A Kennebec County jury on Friday awarded a former pole dancer $2.5 million in damages for life-changing injuries she suffered in a motorcycle crash 3½ years ago on Western Avenue in Augusta.
Katherine Marsters, 28, of Wilton sued Nancy Rogier, 78, of Saco and her insurance company after Marsters rejected a settlement offer of $9,500, according to her attorney, Christian Foster of Portland.
Marsters was a passenger on a motorcycle driven by James Carey, 30, of Hallowell on June 19, 2015, when Rogier suddenly swerved to the right in order to turn into Bagel Mainea while Carey attempted to illegally pass her on the right, Foster said. Carey suffered minor injuries. The motorcycle struck the car.
Carey settled with Marsters for an undisclosed amount before the trial, Foster said Sunday in an email.
The jury determined that Carey was 80 percent responsible for the crash and Rogier was 20 percent responsible. The jury ordered Rogier to pay $400,000 to Marsters, Foster said.
“Ms. Marsters skidded 60 feet along the asphalt and sustained road rash over 50 percent of her body and multiple fractures of her left arm and hand,” Foster said. “Her arm and hand are now scarred, disfigured and she has been left with residual weakness in that hand and arm. Her medical bills totalled over $50,000.”
Marsters grew up in the Maine foster care system but was a natural athlete, dancer and gymnast, the attorney said. She made her living as an adult performing at clubs around the state. She entered and won pole dancing competitions throughout the country and taught pole dancing classes.
“She lost her livelihood and her passion,” Foster said. “My client and I will remain forever grateful to the attention and effort the jury paid to this matter. Ms. Marsters will now be able to continue to go on with her life and has a future that she can look forward to living.”
Portland attorney Kenneth Pierce, who represents Rogier and State Farm Insurance Co., called the verdict disappointing.
“Obviously, my client Nancy Rogier and I are very disappointed by the verdict,” he said. “While we respect the jury’s decision, we will be assessing our legal options going forward.”
The verdict could be appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to determine if legal errors were made during the trial.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of money Katherine Marsters was awarded and that Nancy Rogier struck the motorcycle. Marsters was awarded $2.5 million, and lawyers say the motorcycle struck Rogier’s car when James Carey tried to pass the car illegally on the right.