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Truck owner settles suit over crash victim’s suicide

The widow and children of a man who killed himself more than two years after sustaining multiple but not life-threatening injuries in an Elkton truck collision have settled a wrongful-death claim against the company that owned the other vehicle.

The settlement came less than four months after U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander, who sits in Baltimore, permitted the claim by Joseph R. Young’s family to proceed after rejecting Industrial Transport Services LLC’s argument that a car collision cannot be the proximate cause of a suicide.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed by agreement of the parties.

Hollander, in denying the company’s bid for summary judgment on May 30, cited pre-trial testimony by Young’s psychologist, Janet Anderson. She said Young “had an irresistible impulse when he experienced a psychotic break with reality, which in turn caused his suicide, all as a direct result of the injuries he sustained from the accident of June 16, 2010.”

The company’s attorney, Jeffrey R. DeCaro, said Hollander’s decision preserving the wrongful-death claim spurred the settlement.

“It was something we had to think about,” said DeCaro, of DeCaro, Doran, Siciliano, Gallagher & DeBlasis LLP in Bowie.

However, he added he is confident — but not certain — the company could have presented evidence and testimony sufficient to convince a jury that the vehicle crash did not cause Young’s suicide.

The family’s attorney, Daniel J. Earnshaw, did not return telephone messages seeking comment. Earnshaw is an Edgewood solo practitioner.

Young, who was driving a Dodge Ram the night of the accident, was stopped at a traffic light on Westbound Pulaski Highway at Whitehall Road. At 9:37 p.m., a speeding 18-wheel tractor trailer struck his vehicle from behind, according to the lawsuit.

Paramedics rushed Young to Christiana hospital in Elkton, where he was treated for a head injury, a deformed left elbow and chest pain.

Young, unable to return to work, was fired from his carpentry job in December 2010. He underwent extensive surgery on his elbow and spine in February 2011 and October 2011, respectively.

In May 2012, Young met with Anderson, who counsels people in depression.

Young killed himself with alcohol and pills on Sept. 6, 2012. In a suicide note, he called himself a “loser,” according to court documents. He was 45.

On Nov. 15, 2012, his widow, Jamie Young, filed a $2 million suit against Industrial Transport in Cecil County Circuit Court on behalf of herself, her daughters and her late husband’s estate.

The company successfully moved on Dec. 14, 2012, to have the case transferred to the U.S. District Court in Baltimore based on diversity of citizenship with the family and an amount in controversy exceeding $75,000.

Hollander issued the settlement order Thursday.

The case is Young v. Industrial Transport Services LLC, No. 1:12-cv-03657-ELH.

DeCaro, Doran, Siciliano, Gallagher & DeBlasis LLP

YOUNG V. INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORT SERVICES LLC

Court:

U.S. District Court, Baltimore

Case No.:

1:12-cv-03657-ELH

Judge:

Ellen L. Hollander

Outcome:

Confidential Settlement

Dates:

Incident: Sept. 6, 2012

Suit filed: Nov. 15, 2012 (Cecil County Circuit Court)

Removed to federal court: Dec. 14, 2012

Settlement order: Sept. 11, 2014

Plaintiffs’ Attorney:

Daniel J. Earnshaw of Law Offices of Daniel J. Earnshaw LLC in Edgewood

Defendant’s Attorney:

Jeffrey R. DeCaro of DeCaro, Doran, Siciliano, Gallagher & DeBlasis LLP in Bowie.

Count:

Wrongful death