The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Coca Cola Clarifies Details Regarding Lawsuit In Distracted Driving Case

May 29, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Coca Cola issued a statement and provided clarification regarding the details of the case where a jury awarded $21 million to Vanice Chatman-Wilson, an individual whose automobile was reportedly struck by a Coca Cola employee driving a company-owned vehicle.

The company said the Coca Cola driver, Araceli Venessa Cabral, in this case was driving a car, not a truck, and worked in a sales role, rather than as a delivery driver, as originally reported by law firm Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys. The original statement by the law firm described the incident as a “trucking accident case involving a distracted delivery driver.” In addition, a Coca Cola spokesperson said the driver was using a hands-free device at the time of the accident, not a cell phone.

Coca Cola said the case was tried because the parties involved couldn’t come to an agreement on damages and that the company has accepted responsibility for the accident. The company also said its cell phone policy requires the use of a hands-free device, which is consistent with, and exceeds, Texas state law requirements.

“There is no discernible connection between the damages awarded in this case and the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. Although we respect the verdict of the jury, we plan to appeal.”

In addition, Coca Cola stated that the verdict is in response to the plaintiff’s legal counsel’s request to the jury to ban cell phone use while driving.

By Greg Basich

Twitter Facebook Google+


Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:

  1. 1. Juan Mejias [ May 29, 2012 @ 12:04PM ]

    It is a shame when a jury awards that much money... don't they know that most of the money will probably go the lawyers..
    If this would have happen to one of us I am sure the insurance claim would have been sufficient. But when they found out the vehicle was owned by Coca Cola there must have been dollar signs in their eyes....
    Then they wonder why the cost of insurance, coke products, ect.... keeps going up...
    We keep punching holes in the boat to prove a point, only to find out later that we were the ones that caused the boat to sink...
    Coke is an american company, that hires many people. I am sure that they are strugling just like the rest of us to keep things afloat.
    Yes, we all make mistakes but if we all sued ourselves for $21 million every time there was an accident, none of us would be able to afford the insurance to keep driving.
    America would be a much stronger country if we all stopped suing each other to try to become millionaires.
    Just do it the old fashion way work your behind off and make as much money as you can..

  2. 2. jesse [ May 29, 2012 @ 01:54PM ]

    I agree witn Juan. Unfortunatly we are blinded by the $$ signs.

  3. 3. Charles Bowen [ May 30, 2012 @ 10:01PM ]

    Blaming this on lawyers and/or the $$ involved is irresponsible denial; especially when coming from fleet managers or persons in positions of corporate authority. Whether a hands-free device or not, studies have proven without a doubt that the brain works much differently when a person is engaged in conversation when operating a vehicle. Cell phone use while driving is a major distraction; when will companies learn???

  4. 4. Whatiswrongwithpeopletoda [ June 04, 2012 @ 10:23AM ]

    It's funny how people can make these comments on the dollar amount and not have any concern for the women that was hit by this driver, she can't work and provide for herself and not to mention her pain and the effects it has had on her family I guess if she had died then maybe it would be different....this 10 million was awarded for punishment. Coke told there employees that they know that talking on the phone and driving is a legal liability but they did not care as long as they were making money for the company they would deal with the issues as they arise, and driving with someone in the car is different because you have 2 sets of eyes on the road so what the driver doesn't see the passenger will but when you are on the phone 37% of your brain is into the conversation not on the road it has been proven it is the same as driving drunk. So my concern is for the lady whose life has changed just because a company is more concerned about making money then making sure we are safe on our roads she will have to have more surgeries and deal with this injury for the rest of her life.


Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.

Sponsored by

An OBD-II port is included in all light-duty vehicles manufactured in 1996 or later. It allows for a scanning tool to be used with the vehicle to determine certain diagnostic information.

Read more

Accident Costs Calculator

Use this calculator to see how much extra sales revenue your company needs to generate to make up for the profits lost as a result of fleet accidents.
Launch Accident Cost Calculator 

Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher