City of Gilmer to pay $1 million settlement after officer-involved wreck

Updated: Sep. 15, 2017 at 2:54 PM CDT
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GILMER, TX (KLTV) - Brent Goudarzi and Marty Young of the law firm of Goudarzi & Young, LLP Representing Plaintiffs:

On Thursday, September 14, 2017, a panel of twelve Upshur County jurors returned a unanimous verdict of $1,008,000.00 in favor of Plaintiffs Odis Gray, Jr. and Terry Thomas. Mr. Gray and Mr. Thomas were injured in an automobile collision in September 2014 when an on-duty police officer in Gilmer, Texas failed to yield the right-of-way at the intersection of US 271 and SH 154 and struck Plaintiffs' vehicle. Both Plaintiffs sustained significant injuries as a result of the collision, as well as aggravation of pre-existing injuries.

Plaintiffs—represented by Brent Goudarzi and Marty Young of the law firm of Goudarzi & Young, LLP—brought suit against the City of Gilmer—represented by Boon, Calk, Echols, Coleman & Goolsby, PLLC—in the 115th District Court in Upshur County. After an extensive and exhaustive discovery period, trial began on September 11, 2017, despite Plaintiffs' repeated efforts to settle the case in the months, weeks and days leading up to the trial and despite the City of Gilmer's attorney's, Mike Martin's, recommendation that it do so. After three days of testimony and after securing a ruling from the Honorable William Porter that the City of Gilmer was not entitled to governmental immunity, the case was handed to the jury. Less than two hours later, the jury returned their unanimous verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs.

According to lead Plaintiffs' attorney, Brent Goudarzi:

It was unfortunate, in a sense, that this case had to be tried. The City of Gilmer was given every opportunity to resolve this matter without the necessity of wasting taxpayers' time and resources. However, the attorneys hired by the City of Gilmer's insurance carrier refused to settle the case. In the end, the jury sent a strong message that the citizens of Upshur County will not tolerate governmental misconduct or negligence.

This is the fifth trial in a row where Mr. Goudarzi has obtained a verdict in excess of $1,000,000.00 on behalf of his clients. Brent Goudarzi and Marty Young have committed to donating a portion of their attorneys' fees to the City of Gilmer to be used for further training of patrol officers in the City of Gilmer so that accidents like this never happen again.

The City of Gilmer was represented by attorneys Darren Coleman and Bradley Echols.

Related: Gilmer police ID officer involved in wreck