A U.S. District Court jury has awarded $1 million to the five children of a 41-year-old Laurel man who was struck and killed in September 1981 by a Metrobus in Fairfax County.
The jury deliberated for three hours before awarding the money Tuesday night to the family of Earl F. Goodwin, who was working with a road-paving crew on Heritage Drive in Annandale when he was struck by the bus.
Goodwin's lawyer, Dwight Pettit of Baltimore, said Goodwin, who had worked for Bituminous Products Corp. in Washington for about 18 years, was walking behind an asphalt truck laying down resurfacing compound when the bus hit him during rush hour on Sept. 1, 1981. Goodwin was dragged under the wheels of the bus and died shortly after, Pettit said.
Pettit said attorneys for Metro had conceded the company was liable for damages as a result of the accident and had offered a settlement package of cash and annuities for the children, aged 6 to 15, with a total present-day value of about $550,000. The offer was rejected Monday, the day the trial began, he said.
Pettit and Clinton attorney John Webster expect to receive about one-third of the award as their legal fees, Pettit said, and the rest will be divided among the children and put in five separate trust accounts until each child becomes 18 years old.
Metro spokeswoman Marilyn Dicus said the $1 million was the largest jury award against the system in a traffic fatality since Metro was formed in 1973. She declined to comment on any pretrial settlement offer, and said that no decision had been made on a possible appeal.