The state's share of a $4.2 million jury award granted to a 34-year-old man rendered a quadriplegic after a 1985 automobile accident has been drastically cut in 3rd District Court.
Judge Michael R. Murphy reduced the amount of the award from $1.5 million to $250,000.Daniel McCorvey filed suit after his car rolled on a desolate stretch of I-15 in Millard County, where LeGrand Construction Co. of Logan was chip-sealing the surface of the highway. The construction company was under state contract to repair the interstate when the accident occurred.
The judge reduced the verdict as provided by the Utah Governmental Immunity Act, which sets a statutory cap on recovery of damages. Despite contentions by McCorvey's attorneys that setting a limit on the state's liability was unconstitutional, Murphy ruled road maintenance is an essential function of government and a statutory cap is constitutional.
The jury decided that the construction company was 50 percent responsible for the accident, the state 28 percent, McCorvey 12 percent and the driver of a second car 12 percent.
McCorvey, whose neck was broken in the accident, has a journalism degree and worked as a helicopter pilot before the accident. His attorney said he will require as much as eight hours of care a day for the rest of his life and will have to modify his home to accommodate his condition.
Vaun Paul Page, a passenger in the McCorvey vehicle, was thrown from the car when it overturned. He suffered a broken back that left him a paraplegic. Page settled out of court for $50,000.