Robert P. Schuster represented the families of Tony and Deaun Smith who were killed in a totally preventable truck collision in Fremont County, Wyoming. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were stopped on a highway in their PT Cruiser—having been flagged down at a highway construction project. An Encana Oil & Gas (USA) truck collided into the rear of their car. The truck weighed more than 16,000 pounds, was speeding at 67 miles per hour, and did not stop or even brake prior to the point of impact. The explosive forces unleashed by the collision exceeded 2,460,000 foot pounds of energy—a massive and needless tragedy.
The Encana driver had a degenerative eye disease of which the company was aware for more than four years prior to the collision. The disease—Stargardt’s Disease—causes blindness in the central vision field, expanding outward and resulting in ultimate blindness. The same employee had been involved with seven prior crashes (including collisions with a wild horse, a calf, a deer, an antelope, and another heavy duty service truck), been convicted to two speeding charges, received a warning charge for speeding, and had a medical certificate that had been expired for more than a year. Yet Encana Oil & Gas (USA) permitted him to drive the service truck in spite of those blatant red flags.
The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming and was settled for a confidential amount prior to trial. The settlements represented the largest wrongful death case settlements in Wyoming’s history.