Settlement in Lufkin Case Puzzles Reader

Dear Editor: I read with interest your editorial titled "Jurors Sideswipe Trailer OEMs" regarding the Maravilla/Lufkin case (Trailer/Body Builders, December 2000). As an employee of a tank trailer manufacturer, I am concerned with the precedent that has been set as a result of the disposition of this case. I am also particularly interested in why Lufkin chose to settle prior to the second phase as opposed to riding out the second phase and appealing afterwards. Obviously, there are many details of the case not known to either of us, many of which are certainly confidential. But the fact remains that in the eyes of Lufkin's attorneys, settlement appeared the better option. That is more disturbing than the jury decision. Tom Anderson LBT Inc

Semitrailer Side Guard Protection Advocated Dear Editor: I just completed reading your editorial on the above subject matter. My thoughts are that all semitrailers should have side guard protection along with the rear underride bumper guard - regardless of age or make of the trailer. I have a special interest because I have a patented underride bumper guard system that is compatible with all trailers regardless of age. It features a simple installation, and I would be pleased to furnish Trailer/Body Builders with all aspects of its design on request. Al Torcomian

Negative Portrayal of Corporation Criticized Dear Editor: Can we protect ourselves from overlegislation when a jury comprised of laymen, who have sympathy for the loss of a life, awards a judgment against the "real victim" in this tragedy? Because an attorney views the corporation as a source of income for the family of the deceased, is it right to litigate for profit? Too often, I read a story similar to this that questions the rights of the innocent victim, the manufacturer.

Why wasn't Ford Motor Co also sued for failing to install a device to prevent the driver from crossing the median and causing the accident? Shouldn't the witnesses of the accident also be included as co-conspirators for having taken action to prevent the accident?

When will the attorneys for the defense recognize that their client, the corporation, is to be portrayed as the group of honest, hard-working individuals that they are and not the "big, nasty for-profit corporation"? I cannot think of a corporation in the transportation industry that is not comprised of hard-working and responsible people.

The issue in this case deals with one simple fact: the corporation is a source of income for the litigating attorney and his clients. Safety is not the issue here. Jerry Cameron MDC Products

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