Jury Verdict: $1,477,000
Case Name: Van Peng Lian, et. al. v. Natelco Corporation, et. al.
Court and Presiding Judge
Circuit Court for Frederick County, Maryland
The Honorable G. Edward Dwyer
Facts and Damages
On November 26th, 2011 at approximately 6 a.m., police, believing there to be a shooter at the New Market truck weigh station, stopped all lanes of traffic on Route 70 East. Campen & Manganaro’s four clients were all carpooling on their way to a plant where they worked packing produce. Seli Kai, who was killed in the accident, was sleeping in the backseat, along with Ms. Bawi Twe. Mr. Thang was driving his Toyota Corolla with his wife Ms. Thang sitting in the front passenger seat.
The car had come to a full stop for the police barricade, when abruptly and without warning it was rear-ended at very high speed by a Narelco van driven by Mr. Brett Lease. Ms. Kai was killed on impact, leaving behind a 5 year old son named Steven. Ms. Twe was jolted forward and covered in blood, trying to wake her friend Ms. Kai, to no avail. Ms. Twe was left with a permanent scar on her forehead, several fractured ribs, a fractured front sinus cavity, and numerous soft tissue injures. Mr. and Ms. Thang also suffered soft tissue damage.
The insurance company for Narelco claimed Mr. Lease was “cut off” by Mr. Thang, a preprosterous notion, since Mr. Thang was at a complete stop when the accident occurred. It offered less than $300,000 for the loss of a young mother and the numerous injuries the other passengers suffered, so Campen & Manganaro took them to Court. (Mr. Van Peng Lian, suing on behalf of his son Stephen Uk)
During the jury trial the insurance company paid an expert from North Carolina to say that Mr. Thang had been drifting, ever so slowly, into Mr. Lease’s lane. However, the Maryland State Police investigators and accident reconstructionists, who were not paid for their time or opinions, found this was clearly not the case, and testified on the Plaintiffs’ behalf. Additionally, Campen & Manganaro pulled cell phone records and found Mr. Lease was on his phone at the time of the accident, had stayed up late the night before on his phone, thus not getting adequate sleep, and impacted Mr. Thang’s vehicle essentially at full speed for traffic on Route 70.
Steven Uk, son of Ms. Seli Kai, who passed away, was awarded $1,000,000
Mother of Seli Kai was awarded $250,000
Ms. Bawi Twe was awarded $173,000
Mr. Thang and Ms. Thang were awarded $27,000
Pretrial Settlement Offers
The case was a trial with the use of interpreters as all of the Plaintiffs were Burmese and could not speak English.
This was the first case Mr. Campen & Ms. Manganaro tried together. The outcome made it possible for them to form Campen & Manganaro.