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Domino's Pizza to pay $32M to family of crash victim

The family of a woman who died after a Domino's Pizza delivery car slammed into her vehicle won its lawsuit against the Michigan based pizza chain after a judge found that Domino's shared responsibility for the fatal wreck with the delivery driver. The victim's husband suffered severe brain damage in the accident, which permanently rendered him unable to communicate.

The plaintiffs' attorney argued that Domino's failed to appropriately check the driver's vehicle before deliveries, contending that the company "enforces a tragically unsafe delivery method" but encouraging its employees to reach customers' homes as quickly as possible. The judge agreed with that assertion, determining that the company should have done more to stop the driver from using old, potentially dangerous tires that investigators ultimately found caused the crash. The judge then ordered Domino's to pay $32 million in damages to the plaintiffs.

An executive with Domino's offered his condolences to the plaintiffs, saying that he and the company feel sympathy for them in the wake of the fatal accident. However, he stated in an email that Domino's Pizza does not agree with the way the commercial litigation was concluded and that company directors are confused as to why they were found responsible for the negligence of an "independent franchise employee."

The executive went on to explain the driver responsible for the crash is not directly employed by Domino's Pizza, but rather by the owner of the independent franchise where we worked. He asserted that Domino's does not directly control the daily operations of individual franchises to such a "minute level of detail." He concluded by explaining that while the company understands the tragic nature of the crash, it will appeal the decision in the hope of having it overturned.

Large companies such as Domino's are often prominent targets for civil litigation given their highly visible market presence and substantial assets. This makes quality legal representation essential for protecting the rights and interests of such businesses.

Source: Crain's Detroit Business, "Texas family awarded $32M in deadly Domino's Pizza delivery crash" No author given, Aug. 30, 2013

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