February 14, 2012 by Dave Moore at 12:00:00 am
Legal battles sometimes bring about unusual alliances.
Such is the case of Isabel Molina, who suffered severe burns over her face and body when the food trailer in which she worked caught fire in 2002 in Dallas. Molina sued the operator of the trailer, Juan Miguel “Mike” Bonilla, in 2003 and eventually won a $1.8 million jury verdict.
Appeals to the Dallas Court of Appeals and later to the Fifth Circuit followed, and in the process, Bonilla joined Molina in a battle to force Bonilla’s insurance company to cover the District Court's judgment. The insurance provider offered Molina a low six-figure settlement during the 10-year legal battle.
On Feb. 2 – nearly 10 years after the fire, and after all appeals were exhausted – a federal judge signed a final order requiring the insurance carrier to finally pay the amount of the jury verdict, plus $700,000 in interest.
described their client as courageous and strong in her religious faith throughout the ordeal. They hope the result would help her and her children “salvage their lives and get their lives on track.”
“It was a sad deal,” Sudderth said. “She had horrific injuries, and she never gave up, and in the end, justice was served.”
The case of Molina shows that while the wheels of justice can turn slowly, with patience, perseverance and faith, the outcome can be worthwhile.
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