On Monday, the Barren Circuit Court awarded a total of $22,000,000 in damages to the victims of a highway catastrophe that occurred on October 8, 2012 in Barren County when a retaining wall that was under construction collapsed. The award includes $10,000,000 in punitive damages for gross negligence.
The victims filed suit against several Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employees who were in charge of safety oversight on the project. The Court found that the various KTC employees failed to enforce the applicable safety standards and that the failure caused the retaining wall to roll over. Because the defendants failed to enforce any of the safety standards and make certain that the contractors had competent personnel on site to supervise the construction of the wall, the Court found gross negligence and ordered that $10,000,000 in punitive damages be paid to deter similar misconduct in the future.
Kenneth Decker died when the wall rolled over and threw him into a crane. His estate was awarded $437,587.00. His widow, Velma Decker, was awarded $2,000,000.00 for her loss of the society and affection of her husband.
John McIntosh, a worker who was on top of the wall when it rolled over was awarded $1,684,234.92.
Jamie Groce, who was also on top of the wall was awarded $4,730,084.98.
Steve Nelson was also injured in the incident and was awarded $2,731,823.00. His wife, Linda Nelson, was awarded $1,000,000.00 for the loss of society and affection of Steve Nelson.
A copy of the Court’s ruling can be read here. This ruling was signed by the Honorable John T. Alexander, Circuit Court Judge on December 8, 2023.
Attorneys Mike Breen and William Williford of Breen & Williford, Injury Lawyers represented the plaintiffs in this matter.