A Cook County jury awarded more than $4.76 million to the estate of a man who died as a result of an automobile crash on Interstate 80.
Walter Blockmon III, 50, was killed in the collision after being rear-ended by Jakobi McClellan, 18. McClellan told officers at the scene that he was running late for a sales appointment and looking at the GPS on his phone. He took his eyes from the road for a number of seconds, leading to the deadly collision. The Illinois State Trooper that performed the crash reconstruction estimated that McClellan was driving between 67 and 80 miles per hour at the time of the rear-end collision and did not apply his brakes.
The Blockmon family filed claims against the driver, Cutco Corporation, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Vector Marketing Corporation. They claimed that the two companies failed to provide appropriate training to its sales representatives about using cellular devices while driving and that McClellan was acting as an agent of the companies at the time of the crash.
Walter Blockmon left behind two adult children, ages 24 and 32, at the time of his death.
The jury took about 2 ½ hours to reach its decision. They awarded the children $2,000,000 for loss of society, $2,750,000 for grief, sorrow and mental suffering, and $18,351.47 for medical and funeral expenses.
The case is Lanisha Blockmon, Special Administrator of the Estate of Walter Blockmon, III v. Cutco Corporation, et al. 14 L 8538.
The family was represented by Robert J. Napleton and Brion W. Doherty of Motherway & Napleton, LLP.