Judge Reduces Death Award against West Pennsylvania Agency

January 26, 2010

A judge has reduced a $1.6 million verdict won by the widow of a motorcyclist killed when he collided with western Pennsylvania housing agency’s truck.

Mercer County Judge Thomas Dobson reduced the verdict Friday because the various types of damages against government agencies are capped at $250,000.

As a result, Joan Klages will get $250,000 in survival damages — which compensate the widow for her husband’s lost income — just $241,950 in wrongful death damages, for a total of $491,950.

A jury last week awarded Klages more than $1.1 million in survivor’s damages and $483,900 for the wrongful death.

The judge halved the wrongful death award because he said 52-year-old Earl Klages contributed to the fatal 2007 crash with a Mercer County Housing Authority truck.

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