Posted: September 19, 2012

The plaintiff’s lawyer wanted to “send a message” that would be a deterrent to drunk drivers, and a jury in Tennessee obliged – handing down a $9.25 million verdict against a man who drove while intoxicated and slammed into another car driven by a high school honor student. The Chatanooga jury ordered Kevin Davis to pay $500,000 in compensatory damages and $8.75 million in punitive damages. The defendant, according to news reports, downed a half bottle of Southern Comfort before getting behind the wheel two days before Thanksgiving in 2008. Davis, who had two prior DUI arrests, passed out while driving, his vehicle drifting into the wrong lane and crashing head-on into the car driven by an 18 year-old cheerleader who was returning home from a high school basketball game. The Jaws of Life had to be used to extract her from her car. She lost but later regained feeling in her legs, but had to undergo multiple surgeries and still walks with pain and can no longer participate in athletic events. Learn more about auto accident lawsuits.