On June 29, 2007, a South Carolina jury awarded $336,000 to a prisoner who was seriously injured during a rollover accident that resulted in severe, permanent injury.
On November 10, 2003, Cheryl Boles was being transported by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (DOC) from Columbia to Greenville, South Carolina. During transport, the driver, Debra Jones, lost control of the van after the left rear tire failed. The van rolled two or three times during the accident. Boles was seriously injured, suffering permanent impairment to her cervical spine.
Boles filed suit after the accident claiming negligence on the part of the DOC in maintaining the van. According to Boles's complaint, the DOC “failed to maintain the tire at the recommended pressure over an extended period of time, which caused the tire to decompose and deflate.” Boles also alleged that the DOC failed to adequately train Jones.
At the trial in the case, the plaintiff's expert testified that the tire failed because of improper maintenance. Specifically, the tire was driven under-inflated over an extended period of time, which caused it to heat up, thus weakening it. The tire was also not regularly inspected. The defendant claimed the tire failed due to poor manufacturing.
The jury found for the plaintiff. Boles's case was helped by testimony from a South Carolina trooper who also concluded that the tire failed because of improper maintenance. In addition, Boles had made significant strides toward leading a crime-free lifestyle upon release.
The jury's award of $336,000 was reduced to $300,000 because of a South Carolina law that caps damages at $300,000 in tort claim cases. The plaintiff was represented by Douglas Churdar of Greenville, South Carolina. See: Boles v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, No. 2004-CP-40-3655 (Ct. of Common Pleas -- 5th Judicial Dist.).
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Related legal case
Boles v. South Carolina Department of Corrections
|Cite||No. 2004-CP-40-3655 (Ct. of Common Pleas -- 5th Judicial Dist.)|
|Level||State Trial Court|