MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT: $3 Million Settlement
Case name: Brian and Jennifer Collicott, et al. v. Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., et al.
Case number: 05-CV-450
County: Chippewa County Circuit Court
Judge: Hon. Frederick A. Henderson
Settlement amount: $3 million
Special damages: $2.2 million to Brian Collicott for his injuries and $750,000 to Jennifer Collicott for loss of consortium.
What each defendant paid: The settlement preserves Whole Foods right to seek contribution from Chippewa Trails.
Date of accident: Oct. 16, 2005
Place: I-94 Westbound by Osseo
Plaintiff counsel’s summary of the case: This lawsuit arises from a collision on I-94 Westbound when a semi-tractor-trailer combination unit owned by Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., and operated by its employee, Michael J. Kozlowski, went off the shoulder of the interstate and then overturned when Kozlowski attempted to pull back on the roadway. The semi blocked both westbound lanes of I-94 and both shoulders of the roadway. Soon after the semi rolled, a Chippewa Trails tour bus owned by Chippewa Trails and operated by its employee, Paul Rasmus, collided with the underside of the overturned semi. The tour bus was transporting Chippewa Falls High School students, teachers and chaperones from a band competition in Whitewater back to Chippewa Falls. Five people were killed, and many others were injured. Brian Collicott was one of the most severely injured of the surviving passengers.
Plaintiffs contended Kozlowski was negligent in the operation of the semi. Whole Foods admitted his negligence but contended that Chippewa Trails and its employee, Rasmus, were also negligent because of Chippewa Trails’ failure to maintain the bus brakes in proper working order and for Rasmus’ failure to see the semi in time to avoid the accident.
Injuries: Brian Collicott suffered multiple injuries in the accident a left femur fracture, a left tib/fib dislocation fracture, a fracture of his first rib, a sterna l fracture, thoracic spine fractures at T-5 and T-6 and severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He underwent multiple surgeries, including an open reduction of left ankle fracture dislocation with application of external fixator; an overwrap of short leg Robert Jones dressing to a longer Robert Jones dressing left distal femur fracture; an open reduction of distal femur fracture with application of internal fixator; an open reduction of distal tibial pylon fracture with application of internal fixator; splint removal wound evaluation, suture removal and application of a short leg cast left distal femur fracture and left ankle fracture; and, removal of deep hardware from his left leg femur. He and his wife also received individual and couple’s counseling.
Medical specials: $256,215.65 in medical expenses.
Wage loss and loss of earning capacity: $67,807.19 in loss of past wages and temporary total disability and permanent partial disability along with a claim for loss of earning capacity based on the amount of pay he would have earned as an Assistant High School Band Director as a Middle School Band Director.