Mobile, Alabama — As a jury labored into its second day of deliberations this afternoon, attorneys agreed to settle a lawsuit involving the gruesome death of a Moss Point, Mississippi, man.
Lawyers declined to reveal the terms of the confidential settlement.
Relatives of Roosevelt Jones had alleged that a gate at the Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds was defective, killing him in 2006 as he was preparing to leave the parking lot after attending the annual Spring Fling blues festival. According to testimony at the civil trial, the arm of the gate swung loose, crashed through the windshield and impaled Jones through the head.
An attorney for the fairgrounds, a project of the Moblie Jaycees, argued that Jones caused his own death by knocking into the gate. Attorney Mark Newell offered evidence that Jones had been drinking that day and had a blood-alcohol content of .10, above the legal limit in Alabama.
The jury deliberated for about an hour Tuesday and most of today. Jurors at one point asked Mobile County Circuit Judge Rick Stout to explain to them again the concept of “contributory negligence,” which means that a jury is supposed to rule in favor of the defense in a wrongful-death suit if it determines that the victim was partially responsible for the accident.
It was the second time the case had gone to trial, after the first story deadlocked in February.
“Of course, we don’t know what is going on in that room, but I think that both sides felt like there might be a hung jury again,” said Ian Baker, an attorney for the plaintiff.
Although jurors had not indicated that they had reached an impasse, Newell said he believed it might [...]