Claxton et al v. Singh et al
MEMORANDUM re. damages (Order to follow as separate docket entry)Signed by Honorable William W. Caldwell on 01/06/14. (ma)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
KAMILAH CLAXTON, et al.,
SUKHWINDER SINGH, and
SUKHCHAN SINGH, individually, and
d/b/a PVR Transport,
: CIVIL NO. 1:11-CV-714
On January 6, 2014, the court conducted a non-jury assessment of
damages trial. The Plaintiff’s decedent, Eric Claxton, was severely injured and died on
November 13, 2009. Mr. Claxton was driving a tractor-trailer that was involved in an
accident with Sukhwinder Singh. Mr. Claxton suffered severe burn injuries in the fire that
resulted from the accident, which was caused by the negligent driving of Defendant
Sukhwinder Singh. Mr. Singh’s negligence is imputed to his employer, Sukhchan Singh,
d/b/a PVR Transport.
Mr. Claxton, who died at age 36, supported a wife and four children. Mr.
Claxton suffered immediate severe burns over his entire body. The accident occurred at
approximately 3:10a.m. From this time, until he was pronounced dead at 4:57a.m., Mr.
Claxton suffered severe conscious pain and suffering. His estate administration costs
were $1,290.50. In 2009 he earned $49,214.00, and based on his earning record would
have continued to earn income in the future.
Mr. Sukhchan Singh, the employer, is liable on the basis of respondeat
superior, but was also grossly negligent in failing to maintain his vehicle in compliance
with state and federal law, particularly with regard to having required safety inspections
and correcting defects in its braking equipment. He was also grossly negligent in
entrusting his vehicle to Sukhwinder Singh, an inexperienced truck driver who had failed
the written test and driving test multiple times before finally earning his commercial
driving license. Singh was not made familiar with communication equipment in the truck,
which might have helped in avoiding the accident, and in summoning help following the
Considering the exhibits introduced at trial, and the presentation of
Plaintiff’s counsel, we conclude that compensatory damages are payable by both
defendants, and that Sukhchan Singh is liable for punitive damages.
We will issue an appropriate verdict.
s/William W. Caldwell
William W. Caldwell
United States District Judge
Date: January 6, 2014
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