The following is a brief synopsis of a few of the more interesting cases that our office has handled. Take note that every case is different and turns on its own set of facts.
Recovered in excess of $750,000.00 in a wrongful death case for the children of a 92 year-old woman who died as a result of injuries suffered when another resident at her nursing home struck her. We were able to show that, even though the other resident had never acted violently towards nursing home residents prior to the tragic incident, he had exhibited violent tendencies toward staff members and his care plan should have taken more precautions to prevent injury to residents on the floor. We also showed that the nursing home was slow to recognize the severity of the decedent’s injuries and slow to get her to the hospital following the incident thereby increasing the likelihood of her demise.
Obtained a judgment in excess of $1.2 million dollars for the sellers of a wholesale auto parts business against the purchasers of said business, who defaulted on their note to the sellers for a portion of the purchase price. The purchasers unsuccessfully argued that the sellers had violated a non-compete clause in the purchase agreement and that they were excused from making further payments on the note.
We recovered a total of $370,000.00 for a truck driver who severely sprained his ankle and then developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in his foot when he stepped on uneven ground at a residential construction site while off-loading HVAC equipment. We were forced to take the workers compensation case to trial because the employer cut off the client’s benefits based on an absurd report submitted by their defense medical examiner, who suggested that the client was faking his CRPS symptoms by somehow causing his foot to swell up and be unnaturally cold at the same time. We were able to show that one of the most well respected foot doctors in the Midwest had diagnosed the CRPS condition and that the defense examiner was not to be believed. The arbitrator not only agreed with us, but also penalized the employer for relying on such a biased report in terminating benefits. We succeeded at two levels of appeal and ultimately settled the workers’ compensation claim for a substantial sum plus a waiver of the workers’ compensation lien. We recovered $220,000.00 for the client in the difficult liability construction negligence case against the HVAC contractor and general contractor. We believe that we could show that the condition of the job site in the area where materials were being delivered was unreasonably dangerous due to poor housekeeping.
We recently successfully tried a workers’ compensation case to establish that our client, who suffered a low back injury was permanently and totally disabled under the “odd-lot” doctrine. The client did not have restrictions saying that he could not work, but we were able to show that due to his age, education, language barriers and lack of transferrable skills, he was highly unlikely to find work. Three different vocational counselors testified in the case. Ultimately the arbitrator agreed with our evidence and arguments and awarded our client permanent total disability benefits for life.
We recovered a $450,000.00 wage differential settlement in a worker’s compensation case for a union carpenter, who injured his shoulder and neck in a fall at work. When we took the case over from another firm (at the insistence of the client), the workers’ compensation insurance company was refusing to pay for any further medical treatment, was trying to send the client back to work and was not paying any temporary total disability benefits. We got the insurance company to agree to have an impartial physician examine the client. We selected a physician, who we knew to be competent and unbiased and the insurance company agreed. The physician immediately identified the client’s problem and operated to repair it. TTD benefits were restored. Unfortunately the injury was so severe that the client could not return to work as a carpenter and we were able to negotiate a very good wage differential settlement.
We recovered a confidential sum in a wrongful death case against a company that operated clinical drug trials. Our clients’ decedent took his own life immediately after completing the in-patient phase of a clinical trial for a psychotropic drug. We believe that the case settled because we established that the company running the drug trial and its lead investigator failed to obtain proper informed consent for the man’s participation in the trial and because they violated safety rules when they discharged him from in-patient observation without notifying any of his family members that he was going to be released under his own supervision.
Obtained a jury verdict that exceeded the driver’s insurance policy limits by $70,000.00 for a woman who suffered a herniated lumbar disc in a motor vehicle accident. She never had the disc repaired because of a strong but understandable fear of back surgery. The insurance carrier denied that the disc herniation was caused by the low impact car accident and offered only $6.000.00 in settlement. Mr. Hughes was able to discredit the insurance company’s medical expert witness by using the doctor’s deposition testimony in other cases during cross-examination. He was able to expose the expert’s bias by showing that in almost identical fact patterns, the expert’s testimony differed based on whether he was testifying as an expert hired by the insurance company or whether he was testifying as a treating physician regarding his own patients. The insurance company ultimately paid the full verdict rather than expose the defendant to garnishment proceedings.
We recovered $230,000.00 in a construction negligence case for a young electrician who suffered a herniated disk in his low back when he tripped and fell over the loose edge of a masonite board that was used to protect carpeting during a commercial tenant build out. We were able to show that the general contractor’s laborers failed to follow proper means and methods of laying the masonite boards and failed to inspect and replace older boards when they became unserviceable.
We recently recovered a confidential sum in a product liability case against the manufacturer and distributor of a “fire pot” bug repellant system for a man who suffered first and second-degree burns as a result of the unexpected ignition of fuel gel vapors as his wife attempted to refill the fire pot during an evening cookout.
We recently recovered full automobile insurance liability coverage in a wrongful death case for the family of a beloved grandmother who was killed when a vehicle struck her as she crossed a busy street against the light during hours of darkness. Although the police accident investigators found that the driver was not at fault, we were able to establish through skillful questioning during depositions that the police investigation was inadequate and that even though the woman was crossing against the light, the driver had ample opportunity to observe her and avoid the collision had he been paying proper attention to the roadway. The driver’s insurance company initially denied the claim outright but ultimately paid its full policy benefits in settlement.
We recovered substantial confidential sums for small children in three different product liability cases against a large retailer who sold lawn tractors that failed to incorporate a simple and inexpensive safety device that prevented the operator from backing up the lawn tractor while the mower blade was engaged, i.e. a “no mow in reverse” device. We were able to establish that the retailer as well as the entire industry had been aware for decades of dozens of disturbingly similar incidents where small children were killed or maimed by the spinning blades of a lawn tractor operated by a family member. We were able to show that a simple no mow in reverse device would have prevented these incidents as well as the tragedies that befell our clients. In our cases, it was clear that the failure to incorporate the device into the design of the lawn tractors was purely a “profits over safety” decision.
We recovered over $1.2 Million in a construction negligence case for a tradesman who suffered a shoulder injury during construction of the “Deep Tunnel” storm water remediation project. Our client slipped and fell while carrying a concrete form board as he attempted to negotiate his way through the slippery and debris strewn tunnel. We showed that due to the confined workspace, wet conditions and dim lighting, it was imperative that the general contractor enforce proper housekeeping on the job to prevent this type of accident. The general contractor failed to monitor the housekeeping on the job site and also failed to take steps to reduce the flow of ground water through the work area and our client was injured as a result.
We recovered $1.1 Million in a construction negligence case for a tradesman who suffered a broken toe and herniated a disk in his low back, when he tripped and fell over an electrical conduit stub-up during the construction of a high-rise building. We were able to establish that, due to the construction technique being used there were an unusual number of mechanical stub-ups protruding from the poured concrete floors of the structure. We showed that the general contractor and the electrical contractors knew that these stub-ups presented a hazard to the tradesmen on the job and that they failed to act to reduce the substantial risk of harm until after our client was injured.
Mr. Hughes recovered over $1.3 Million in a construction negligence case for a tradesman who fractured his wrist when the portable scaffold that he was using fell during the construction of a single-family home. We were able to establish that instead of disposing of the aging scaffold when it became unserviceable, the general contractor negligently repaired the scaffold and it was the negligent repair that failed and caused the client’s injuries.