A Philadelphia man was awarded$953,000 yesterday by a U.S. District Court jury as a result of a shoulder injury he suffered when the cab he was riding in was struck by a rental car in downtown Washington.
Attorneys for Raymond Webster, 49, argued that the 1980 injury severely limits Webster's future ability to work. Webster runs a one-man minority corporation called the Systems Research Co., which does research for various federal government agencies.
The verdict was returned against Stephen Halliday of New York, the driver of the car, and Alpha Rent-a-Car of New York. Halliday, an employe of a New York travel company, was driving north on 14th Street NW when he ran through a red light and struck the cab in which Webster was riding, which was moving east on L Street.
Under D.C. law, the rental company was also liable for damages because the owner of the car is responsible for accidents a driver has if the driver is using the car with the owner's permission.
Webster could not be reached for comment but his attorney, Jack H. Olender, said Webster was "pleased that the jury appreciated the impact that the injury has made on his business."
Attorneys for Halliday and the rental car company said they would either seek a new trial or ask Judge John J. Sirica, who presided over the case, to lower the award.
Halliday's attorneys said that he was driving his parents, who were on vacation here from England, back to their Silver Spring hotel when the accident happened.