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Supreme Court asked to order new civil trial in fatal crash

February 3, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The attorney for a driver who caused a 2015 expressway crash in Bismarck that killed two women and severely injured a third is urging the North Dakota Supreme Court to order a new civil trial in the case.

A jury in 2019 awarded $1 billion to the families of the two woman who were killed, 21-year-old Taylor Goven and 22-year-old Abby Renschler, and to the woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury, 21-year-old Shayna Monson. The district court later reduced the damage award to about $690 million.

Attorney Kay Nord Hunt argued Tuesday that evidence which showed Jordan Morsette was drunk at the time of the crash should not have been allowed in part of his trial, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

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Nord Hunt told the justices that after Morsette admitted he was at fault, evidence of his intoxication should not have been allowed during the compensatory part of the trial because it “only served to inflame the jury.”

She argued that families of the women who were killed suffered because of their deaths, not because of negligent acts made by Morsette before the crash.

Attorney Chad Nodland, who represents Goven’s family, told justices that Morsette chose to drive drunk and that the crash had a lasting impact on the families involved.

The justices did not immediately rule in the case.