Salt Lake City, UT — November 1, 2001 — A Salt Lake City jury awarded $16.4 million to an 11 1/2 year old boy, Anthony Rynes, who suffered a traumatic brain injury that he received in a head–on automobile crash. The defendant was Dick Simon Trucking Inc., whose truck went out of control, careened into oncoming traffic, and ran over the 1998 Nissan Sentra in which Anthony was a passenger. Both Anthony's mother, who was the driver, and his half–brother were killed.
As a result of the accident, Anthony spent 15 days in the intensive care unit of Salt Lake City's Primary Children's Medical Center and four months in the pediatric special ward for rehabilitation. He lost both frontal lobes of his brain—areas that control "executive" decision and cognitive abilities. He also lost temporal lobe function, which controls long term memory, and suffered four burst fractures in his thoracic spine, requiring a future back fusion. Because Anthony's attention span is now inadequate and he has lost the ability to learn, he will need constant supervision by an adult for the rest of his life.
The jury awarded Anthony general damages as well as economic damages for loss of earnings, medical expenses, future facility care and non–medical expenses. The trial took place before Judge Lee A. Dever of the Third District Court in Salt Lake City.
"We are thankful that the jury saw to it that Anthony's future medical needs and financial security is assured," said his attorney, Gilbert Purcell of Brayton Purcell LLP in Novato, California. Anthony was also represented by Jeffrey Eisenberg of Eisenberg. Erik Ward and Chris Shaw of Ridley, Ward & Shaw in Ogden, Utah, represented the heirs of Anthony's mother. Their case settled for an additional sum as the jury was deliberating.