Fort Payne, AL, 8/25/05.
On I-59 in DeKalb County, Alabama, a flatbed tractor trailer clipped a car, causing it to leave the roadway and overturn several times. Shirley Middleton, 63, of Tunnel Hill, GA, was ejected and killed. her two sisters, Dorothy Correll of Dalton and Ira Dobson of Warner Robbins were seriously injured.
The truck driver — Jesus Castillo, Jr., 29, of Brownhill, Texas — fled up I-59 toward Chattanooga, but Dade County, Georgia deputies caught him a short time later and returned him to Fort Payne. He faces manslaughter and Leaving the Scene of an Accident charges.
See WDEF TV, Associated Press , and Fort Payne Times-Journal stories.
There is a stark contrast between Georgia and Alabama wrongful death laws. In Georgia, the measure of damages is the “full value of the life” of the decedent, including both economic and intangible aspects, and one is not permitted to “send the industry a message.” In Alabama, wrongful death damages are entirely punitive, to punish and deter acts that kill a human being. In that context, it is permissible in Alabama to “send the industry as message” but not to talk about the value of the individual life.
In order to do that, full exploration of all violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that contributed to the death should be explored and fully explained by a trucking safety expert, and, perhaps, a sleep deprivation expert. See post on punitive damages in interstate trucking cases.

The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).