BrightView will appeal $39 million wrongful death verdict

May 10, 2017 -  By

Last week, a Texas jury awarded $39 million in damages to the family of a Houston firefighter who was killed when his bike collided with a landscape trailer owned by The Brickman Group, now BrightView. The company plans to appeal the decision.

Michelle Braswell, the widow of Capt. W. Mark Braswell, filed a wrongful death suit against Brickman and its operator Guillermo Rafael Bermea, claiming the company’s negligence caused her husband’s death.

Capt. W. Mark Braswell, 43, died in May 2014 after he was riding his bicycle and collided with a landscape truck and trailer stopped in an active traffic lane on a four-lane parkway.

Braswell’s attorney Richard Mithoff said the Brickman vehicle had stopped in an active traffic lane with no cones out, no flags and no lookouts to redirect traffic. Some testimony indicated that the landscaping truck stopped abruptly. Instead of turning onto a less heavily-trafficked side street, the crew decided to unload equipment while stopped in an active lane of a busy road, Mithoff told the Houston Chronicle.

The jury determined Brickman was responsible for 68 percent of the damages.

BrightView provided the following statement to LM:

This was a tragic accident. Unfortunately, nothing is going to change the circumstances of this situation. We disagree with the jury’s verdict and believe that if they had been presented with all the facts we would have seen a different outcome. While we don’t wish to prolong the healing process for the Braswell family, and again offer our condolences, we plan to appeal this decision.

Brickman merged with ValleyCrest Landscape Co. in June 2014 to form BrightView. The company is headquartered in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and Calabasas, Calif. BrightView is No. 1 on the 2016 LM150 list of the largest landscape companies with more than $2.2 billion in 2015 revenue.

Read more:

NALP offers tips to avoid improper parking accidents

Updated 5/11/17 to include information from and link to the Houston Chronicle.

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About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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