Gonzalez v. Coastal Industrial Contractors, Inc.Annotate this Case
Clayton Harmer, an employee of Coastal Industrial Contractors, failed to yield to a stop sign. The ensuing collision injured Leighann Gonzalez, who filed suit against Coastal Industrial Contractors and Harmer. Coastal admitted vicarious liability by stipulation and then moved to dismiss Harmer. The court dismissed Harmer pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 41. A bifurcated jury trial took place, and the jury awarded Gonzalez compensatory damages in the amount of $3.5 million. Before the punitive damages phase of the bifurcated trial, Gonzalez made an ore tenus motion for recusal and mistrial, which the judge denied. The court granted a directed verdict to Coastal on the issue of punitive damages. Gonzalez appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court judgment.