The plaintiff was a 71-year-old female who attended a funeral on December 27, 2014. After the funeral, employees of the funeral home allegedly directed the funeral procession to cross through a very busy intersection that was governed by traffic lights on Route 1 in Spotsylvania.
There was no law enforcement assistance on the scene (though the funeral home contended that law enforcement assistance had been requested), so employees of the funeral home stood in the middle of highway traffic on Route 1 and tried to get traffic to stop even though Route 1 traffic would, at times, be proceeding on a green light.
The employees allegedly carried small “STOP” signs but wore no reflective gear. A driver traveling southbound on Route 1 went through the intersection and broadsided the plaintiff, who had been directed by funeral home employees to proceed through a red light and into highway traffic.
The plaintiff sued for both compensatory and punitive damages. The funeral home alleged that the plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence. The funeral home also demurred to the general negligence claim.
Medical bills were about $194,000. Injuries included a severely fractured pelvis, sternum and femur, in addition to open wounds of both legs.
The case settled just after Judge Willis turned down the funeral home’s bid to throw out the punitive damages claim.
Interesting note: another very reputable law firm had turned this case down because of the fact that the plaintiff had entered the intersection on a red light.