Jesse James Gutierrez v. Jose Juan Betancourt and Wackenhut Corporation
Partner Jaime A. Saenz and former Partner Lecia L. Chaney defended Wackenhut and the individual defendant employee who had been operating a Wackenhut Corporation bus in the course and scope of employment when it was involved in an accident with Gutierrez’s vehicle on the International Bridge in Del Rio. Emergency personnel transported Plaintiff to the hospital where he complained of left shoulder pain. Three months later he was referred to a doctor by his attorney who diagnosed a ruptured L5-S1 disc. He had received a plasma disc replenishment procedure, discectomy and a laminectomy and fusion. He has not been able to return to his previous job and asked for an award of $1.5 million. Trial began on May 10, 2010, and concluded on May 13, 2010. The case was submitted as to the potential negligence of Plaintiff and Wackenhut, and the jury returned with a finding of negligence against Wackenhut and assessed damages at $1,253,959.00. The case was appealed, ultimately to the Texas Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case back to state court, concluding that the trial judge committed reversible error in submitting a spoliation instruction to the jury. The case settled for a confidential amount shortly before re-trial.