Leduc v. Oriental Building Services, Inc.

On August 2, 2009, Rene Leduc, an American Airlines baggage handler, was driving an electric tow tractor, or “tug,” at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. He had just dropped off a cart of luggage at an American Airlines gate and was returning to the bag room underneath the terminal between gates C28 and C29. As Mr. Leduc entered the bag room area, a pickup owned by Oriental Building Services and operated by one of its employees unexpectedly pulled out from his right. Mr. Leduc swerved to miss the pickup truck and hit a parked luggage cart, resulting in a severe fracture to Mr. Leduc’s left leg, which required multiple surgeries. Slack Davis Sanger attorneys Mike Davis and Paula Sweeney represented Mr. Leduc in his lawsuit against the owner of the pickup.

The case went to trial in the 298th Judicial District Court in Dallas County, Texas. Dallas County District Judge Emily Tobolowsky presided over the case. The defendant, Oriental Building Services, Inc., alleged that Mr. Leduc was at fault for driving into the luggage cart. In a pretrial hearing, the judge limited the testimony of consultant James R. Funk, who was hired by the defense. She excluded his accident reconstruction opinions, finding them unreliable.

On Thursday, July 26, 2012, a jury unanimously concluded that negligence by an Oriental Building Services, Inc. employee was solely responsible for injuries sustained by Rene Leduc. The amount of the verdict was $3,700,942.72.

After the trial, Slack Davis Sanger attorney Mike Davis commented, “This verdict was a strong statement by the jury in favor of workplace safety. This decision confirms that established ‘rules of the road’ and safety most definitely translate to airport service areas. The jury saw through the defendant’s attempt to shirk responsibility for its actions.”

Attorney Paula Sweeney summed it up this way: “This case shows the power of a jury of 12 citizens to redress a horrible wrong. They awarded a verdict that will provide security for Mr. Leduc when his injuries eventually force him out of the work force.”