Across the Region |

AIG to pay N.C. man $18 million to settle personal injury suit

American International Group, the major insurance company that recently received an $85 billion federal bailout for risky financial practices, has agreed to pay $18 million to a former North Raleigh man who was completely disabled when a pickup hit him in the parking lot of his apartment.

The settlement appears to be one of the largest in the state's history for a personal injury case, local lawyers say, and it was driven by the fact that AIG was already on the hook for a much larger judgment – $75 million – after a subsidiary did not defend the case in Wake Superior Court.

“That's huge,” said Dan Hartzog, a veteran civil litigator in Raleigh not involved in the case. “It would be a big jury verdict, but it's a really big settlement.”

Such settlements rarely become public, but the details were discussed in an open session of U.S. District Court earlier this month with a (Raleigh) News & Observer reporter in attendance.

Dan Kane, (Raleigh) News & Observer

Meck briefs


One year after opening, Eastland Mall's latest movie theater has closed.

Utah-based Red Carpet Cinemas spent several weeks last year upgrading the existing theater, which had closed in 2006.

The new venue opened in March 2007 with more comfortable seats, digital sound and – for the first time in years – mainstream films such as “Happy Feet” and “Dreamgirls.”

Previously, the theater had unsuccessfully featured movies geared toward Spanish-speakers or children.

Nichole Monroe Bell

Regional briefs

Harnett County Coats

N.C. Highway Patrol troopers have identified the five people killed after their car was run over by a tanker truck in Harnett County.

The crash on N.C. 27 happened Friday night between Coats and Benson. A Highway Patrol spokeswoman said Sunday a report listed the driver of the Honda Accord as 22-year-old Esteban Isidro of Raleigh. The others killed were 23-year-old Jorge Luis Gallardo of Raleigh, 25-year-old Germain Chavez of Angier, 17-year-old Ashley Martinez and 15-year-old Norma Marie Martinez. The Martinez girls were sisters who lived in Angier.

Troopers said their car ran a stop sign and was run over by the oncoming truck. Both vehicles went into the oncoming lane and hit a station wagon.

Associated Press

South Carolina

The FBI has been investigating whether a Richland County sheriff's deputy used excessive force when he shocked a suspect at least five times with a Taser gun. The (Columbia) State reported on Sunday that the FBI launched an investigation after the newspaper began examining the January arrest in August.

A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said the agency is reviewing the FBI's evidence in the case. Neither federal agency would discuss specifics of the case.

Associated Press

Fort Jackson

Veterans and their supporters joined Sunday to dedicate as honored ground the nation's newest National Veterans Cemetery at Fort Jackson.

A formal entryway to the sprawling 585-acre cemetery was the site of the dedication, with the remainder to be completed in stages over the years.

The cemetery is expected to accommodate up to 25,000 graves.

Associated Press