by Tiffany Lester | Tuesday, December 13th 2016
AMARILLO, Texas — The victim of a fiery crash back in 2011 is speaking to ABC 7 Amarillo cameras only.
The interview comes after a judge ruled in his favor, awarding him nearly $9 million dollars.
“You’re amazed at all the things it takes two hands to do,” said plaintiff Bobby Tunnell.
Tunnell’s life changed dramatically on August 3, 2011 when the truck he was a passenger in hit a cow roaming on Dowell Road, flipped eight times and trapped him inside.
Tunnell’s son who was driving and a passer-by pulled him from the truck just minutes before it exploded.
Among Tunnell’s long list on injuries are skull and facial fractures, brain swelling, and the inability to use his right arm.
“Making a bed is very difficult, washing dishes, you can’t do because you don’t have a hand to hold the other. I mean, zipping your pants is a pain, you always ache or hurt, but you just have to go on,” Tunnell said.
“The truck was on fire and but for the fact that his son was able to pull him from the wreckage along with another passerby, Bobby would have burned to death,” said Tunnell’s attorney Dean Boyd.
After five and a half years and eight different trial settings, a judge awarded Tunnell $8.9 million Friday.
Court documents how the judge ruled the owner of the cow, Dr. Richard Archer negligent.
Boyd said this wasn’t the first incident one of Archer’s cows was involved in.
“There was testimony that another car on that road had hit one of Dr. Archer’s cows and that was before this wreck, so our argument and what we proved at trial was that Dr. Archer owned the cow that was on the road, he knew his cows were getting out and he didn’t take care of it,” Boyd said.
ABC 7 Amarillo reached out to Archer who said, “It’s insanity to say that I was responsible for that man’s injuries.”
Despite getting a satisfactory ruling in the trial, Tunnell and his lawyer said there’s still a long road ahead of them and it’s not worth the pain and suffering.
“The defendant in any trial has the option to file a motion for new trial, file an appeal, file bankruptcy. We have a long, long, long way to go,” said Boyd.
“You have to look at it, I guess, as one day at time and that’s all you can do. You have to stay out of your own head. If you can stay out of your own head, you can survive this,” Tunnell said.
Damages rewarded to Tunnell are:
By Ryan Osborne | December 6, 2016 9:09 PM
A Dallas judge awarded $8.9 million in damages to a man who was injured in a collision with several cows on a road near Amarillo in 2011, KFDA-TV in Amarillo reported.
Bobby Tunnell, who had to be pulled from a pickup before it exploded after the wreck, sued the cows’ owner, Richard Archer, for negligence.
The lawsuit alleged that the fencing on Archer’s property was not properly maintained and that “there was a history” of his cows breaking free and roaming onto roads.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2012 in Dallas County, where one of the former defendants was living. The suit stayed in the 298th District Court, even as it was amended several times.
At one point, Archer’s attorneys, citing state tort reform law, argued that the case should be treated as a medical malpractice lawsuit because Archer is a doctor, even though he did not know Tunnell, according to the KFDA.
This week, Judge Emily Tobolowsky awarded Tunnell the following, the TV station reported:
Tunnell was riding in the front seat of a pickup when the wreck happened on Aug. 3, 2011, according to the lawsuit. His son was driving, and his grandchildren were in the back seat. As they drove north on Dowell Road, “five or six” cows appeared in the road, the lawsuit said.
Tunnell’s son slammed the brakes but hit two of the cows. The truck then rolled eight times, coming to rest upright.
As the truck caught fire, Tunnell’s son and a passer-by got Tunnell out and about 10 yards away before it exploded, the lawsuit said.
Tunnell broke his right arm, clavicle, right shoulder blade and ribs, and he had to have surgery on his spine, according to the lawsuit.
He also suffered a concussion, skull and facial fracture, brain swelling, a blood clot and a severely deformed right arm, among various other injuries.
Tunnell’s lawyer, Dean Boyd, told KFDA that Archer’s cows “were getting out again and again and again.”
“If the son had not pulled his father out of the car,” Boyd said, “it would have exploded with him in it and my client would be dead.”
By Francis Sirois, ReporterCONNECT | Tuesday, December 6th 2016
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) –
Damages have been set at $8.9 million in a lawsuit between an Amarillo man and a former doctor.
According to court documents, back in 2011, Bobby Tunnell was driving on Dowell Road when he crashed into multiple cows.
His son, Nick, was able to get Tunnell’s grandchildren away from the car before returning to pull his father out of the burning vehicle.
With the help of a man who stopped to give assistance, the son and stranger were able to pull Tunnell out of the truck just before it exploded.
Tunnell suffered serious injuries and sued the owner of the cows, Dr. Richard Archer, for negligence.
For more information about the case click here.
Judge Emily Tobolowsky of the 298th District Court, set the damages at $8.9 million which include:
$700,000 for past medical bills.
$1.4 million for lost wages.
$2.5 million for pain and suffering.
$1.5 million for mental anguish.
$2.5 million for disfigurement.
Dean Boyd, who represented Tunnell, said one of the major factors in this negligence case is that this is not the first time something like this has occurred.
“The thing about this wreck you need to understand is that these cows were getting out again and again and again,” Boyd said. “If the son had not pulled his father out of the car it would have exploded with him in it and my client would be dead.”
They also exposed Tunnell’s injuries which included a broken neck, spine and shoulder injuries, an 18 inch scar and according to Dr. Paulus, “a useless withered arm.”
Copyright 2016 KFDA. All rights reserved.
By Bobby Cervantes | July 27, 2016 02:14 am
The victims of the 2008 salmonella outbreak at the International House of Pancakes sobbed quietly Wednesday as they left a Potter County courtroom with more than $1.4 million in damages.
The jury, which included eight men and four women, deliberated for more than three hours before returning a verdict of $140,000 for each of the 10 plaintiffs.
Dean Boyd, one of the victims’ attorneys, said in closing arguments that the compelling, graphic testimony should be a warning for other Amarillo restaurants to keep their facilities clean.
“Two of the clients seriously came very close to death,” Boyd said. “Others’ injuries were very bad and their tear-filled testimony proved that.”
Thomas Farris, IHOP’s attorney, said the restaurant is taking responsibility, but he wanted the jury to assess a fair compensation.
He quizzed some of the victims about their previous medical conditions that may have been responsible for the salmonella poisoning symptoms they described to the jury.
IHOP agreed this week to pay the victims’ medical bills and lost earnings, but the food chain’s lawyers sought to challenge the victims’ pain and suffering claims.
The victims and their spouses began testifying Monday about the severe stomach pains and extended hospital stays after they ate at the restaurant on Interstate 40 and South Western Street.
The civil suit in Potter County’s 320th District Court started Monday.
Other parties in the case have settled nearly half of the complaints listed in the original petition before trial. The suit, filed in May 2010, included 24 IHOP patrons. The settlement amounts remain confidential.
The case stems from three separate salmonella outbreaks that sickened the restaurant’s patrons, starting in June 2008.
From the first known poisoning case in June to a city health review in September, more than 125 people who ate at the IHOP location were victims of salmonella poisoning, according to court records.
Interviews with IHOP employees revealed the syrup pitchers were not washed or sanitized before they were refilled, according to the initial civil complaint.
During that time, the restaurant closed its doors three times in response to potential salmonella outbreaks. The closures were prompted by a June 2008 city review in which 11 IHOP employees tested positive for the salmonella toxin.
In the last case, which prompted the September 2008 closure, city officials determined the cause was an infected water bath used to warm bottles of syrup.