Kinko's suit settled as trial looms

Chanda Temple
News staff writer

A Vestavia Hills woman left unable to walk after a Kinko's company vehicle hit her in 2002 has settled a negligence lawsuit against the company for an undisclosed amount.

Joan Jones, 60, sued the company and its employee, Jennifer Dickerson, claiming Dickerson ran a red light and hit her Sept. 19, 2002, at U.S. 280 and Cherokee Road. Jones, who has been bedridden since the crash, sued on the grounds of negligence and recklessness.

The suit was slated for trial in Jefferson County circuit court this month but the sides settled on the eve of trial, said plaintiff attorney Jeff Rickard. He declined to discuss the settlement, citing a confidential agreement between the parties.

Rickard, who handled the case with attorney David Marsh, said this was not a case where liability or responsibility was an issue. Rather, it was an issue of damages--what would be fair compensation for what she's been through for the last year and a half and what would it take to care for her for the rest of her life, he said.

Kinko's spokeswoman Sue Ladow said Friday from Dallas that the company was glad it was able to resolve this matter and "we wish Ms. Jones the best in her recovery."

Jones was en route to her job as a day-care worker at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook when she was hit. She suffered head trauma, broken ribs, a punctured lung and leg injury, Rickard said.

As a result of the injuries and being bedridden for so long, Jones developed bedsores and a condition that causes severe stiffness in her knees and ankles that prevents her from walking.

"Her doctors testified (in deposition) that she will most likely never walk independently again," Rickard said.

Jones has not been home since the crash; she has been in and out of hospitals and treatment centers.

"She is either going to have to stay in some sort of long-term care facility or, if she can go home, she's going to require 24-hour assistance," Rickard said.