps to protect the building.

The building at 615 W. 20th St. sat at the bottom of the exit ramp off Interstate 35. It was demolished after the accident.

Fenner, however, dismissed Keller from the case, ruling in July that there was no evidence Keller knew or should have known of the building’s vulnerability to runaway vehicles.

The two highest jury verdicts in the United States in helicoptor crash trials

The two largest pre-trial aviation settlements in U.S. History for a single injury in a helicopter crash

#

Robb & Robb Named as Cover "Super Lawyers" for 2007

The Bulldog & The Ballerina

LEARN MORE
#

The Golden Couple

How Two Former Defense Lawyers Became One of the Most Successful Plaintiffs’ Duos in the Country

LEARN MORE
#

Record $82M Recovery In Helicopter Crash Cases

Highest Amount Ever Collected in Death Suits

LEARN MORE
#

Litigator v. Helicopter

Attorney Gary Robb is by far the most successful helicopter-crash trial lawyer in the country.

LEARN MORE
#

Lawyer Becomes "Go-to-Guy" After Helicopter Crashes

The family of a Louisiana man killed in a helicopter crash.

LEARN MORE
justice-img

Fight for the Justice You Deserve

We pride ourselves on being available when you need us. If you need to speak with us at any time, please do not hesitate to call or email us for assistance.

office-address-icon

CONTACT US TODAY

Call for a free consultation

Phone: 816-474-8080

Toll-Free: 1-800-474-1339

office-address-icon

OUR OFFICE

One Kansas City Place
Suite 3900
1200 Main Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105