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$24 million verdict in a personal injury case

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$24 million verdict in a personal injury case

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$24 million verdict, car crash, punitive damages against Coca ColaA Corpus Christi jury awarded $24 million ­to a woman struck in 2010 by a Coca-Cola driver who was using a cellphone. Vanice Chatman-­Wilson, 37, was awarded $10 million in punitive damages and $14 million in actual damages. Chatman-Wilson was left with severe pain in her neck, lower back, upper back and in February 2011 she had lumbar surgery, said Thomas J. Henry, one of her attorneys. Bob Hilliard, Chatman-Wilson’s other attorney, said Coca-Cola had no enforcement of a cellphone policy.

“Not only does Coke need to change it, but when other companies hear the verdict they will take a look at their policies,” he said. Coca-Cola’s cellphone policy requires the use of a hands-free device when operating a vehicle, according to a statement released by the company. The company said there is no connection between Chatman-­Wilson’s injuries and the damages awarded, according to the statement.

Henry said the ­company allowed its ­employees to use a ­cellphone for ­business whenever ­necessary, but failed to ­inform them about the risks ­associated with talking on a ­cellphone while driving.

Araceli Vanessa ­Cabral, 30, the driver of the truck, testified that if she knew about the risks she ­never would have used a ­cellphone while driving, Henry said. The attorneys said the $10 million in punitive damages was the jury’s way of telling Coca-Cola Enterprises that it needs to change its cellphone policy. “We really need better rules, regulations and laws,” Henry said, “and corporations need to have a no-cellphone policy while operating a vehicle.”

Coca-Cola said it plans to appeal, according to the statement.

Source: http://www.kiiitv.com/story/18151063/multi-million-dollar-verdict-against-coca-cola

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