A truck driver who fell asleep and was injured while driving along Interstate 59 in Alabama in 2015 was awarded $80 million by a Texas jury after suing his bosses for forcing him to falsify his logs and continue driving when he should have taken his 34-hour restart.
The Hidalgo County, Texas, jury fined three companies owned by Jorge Marin $25 million each for exemplary damages, as well as an additional $5 million for compensatory damages. The three companies are JNM Express, ANCA Transport, and Omega Freight Logistics.
The damages are to be awarded to trucker Lauro Lozano. According to court documents, on May 3, 2015, Lozano was at home after delivering a load and needed to take his 34-hour break. Several hours after being at home, he received a call from Marin, who told him to take another load brokered by Omega Freight.
Lozano said he told Marin he could not safely or legally take the load, but Marin told him to alter his logbook to make it look like he had taken his 34-hour break and to return to the yard in McAllen, Texas, the next morning to take the load to Maryland.
Court documents state that during the early morning of May 6, while driving north on I-59 in Alabama, Lozano fell asleep at the wheel and struck another tractor-trailer from behind. Lozano’s injuries included abdominal trauma, a crushed pelvis, crushed left foot, and broken ribs.
In the lawsuit Lozano claimed his being forced to change his logs and drive constituted “negligence and gross negligence” by Marin and his companies.
The lawsuit also says the three companies didn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, which opened them to the lawsuit over Lozano’s injuries.