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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

$2.75 million in punitive damages awarded in lawsuit

June 5, 2003

A federal jury on Wednesday awarded an additional $2.75 million in punitive damages to the family of a Pittston woman killed in a collision with a tractor trailer, bringing the total award to $8.46 million.

Colleen Shea, 28, of Renfer Street, was killed on Oct. 19, 2001, when Jerry R. Slyter of Wolcott, N.Y., lost control of his rig after blowing a tire and crossed a median, hitting Shea's 1999 Mitsubishi head on in the southbound lane of Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County.

A jury in the U.S. District Court last week found Slyter was negligent and awarded Shea's family $5.7 million in compensatory damages against Slyter and three trucking firms. The panel also found the trucking firms acted with reckless indifference, which allowed Shea's family to seek punitive damages.

The defendants' attorneys argued the blowout was a sudden emergency from which Slyter could not recover. Shea's attorney, Joseph Quinn, argued Slyter was fatigued, and drove more than the 70 hours per week allowed under federal law.

"It was outrageous neglect," Quinn said. 'He came roaring out of the median and into her lane of travel."

Quinn also filed a motion Thursday seeking $118,405 in interest in addition to the compensatory and punitive damages. A judge will rule on that motion at later date.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, PC is led by Attorney Joseph Quinn, one of the Top 100 trial lawyers in the nation. Seventeen lawyers strong, HKQ Law represents Personal Injury, Business Law and Personal Law clients in Lackawanna, Luzerne and surrounding northeastern PA counties for more than half a century. HKQ Law has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history, totaling over a half billion dollars on behalf of injured clients, and was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania, 2015.

The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Reports, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. Additional information can be found at or by calling (800) 760-1529.



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