Earlier this week, a San Diego Superior Court jury ruled that Pizza Hut owed $10.8 million to a mother and daughter injured in a car accident with a pizza delivery driver in 2008. The crash occurred in November of that year. Shari Novak was 62-years-old and her mother, Olena, was 87.
The Novaks were traveling down Clairemont Drive when 18-year-old Nicole Fisk suffered a blackout and sped across the road, striking the Novak's vehicle. Fisk was later diagnosed with epilepsy.
Shari Novak suffered a severe brain injury in the accident and was left with brain permanent damage. She is now unable to care for herself. Olena Novak suffered a broken neck and several lesser injuries.
Though the personal injury lawsuit was original filed against Nicole Fisk and Pizza Hut, the pizza maker soon had the blame moved entirely onto them. The prosecution argued that the company should have done a better job checking Fisk's background. At the time she was hired, she had only had her license for three months and had a history of blackouts.
Pizza Hut's defense countered that Fisk should have taken responsibility for her medical issues and known that the role of a professional driver was not safe for her to take on. They also argued that a comprehensive background check had been performed and, since Fisk had not yet been diagnosed with epilepsy, they could not have known about the condition.
In the end, the jury determined that Pizza Hut was not negligent in hiring Fisk, but that, as her employer, they were responsible for damage caused while she was on the job.
They awarded $8.8 million for Shari Novak's medical bills, past and future, and non-economic damages. They awarded $2 million to her mother.
- Pizza Hut must pay mother and daughter $10.8 million (Sign On San Diego)