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Carolinas Verdicts

Find out about the most important recent North and South Carolina cases, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Coverage includes Gaston, Mecklenburg and Wake counties in North Carolina and Charleston, Horry and Richland in South Carolina.

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Intoxicated driver caused fatal motorcycle crash: plaintiff

Amount:

$7,750,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

South Carolina

Venue:

Charleston County

Court:

Charleston County, Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

other-death; other-loss of society; other-loss of consortium

Case Type:

Motor Vehicle - Motorcycle, Rear-ender, Hit and Run; Hotel/Restaurant - Dram Shop; Motor Vehicle - Multiple Vehicle; Wrongful Death - Survival Damages; Motor Vehicle - Alcohol Involvement

Case Name:

Diana McKissick, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Francis Frederick Scrio, Deceased v. Brian Todd Jarrell, Individually and as employee/agent of Jarrell Enterprises, Co. d/b/a Title Boxing Club, Ricky Lee Jarrell, Individually and as owner/agent of Jarrell Enterprises, Co. d/b/a Title Boxing Club, Club Bliss, John Does I-X, Individually and as employees/agents of Company Doe, Jarrell Enterprises, Co. and Company Doe., No. 2015CP1002514

Date:

September 20, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Diana McKissick (Female, 56 Years), 

Estate of Frances Frederick Scrio (Male, 57 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Samuel K. Allen; Clore Law Group; Charleston, SC, for Diana McKissick, Estate of Frances Frederick Scrio ■ Eric S. Brock; Clore Law Group; Charleston, SC, for Diana McKissick, Estate of Frances Frederick Scrio

Defendant(s):

John Does I-X, 

Polo Champ, LLC, 

Ricky Lee Jarrell, 

Brian Todd Jarrell, 

Jarrell Enterprises

Defense Attorney(s):

Edward R. Cole; Turner Padget Graham & Laney, PA; Myrtle Beach, SC, for Ricky Lee Jarrell ■ None reported; for John Does I-X ■ Curtis W. Dowling; Barnes, Alford, Stork & Johnson, LLP; Columbia, SC, for Jarrell Enterprises ■ Christina Rae Farnoli; Clawson Staubes; Charleston, SC, for Brian Todd Jarrell ■ Jonathan G. Roquemore; Hedrick, Gardner, Kincheloe & Garofalo, LLP; Columbia, SC, for Polo Champ, LLC

Facts:

On March 5, 2015, plaintiff's decedent, Francis Frederick Scrio, 57, an aviation mechanic, was riding his motorcycle home from work at approximately 2 a.m. He was traveling on South Carolina Highway 78 at College Park Road in Charleston County when a Chevrolet SUV traveling at approximately 89 mph overcame Scrio's motorcycle and struck it in the rear. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene. Scrio was wearing a helmet, but suffered massive internal injuries and died four days later on March 9, 2015. Diana McKissick, decedent's spouse, filed suit individually on behalf of the estate, against Brian Todd Jarrell, who was believed to have been the driver of the vehicle that hit Scrio's motorcycle. Brian Jarrell was sued individually and as an employee/agent of Jarrell Enterprises d/b/a Title Boxing Club. McKissick also sued Ricky Lee Jarrell individually and as an employee agent of Club Bliss. Brian Todd Jarrell was the general manager of Title Boxing Club, which was owned by Jarrell Enterprises. The suit was later amended to add Polo Champ, LLC d/b/a Club Bliss as a defendant. McKissick had alleged dram shop violations against Polo Champ, LLC d/b/a Club Bliss and Jarrell Enterprises. Polo Champ, LLC d/b/a Club Bliss and Jarrell Enterprises settled with McKissick for policy limits of $1 million each. Brian Jarrell was the only remaining defendant at trial. McKissick alleged that, at the time of the accident, highway patrol officers were performing a driver's license checkpoint on Highway 78 at East Owens Drive. According to the lawsuit, a vehicle driven by Brian Jarrell came skidding to a stop at the checkpoint, nearly hitting a small car. A trooper stated that the left rear tire of Jarrell's SUV was blown out, the air bag was deployed and there was red paint on the damaged bumper. McKissick claimed that, when Jarrell exited his vehicle, he was unsteady and confused and smelled of alcohol. Troopers were allegedly advised that Charleston County deputies were searching for a Chevrolet SUV in connection with a hit and run that occurred roughly four miles from the checkpoint. Jarrell reportedly refused a breathalyzer test at the jail. He was transported to a local hospital for a blood test, where he was allegedly found to be impaired by alcohol. McKissick alleged that Jarrell was driving while intoxicated and was grossly negligent in speeding, rear-ending Scrio's motorcycle and causing Scrio's death. Brian Jarrell was convicted of felony DUI and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He initially denied liability for the accident, but admitted at trial that he had contributed to the accident. However, he testified that he had no memory of the crash. Brian Jarrell, who was driving a vehicle owned by Jarrell Enterprises, had $50,000 in private automobile insurance.

Injury:

Francis Frederick Scrio died of massive internal injuries four days post-accident. He was survived by his spouse, four daughters and extended family. The defense disputed the extent of damages.

Result:

The jury found for Scrio's estate and awarded $7.75 million in damages, including $3 million in punitives, against Brian Jarrell.

Estate of Frances Frederick Scrio: $3,000,000 Wrongful Death: Punitive Exemplary Damages; $1,000,000 Wrongful Death: loss of survival; $3,750,000 Wrongful Death: Wrongful death

Trial Information:

Judge:

Jeffrey Gerardi

Trial Length:

1  days

Trial Deliberations:

2  hours

Jury Composition:

6 jurors

Post Trial:

This case was tried as a fast track summary jury trial.

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel and information obtained from court documents. Defense counsel for Polo Champ, LLC d/b/a Club Bliss and Jarrell Enterprises also contributed to the report.