Default judgment awarded to woman injured in accident

LISBON – A default judgment in the amount of $1.5 million was awarded to an East Palestine woman severely injured in a 2012 traffic accident after the person who caused the fatal accident did not contest the lawsuit.

The judgment was awarded Holly R. Hughes and against Ashley R. Clark on Wednesday by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike based on a lawsuit filed earlier in the year by Hughes.

The accident occurred on March 13, 2012, on state Route 165 in Unity Township when Clark, 25, state Route 14, East Palestine, drove left of center in her Dodge Caravan and struck head-on a Dodge Spirit operated by Hughes, 41, East Rebecca Street, East Palestine.

The accident claimed the life of Melissa K. Gorby, 33, of East Palestine, who was a passenger in the Hughes’ vehicle, and left Hughes severely injured. Clark spent 90 days in the county jail after pleading no contest to vehicular homicide charges.

The personal injury lawsuit filed in March by Hughes sought $25,000-plus in damages. When Clark failed to respond to the lawsuit after being notified, Hughes’ attorney – Michael Davis of East Liverpool – filed a motion seeking a default judgment in the amount of $1.5 million as compensation for lost wages and the pain, suffering and $483,878 in medical bills incurred by his client.

A hearing on damages was held Aug. 4, and Clark appeared but she was not allowed to participate since she had failed to enter an official appearance in the case.