BLUEFIELD – A widow is suing Kaplan Trucking Company for the wrongful death of her husband.
Nucor Corporation was also named as a defendant in the suit.
Tracy L. Walker was a contractor for Kaplan through an owner operator agreement and had an arrangement with Kaplan where her and/or her employee would make trips and deliveries for Kaplan, according to a complaint filed Feb. 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Lester J. Walker Jr. was formally employed by his wife, Tracy Walker, as an interstate and commercial truck driver and Tracy Walker was a sole proprietor through which her husband was employed.
Tracy Walker claims she owned, operated , controlled and possessed a 2005 Freightliner XLT truck tractor and Lester Walker operated the freightliner over interstate highways, making trips and deliveries solely for Kaplan.
Since 2010, Lester Walker drove solely for Kaplan and Kaplan directed and controlled the routes, deliveries, loads and trips he made, according to the suit.
Tracy Walker claims prior to March 1, 2013, Kaplan assigned Lester Walker to make a trip and delivery to Oklahoma and provided him with a 2007 International truck tractor for the trip, as the 2005 freightliner was in the shop for repairs.
Initially, Lester Walker was going to make a single trip and delivery to Oklahoma and then return directly home to Pennsylvania, however, during the trip, Kaplan re-routed him on multiple occasions assigning him to make several different pickups and deliveries.
Tracy Walker claims during the trip, Lester Walker was assigned to transport a massive steel coil from Nucor's facility in Huger, S.C., to hail it to Ohio and this super single steel coil was not the usual type of load Lester Walker handled.
On March 1, 2013, Lester Walker was lawfully operating the vehicle northbound on Interstate 77 near Bluefield when the steel coil shifted, causing Lester Walker to go into the median and resulting in both the truck and trailer completely flipping, according to the suit.
Tracy Walker claims as a result of the defendants' wrongful acts and omissions, her husband was killed and suffered pre-death pain and suffering, impairment and mental anguish.
The defendants were negligent and breached their duties to Lester Walker, which caused his fatal injuries, according to the suit.
Tracy Walker is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Timothy C Bailey and J. Ryan Steward of Bucci Bailey & Javins LC; and Robert F. Daley, Aaron Rihn and Mark D. Troyan of Robert Peirce & Associates PC.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 1:15-cv-02319