$46 Million Awarded Against Consolidated Freighways


In March 2006, a City of St. Louis jury awarded the parents of Ana (age 24) and Jose Silva (age 23) a total of $46.0 million in a wrongful death claim against Consolidated Freighways Corporation. According to the Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly, the award represents the number one top plaintiffs’ jury verdict for 2006. The decedents were operating a 1993 Nissan Altima when it was alleged that their vehicle was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer operated by Consolidated. Consolidated denied liability and maintained that although its tractor-trailer may have struck the Silva vehicle with a “glancing” blow, the severe impact was caused by another vehicle which caused Silva’s Altima to burst into flames. It was not possible to match the paint transfer due to the intensity of the fire damage to the vehicles involved. The accident occurred while the decedents were stopped near Joplin, Missouri on Interstate 44 in fog-like conditions.

Ana Silva survived only momentarily, according to reports, and died from fourth degree burns. Jose Silva managed to free himself, but died 37 days later succumbing to third degree burns over 80% of his body. He required 174 blood transfusions and underwent 28 operations. Ana and Jose Silva were married, but had no children. Medical specials were approximately $860,000.00. No claim was made for wage loss. The parents of Jose Silva were awarded $25,280,000.00 and the parents of Ana Silva were awarded $20,780,000.00. The trial court reportedly granted remititur to a total of $30,000,000.00. According to the various news reports following this verdict, it was reported that the plaintiffs’ demand was $4.75 million and Consolidated’s offer was $250,000.00 prior to trial.