DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN)— A Nashville jury has awarded $20.7 million to the families of two teens who were killed in a 2014 wreck, allegedly caused by their employer, Mikel Knight.
According to a press release by Morris, Andrews, Talmadge, and Driggers, LLC, in 2014 teenagers Taylor Nixon, 19, and Robert Underfinger, 18, were killed in a vehicle accident while working for self-proclaimed “Country Rap King” Jason Cross, stage name Mikel Knight. The two were a part of the Maverick Dirt Road Street Team (MDRST), a team that would sell CDs and merchandise in parking lots across the country.
The lawsuit alleges the accident occurred after the driver of a van, owned by Cross, fell asleep at the wheel after suffering extreme driver fatigue from the working conditions. The accident resulted in the death of Nixon and Underfinger.
The Plaintiffs and other young men ranging in age from 19 to 25 were required to work long hours and drive many miles a day for the benefit of Mikel Knight.Morris, Andrews, Talmadge and Driggers, LLC Press Release
The verdicts declared $3,006,937 be paid to the mother of Taylor Nixon, and $2,711,638 be paid to the mother of Robert Underfinger.
The jury found Jason Cross (A.K.A Mikel Knight) was grossly negligent in the hiring, training, supervision, and entrustment practices of his company that led to the deaths of Nixon and Underfinger, and awarded punitive damages of $15,000,000.
This case involved many delays due to COVID, Mikel Knight changing counsel, procedural issues, tracking down witnesses, and taking many depositions, but in the end it was worth it seeing the satisfaction of the mothers finally having a jury hold Mikel Knight accountableDothan Attorney Joseph “Joey” Morris
The families were represented by Joseph “Joey” Morris, Esq of Morris, Andrews, Talmadge and Driggers, LLC in Dothan. Their co-counsel consisted of Tracy Cary, Esq of Birmingham, and William Hickey, Esq of Nashville Tennessee.