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Canada Metro Vancouver couple awarded more than US$9 million by Portland jury

17:05  15 december  2019
17:05  15 december  2019 Source:   vancouversun.com

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A Metro Vancouver man injured in a biking collision three years ago in Oregon said Saturday that he’s still in shock after a jury in Portland awarded him and his wife more than US $ 9 million . Eric Moutal said he and his wife Andrea Newman were in court Friday at about 5:30 p.m. when the jury

A jury late Friday awarded more than $ 9 million in damages to a couple from Vancouver , B.C. who was struck by an 18-wheeler truck while riding their bikes westbound along Interstate 84. The eight-member jury found Exel Inc. , more commonly known as the shipping company DHL, liable for the Aug.

a close up of a map: This map shows Highway I-84 westbound, including a © Oregon State Parks This map shows Highway I-84 westbound, including a

A Metro Vancouver man injured in a biking collision three years ago in Oregon said Saturday that he’s still in shock after a jury in Portland awarded him and his wife more than C$11 million (US$9 million).

Eric Moutal said he and his wife Andrea Newman were in court Friday at about 5:30 p.m. when the jury announced the award following a five-day trial in U.S. District Court.

“We still can’t believe it,” he said by phone from Portland. “We’re still in shock.”

Moutal and Newman were struck by an 18-wheel truck while riding their bikes westbound along Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge in August of 2016.

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According to The Oregonian , an eight-member jury found Exel Inc., known as the shipping and courier company DHL, liable and awarded US$1.3 million in economic damages, US$4 million in non-economic damages and US$4 million in punitive damages to Moutal, whose left leg was nearly amputated, and US$400,000 in non-economic damages to Newman.

At an exchange rate of $1.32, the jury’s award equals about $12.8 million Canadian.

The couple said in a statement they were “profoundly grateful for the time and thoughtful work of the jury and judge in listening to our story.

“While nothing can take us back to 2016, before the crash, this gives a degree of closure and a path forward. We are also amazed by the American civil justice system — there is no equivalent in Canada.”

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Moutal said it has been a “crazy 3½ years” for him and his wife. Although he’s not 100 per cent certain, he thinks Exel may appeal the award.

“I don’t think it’s over, unfortunately,” he said.

The Oregonian reported that Moutal had four surgeries at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland before he returned home to Vancouver.

“Surgeons grafted skin from his right thigh onto his lower left shin, leaving significant scars on both legs,” The Oregonian story said.

Moutal said by phone that he only uses a cane for longer walks. He used to commute to work by bike and take SkyTrain to his job in New Westminster where he is head brewer at Steel & Oak Brewing .

“I can ride my bike again but I don’t commute by bike,” he said. “It was difficult and it’s not what it used to be. I stay just on bike routes and do way shorter rides.”

He said in the aftermath of the collision, he and his wife were completely unfamiliar with how the system works in the U.S. They were left entirely on their own. Launching a lawsuit, he said, seemed like the only avenue open to them.

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“In B.C., you call ICBC,” he said. “Here we had no contact from any party. It seemed like (this) was the only avenue.”

Moutal said the couple had medical insurance when they were hit by the truck. It came out during the trial that after the collision, Exel had already called its legal team either before Moutal reached hospital or definitely by that evening, he said.

The Oregonian story said Moutal missed work because of his injuries but didn’t lose any pay. Newman is an engineer for the city of Vancouver. She has scars from the cuts and bruises she received in the collision.

The truck hit the couple while they were on a camping and biking trip before visiting Portland.

The couple testified they were biking single-file in the westbound “shoulder of the interstate, between Hood River and Cascade Locks, when they were struck by the truck that veered over the fog line and into the shoulder at a curve in the roadway near milepost 52,” The Oregonian said.

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