The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frazier, Magistrate Judge
A bench trial was called and completed in this matter on November 23, 2009. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law follow.
This lawsuit is the result of a tragic incident which took the life of Charles Keith Cason (his family called him Keith) on July 15, 2008. Mr. Cason, an Illinois resident, was driving alone on eastbound Highway 40 just west of Interstate 270 in St. Louis County, Missouri. He was stopped or slowed by traffic when a tractor-trailer owned and operated by defendant Holmes Transport, Inc., an Alabama corporation with its principal place of business in the state of Alabama, drove into Mr. Cason's car causing his death.
Defendant has stipulated that its driver, while acting within the scope of his employment, negligently caused the incident which caused Mr. Cason's death.
Mr. Cason was born April 20, 1953. He was 55 years old at his death. According to a report of the Social Security Administration, a male who has reached the age of 55 has a life expectancy of an additional 24.37 years. Mr. Cason was in good health at the time of his death. He was gainfully employed as a salesman for Konica-Minolta. Apparently, Mr. Cason was a very accomplished salesman. In fact, he had just completed a large sale immediately prior to his death.
It is safe to conclude that his earning potential was $100,000 per year and that he would have continued to earn at least that much through his 65th birthday. Mr. Cason was described as a very active and energetic man who may well have worked beyond 65, but in the absence of any evidence one way or another, 65 will work.
Mr. Cason's estate had the following final expenses:
Funeral expenses -- $10,204.68 Internment -- $1615.00.
Mr. Cason is survived by his wife, Mary Cason, and two sons, Ryan and Craig. Both sons have reached adulthood. Mary has not remarried. All three testified at trial. Their testimonies, assisted by photographs received in evidence, depict an extraordinarily close and loving family which was and is devastated by the circumstances which caused this trial.
Keith and Mary met in high school and began dating when in college. They wed in November of 1974. Keith's life revolved around his family and home. The family camped and traveled together up to his death. They were together for religious services every week and for family dinners. Such activities may sound a little ordinary, but watching each of them testify, it was apparent that the regularity of being together was treasured and is now sorely missed. Keith and Mary had an affectionate, attentive relationship. She described their sexual relations as being very good. Keith regularly performed small labors of love such as bringing coffee to her bedside each morning. It is obvious that Mary loved her husband very much and that she misses him greatly.
She is and will be for the rest of her life heart-broken.
Keith was viewed by each of his sons as a mentor, role model and best friend. Even after they reached adulthood, Keith had near daily contact with Ryan and Craig.
Both young men spoke of the closeness the family enjoyed...a "hugging family." As noted above, they had regular gatherings for church and dinner. The entire family continued to enjoy vacations together after the sons were grown. Each of them continued to look to his father for advice and love. Keith Cason was a fine father who ...