Broward Lawyer Clinches $3M Settlement Despite a Hold on Civil Trials

After client Sharon Frost was rushed to the emergency room and eventually required surgery, Coffey McPharlin managing partner Samuel A. Coffey knew he could show the extent of the former U.S. Postal service carrier’s injuries to secure the best litigation outcome for her.

Then the Fort Lauderdale also lawyer worked to prove the defendants’ negligence—a strategy that yielded a $3 million settlement.

Coffey said the largest obstacle in a spinal cord injury case is helping victims put their life back together and adjust to their new reality.

“Sharon Frost was an active, able-bodied person who enjoyed working at the US post office, as well as around her home and on several rental properties that she owned.” Coffey said.

Another tragedy had also struck his client: her husband died within 30 days of her accident.

“Her primary support was taken away from her at the time when she lost her health,” Coffey said. “She also sustained a mild traumatic brain injury that has left her confused at times and unable to deal with day-to-day tasks that she would normally perform. Fortunately, she has two adult daughters who are there for her, but this adjustment in her lifestyle has been life-altering.”

‘Bombshell in my mind’

Coffey believes the key piece of evidence in this case came from defendants Powertown Line Construction LLC and the GPS foreman Don Townsend used.

“The GPS data showing 11,000 pings in the 90 days before the accident for speeding of Mr. Townsend’s truck was a bombshell in my mind.” Coffey said, “The company did nothing to curb this behavior of this driver which  means they condone him speeding.”

Due to the pandemic the case was settled prematurely. Plaintiffs counsel wouldn’t have been able to get a case trial until 2022, so they said they strategically put pressure on the insurance company.

“There were three insurance policies: $1 million, $5 million and another $5 million,” Coffey said. “They took one million dollars down against the driver only to release him in the case. … Now Frost has money in her pocket to make sure her medical bills are paid, since the bills are expensive.”

Representing the defendants are Jacksonville attorneys John Vigiani of Conroy Simberg, Cole Scott & Kissane lawyers Sami Achem and Ryan Williams, and James P. Hanratty of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin.

The attorneys did not immediately to respond to requests for comment.

Lake City Circuit Judge Paul Bryan presided over the case.

Sharon Frost who was a U.S. Postal Service carrier was rear ended on June 28, 2019 by Powertown foreman Don Townsend.

Plaintiff Frost sued defendants Powertown Line Construction and Townsend for personal injuries from a rear-ended car wreck.

On June 28, 2019, the crash transpired when Frost was stopped on the side of the road delivering mail. The complaint alleged that Townsend was speeding when he ran a pickup truck into Frost’s mail truck, causing a vehicle to flip.

The incident left Frost with a broken spine, which continues to cause significant pain, the complaint said. The plaintiff also had a concussion resulting in continuous mental anguish, the complaint added. These and other injuries have caused Frost to become permanently disabled, and to seek medical treatment for the remainder of her life, the pleading said.

‘Be tenacious’

The plaintiff’s filings alleged that discovery showed that Powertown knew of Townsend’s alleged pattern of speeding and endorsed it. It also argued that instead of preserving the evidence, Powertown allegedly destroyed and made unavailable data from the crash vehicle’s black box that was in its possession.

Between July 2, 2019, and Oct. 9, 2019, the company repaired the vehicle shortly after the incident, the plaintiff argued.

“I’ll take a case like Sharon’s to court every day of the week,” Coffey said. “I can’t guarantee a win, but I can promise I will fight like heck for her. I believe if you push the issues, fight for your client and believe in your client’s case, then you can win. Be tenacious.”

Case: Sharon Frost v.  Powertown Line Construction, LLC which is a Florida limited liability company and Don Townsend

Case No.: 2019-CA-00374

Description: Insurance Litigation 

Filing date: Oct 2, 2019

Verdict date: June 15, 2021

Judge: Lake City Circuit Judge Paul Bryan

Plaintiffs attorneys: Samuel A. Coffey

Defense attorneys: John Vigianni , Sami Achem, Ryan Williams, James P. Hanratty

Verdict amount: $3 million