HINDMAN – in what may be a precedent-setting action by a Kentucky
court, Knott Circuit Judge, Kimberly Childers, entered judgments against
Murriell-Don Coal, Inc., a Floyd County company, totaling $41 million
following complaints filed against Tony Amburgey and the company in the
wake of a car crash on Kentucky Route 1393 in Knott County which occurred
on October 30, 2008.
Amburgey, the complaint alleged, had just left the employ of Murriell-Don Coal and that he had worked for a long period of time for the company without rest and that his “exhaustion” caused him “to fall asleep at the wheel” which caused a “horrible collision which resulted with all parties being airlifted to out of state hospitals.” The employer, it was alleged, “did not take proactive measures to reduce fatigue in its employees, including Amburgey.” According to the police accident report, Amburgey later stated that he fell asleep and crossed into the line of travel of the vehicle in which Jent was a passenger.
On March 30, Judge Kimberly Childers entered a judgment for Roberta Jent
against Murriell-Don Coal, Inc. in the amount of $27 million “together
with interest thereon at 12 percent, plus costs.”
“Roberta Jent, fortunately, survived this horrible crash,” John Kirk said, “but her life as she knew it is gone. The little dab of insurance on the car that crashed into her was not adequate for her lifetime medical expenses and other needs,” he added.
Following the filing of Jent’s complaint, an “intervening complaint”
was filed for Albert Hudson, driver of the car in which Jent was a passenger.
The Hudson complaint, filed by Jarrod Bentley of Rowe Law Offices alleged
facts similar to those set out in Jent’s complaint.
The judgments were entered following court appearances and oral arguments by Jent’s and Hudson’s lawyers before Judge Childers. At press time, no appeals had been filed.