Bill Bone and Diego Asencio tried the case of Harvey vs White before the honorable Judge Gary Sweet in Martin County Circuit Court and the jury returned their verdict awarding the plaintiff $40 million dollars on June 3, 2021.
This article was originally posted on WPBF.com
Florida father of hit-and-run victim given record $40 million judgment
Philip Harvey Sr. has just been awarded $40 million in the hit-and-run death of his son, Philip Harvey Jr., 27, seven years ago.
Harvey Jr. was rear-ended by John David White on Mapp Road in Palm City. White was later found walking on U.S. Highway 1 and ultimately convicted of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He was sentenced in a plea deal to 25 years in prison.
“I got to be honest with you, it wasn’t the judgment — it was getting all the facts,” said Harvey Sr. “Money, what, it ain’t got anything to do with it. This man, he is trying to get out.”
Troopers noted White had two previous drunk-driving convictions, was the driver at fault in another hit-and-run crash, and when he slammed into Harvey, had his license indefinitely suspended for refusing a breathalyzer in yet another suspected drunk-driving case. And in Harvey’s case, White denied he was the driver.
“I’m sorry for being emotional but you wanted to know, and I’m still venting,” said Harvey, Sr.
“When they took his (White’s) blood alcohol 10 hours after the fact, all the alcohol had burned off; if his plan had come out, he could have gotten out of this,” said Harvey’s co-counsel, Bill Bone.
A spot of blood on the airbag was identified as White’s using DNA, and because of his prior record and originally denying he was the driver, the civil jury awarded $30 million in compensation and another $10 million in punitive damages.
“That was the most important thing, Mr. Harvey wanted his son’s value not to be diminished and they really kind of surprised us,” said co-counsel Deigo Ascencio.
“The DNA evidence in this case put him (White) squarely behind the wheel — he is the man who killed your son,” Bone told Harvey.
Lawyers said because White is behind bars, and lost his downtown Stuart restaurant following his arrest, it is unlikely Harvey will be able to collect on the judgment.
However, they said if White succeeds in leaving prison early for whatever reason, they will be waiting — judgment in hand.