Gentry Locke personal injury team earns $2.1M settlement in death cases
ROANOKE, Va. (April 2, 2019) – Gentry Locke attorneys Gregory D. Habeeb, Andrew D. Finnicum, and Travis J. Graham recently obtained a $2.1 million settlement in a commercial vehicle crash that took the lives of two siblings in Scott County, Virginia.
Gentry Locke represented the estates of Regina Spivey, 39, and Doug Clark, 47. The victims were killed instantly in a March 2017 crash involving their vehicle and a Kingsport Heating and Air Conditioning van driven by Robert S. Taylor, who entered an Alford plea to two counts of DUI involuntary manslaughter last summer. Kingsport Heating and Air Conditioning, a Tennessee-based HVAC company, had required Taylor to keep the company vehicle at his Virginia home and use it for his work duties in Virginia. The van was registered in Tennessee and insured by State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance Company.
After Gentry Locke argued that Virginia’s omnibus insurance statute should apply to the case, Scott County Circuit Judge John C. Kilgore agreed, ruling that Virginia law applied to the Tennessee-registered van because the van was principally garaged and used in Virginia at the time of the fatal crash. State Auto unsuccessfully argued that Tennessee law should apply, which the insurer hoped would prevent the estates from obtaining any recovery because Taylor may have been intoxicated at the time of the crash.
“The difference between Virginia and Tennessee law was crucial in this case,” said Habeeb. “We obtained the global settlement just 24 hours after the first offer from the defendants. The settlement amount is significant for Scott County litigation, and while it won’t remedy the tragic loss of Regina and Doug, we are proud to have played in role in helping to achieve justice on their behalf.”
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