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Thomas L. Cates & Erika R. Cates v. Babb Lumber Company, Catoosa Superior Court, 2012-SU-CV-1692.

Case Conclusion Date: 10.16.2013

Practice Area: Personal injury

Outcome: Settled at mediation for $500,000.

Description: On October 12, 2010 the Plaintiff, Tommy Cates, a fuel truck driver for Parman Energy made a routine delivery to Babb Lumber in Ringgold, GA. After making his deliveries to their storage tanks, some gas was left over and Babb Lumber wanted the remaining gas pumped into an old 1972 Ford F600 truck they used around the yard to haul shavings from one location to another. The truck was not operated outside the yard, and had no license tag. Plaintiff was outside his truck tending to some levers and valves on the side of the fuel truck, when he was suddenly struck in the back and pushed into the side of the fuel truck. He had been hit by the old Ford truck Babb’s driver was bringing down to be topped off. Fortunately, due to the angle of impact, Cates was not crushed, but he was knocked up against his own truck and then thrown to the side. Babb’s driver claimed that as he approached the fuel truck and tried to bring it to a stop, “the brake went to the floor,” and afterwards, they claimed that the master cylinder was “very low” on brake fluid. They could not say, however, when the brakes had last been serviced, and he did not keep any service records on that truck. It was admitted that they did not run the truck “out on the street because it was dangerous.” The impact injured Plaintiff’s low back and eventually he underwent surgery after months of consevative treatment. He was not able to return to work as a fuel truck driver.

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