February 25, 2014
On February 7, 2014, a Circuit Court, Shelby County, Tennessee (Memphis) jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and his wife for a total of $2.8 Million, but absolved Lexus of Memphis of any wrongdoing. On May 13, 2008, co-defendant Kreston Smith was operating a loaner vehicle, which he obtained from Lexus of Memphis, when, on Highway 240, the front of his vehicle impacted the rear driver's side of plaintiff's Toyota 4-Runner. The impact caused plaintiff to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in multiple rollovers and the ejection of the unbelted plaintiff. Plaintiff was found 75 feet down the road from his vehicle and sustained a subdural hematoma requiring a craniotomy, blindness in his right eye, and bilateral femur fractures requiring hardware.
As to Lexus of Memphis, liability rested upon whether Kreston Smith was an agent, servant or employee of the dealership at the time of the accident, or whether he was test-driving the vehicle. During the week-long trial, Kreston Smith testified that, although he came to the dealership to service his personal vehicle and use a loaner car, he informed several Lexus of Memphis employees that he intended to test-drive the Sport Utility loaner because he was comparing it to his wife's Honda Odyssey. The jury found Kreston Smith to be incredible, and rejected his testimony in full. They found that Kreston Smtih was 100% at fault for the accident, and that Lexus of Memphis was not liable.