Trials and Verdicts, 2015

Thousands of Cases Tried

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October 2015

As in Original Trial, Defense Verdict in Health Care Liability Case Retrial
Phil Willman and Angela Pozzo obtained a defense verdict in the retrial of a case that was also decided in their client's favor in 2011. The plaintiff's lawsuit alleged negligence in the diagnosis of an eye problem that ultimately led to a loss of eye sight. Counsel for plaintiff asked the St. Louis County jury for more than $2 million in damages. As in the original trial, the jury found that the routine eye exam provided to the plaintiff could not have discovered the condition that ultimately led to the impairment.

Summary Judgment Win in Premises Liability Case
Brandon Copeland and Nathan Davis won summary judgement on a property damage in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City. The plaintiff alleged that our client/landlord was responsible for damage to his car when part of the roof of our client's building blew off and landed on the car. The plaintiff's car was a total loss. Brandon and Nathan argued the plaintiff's claim was barred by exculpatory clauses in our client's parking and lease agreements.

Father-Son Win Trespass and Conversion Case
John Cooney brought in a defendant's jury verdict after a two-day jury trial in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Missouri. John defended a tree company against an adjoining landowner's trespass and conversion claims. The jury found that John's client did not trespass and only took trees that he had a right to cut per an easement. In a happy coincidence, John had the honor of trying the case with his lawyer father, who had been retained to represent the co-defendant landowner who had hired the tree company that John represented.

Sizable Defense Win in Product Liability Case
Patrick Bousquet and Brad Hansmann came in with a big appellate win when the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the jury's 2014 defense verdict for Brad's client in a large three-week multi-million dollar product liability lawsuit involving a paralyzed plaintiff. Patrick was charged with the job of holding the verdict on appeal.


August 2015

Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case
David Ellington and Halle Dimar obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case in Marion County, Missouri. David and Halle represented a multi-specialty clinic in a case involving a bowel perforation following a vaginal hysterectomy. The plaintiff argued the surgery was unnecessary, that she was not a candidate for a vaginal hysterectomy due to her prior surgical history, and that the perforation was not timely diagnosed and treated. The plaintiff's expert witnesses included the surgeon who repaired the bowel injury, the critical care physician who accepted transfer of the patient to another hospital, and an OB/GYN expert who testified principally for defendants. The plaintiff incurred medical bills in excess of $800,000 and lost wages from her inability to return to work as a home health aide. The plaintiff sought $5.5 million in damages. After two hours of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict.

Defense Verdict for Cab Company in Brain Injury Case
Brad Hansmann received a defendant's verdict for his cab company client in a personal injury action brought against the cab company whose driver ran off the road in a one-car collision and the plaintiff passenger claimed a brain injury. After a two-week trial, the jury returned an 11-1 verdict for Brad's client. Although the plaintiff's lawyers brought in medical experts from around the country, including the well-traveled Dr. Benson, who testified the plaintiff was totally disabled from the brain injury, the jury did not buy the injury claim because there was little to no damage to the car and the plaintiff's symptoms did not immediately arise after the accident. At trial, plaintiff's counsel asked for $4 million in damages based on over $100,000 in medical specials and evidence of total disability supported with substantial life care plans and vocational rehab experts. John Greffet assisted Brad in the case's defense.

Restaurant Prevails in Slip-and-Fall Case
Joseph Swift successfully defended a restaurant client in a premises liability case in which the plaintiff had sustained substantial injuries as a result of the fall that required the replacement of her artificial knee. The plaintiff denied the presence of a wet floor sign in an area where the floor had recently been mopped; however, an independent witness testified that the sign was in place at the time of the plaintiff's fall.

Summary Judgment for Insurer in UIM Stacking Case
In a summary judgment win for an insurer in an underinsured motorist stacking case in federal court, Lucas Ude persuaded the court to conclude as a matter of law that no stacking was permissible under the policy. This is a rare win in Missouri for an insurer in a UIM stacking case.

Defense Verdict for Municipality in a Sanitary Sewer Back-Up Case
Matthew Koehler successfully defended a municipality in a case involving inverse condemnation claims by two sets of plaintiffs for a sanitary sewer backup in their homes. The backup was a result of storm water entering the sanitary sewer system due to flash flooding from an extremely large rain storm in September 2006. Each set of plaintiffs experienced approximately five feet of sewer backup. In addition, one set of plaintiffs submitted a second inverse condemnation claim due to a second backup resulting from a very large rain storm in April 2014. The total damages claimed for all three claims was $328,000. The jury returned a verdict for Matthew's client on all three claims.

Class Action Lawsuit Decertified
Tim Wolf, Bob Carter, and David McCourt won a significant class action victory in the Circuit Court of Jackson County in a blast fax case that had been pending for over four years when the trial court entered an order sustaining their motion to decertify the class. The plaintiffs' settlement demand had been in excess of $5 million with potential damages totaling over $10 million. The trial court's decertification order, for all intents and purposes, decided the case in our client's favor.

Defense Verdict in Slip-and-Fall Case
John Cooney obtained a defendant's verdict in a Pike County jury trial. The plaintiff sued his son for personal injuries that he sustained when he fell down stairs allegedly as a result of his son's negligence. The jury returned a unanimous verdict for John's client.

Defense Verdict in Dock Electrocution Case
Jackie Kinder received a jury verdict for her defendant landowner at the Lake of the Ozarks. The landowner's dock became electrified when a defective electrical wire in the dock's lights energized the dock and surrounding water. A neighbor who came over to use the dock and swim while Jackie's client was out of town was electrocuted. Jackie's client had no notice of the defect. The jury, after a several-day trial, returned a defense verdict for Jackie's client.

Eighth Circuit Appellate Victory Concerning the Reasonable Value of Medical Specials
Patrick Bousquet and Brad Hansmann obtained a big win before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in a UIM matter. Brad had tried the UIM case a year ago in a week-long trial and won. The case involved a demand for the policy's $1 million policy limits. On appeal, the principal question was whether the district court erred in permitting Brad to argue under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 490.715.5 and Deck v. Teasley, 322 S.W.3d 536 (Mo. banc 2010), that the reasonable value of the plaintiff's medical bills was the amount that was paid to satisfy them rather than the total amount billed. The plaintiff argued these authorities were inapplicable because the claim was a contract action. The Eighth Circuit disagreed and applied the Deck decision in Brad and Patrick's favor. This case has decided this issue for cases pending in federal court and will have persuasive effect on state court cases as well.


June 2015

Defense Verdict for Landlord Client in Personal Injury Case
John P. Cunningham obtained a defense verdict for his client, a residential landlord, in a personal injury suit filed in St. Clair County, Illinois. The plaintiff, a tenant, claimed that she fell down carpeted stairs and suffered three fractures to her ankle as a result of her landlord negligently maintaining the rental property and failing to repair portions of loose carpet on the stairs after being requested to do so. The plaintiff asked for $166,000 in damages, however, the jury returned a defense verdict after less than 15 minutes of deliberations.

Contractor Cleared in Construction Negligence Case
Jacqueline M. Kinder came in with a defense verdict for her general contractor client in St. Louis County Circuit Court who allegedly caused a fire in the plaintiffs' home while welding. The St. Louis County jury returned a unanimous verdict for the contractor.

Jury Allocates Majority of Fault to Plaintiff in Vehicle Collision Case
Joseph R. Swift successfully defended a trucking company in a case in St. Louis City Circuit Court regarding an intersection collision between a tractor trailer and another truck where stop lights were malfunctioning. The jury trial resulted in a net verdict value of just over $2700, and 90% of fault was allocated to the plaintiff.

Summary Judgement for Insurer Upholding Business Use Exclusion
Patrick A. Bousquet and Russell F. Watters convinced the United States District Court for the Southern Illinois to grant their insurance client summary judgment on a coverage case involving the business use of the insured's car to deliver pizzas. The district court ruled that the personal auto liability carrier had no duty to defend or afford coverage to its insured because the insured was engaged in a business use of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Plaintiff Denied Damages, Alleged Injuries Due to Pre-Existing Condition
Jacqueline M. Kinder and Brendon T. Sanders brought in a jury verdict for their defendant driver who allegedly rear-ended the plaintiff in a parking lot. The plaintiff claimed over $15,000 in medical, including damages for an anticipated future back surgery. Jackie convinced the jury that the plaintiff's injuries were due to a prior existing condition.

Subrogation Case Involving Hangar Collapse Settled After One Day of Trial
Corey L. Kraushaar and John P. Cunningham successfully prosecuted a subrogation case on their insurer client's behalf against the building's engineer, obtaining a $1.4 million settlement after one day of trial. The client insured two airplanes that were undergoing renovation in a hangar that collapsed during a storm, resulting in damage to both planes. Before trial, Corey and John obtained separate settlements from the other defendant in the case.

Successful Verdict in Third-Party Construction Defect Case
Brandon B. Copeland and David W. Reynolds brought in a verdict for their client in a complicated contribution action in St. Charles County Circuit Court. Brandon's client paid a settlement to the plaintiff in the case and then pursued a third-party action against the defendant who refused to contribute to the settlement. Brandon persuaded the jury in the contribution action that the defendant he sued was one hundred percent at fault for the plaintiff's damages.

Insurer Gets Favorable Judgment in Equitable Garnishment Action
Elaine M. Moss successfully defended her insurance company client in a large-stakes equitable garnishment action in which the plaintiffs sought to satisfy a $5.4 million consent judgment entered against the insured contractor after the contractor entered into a contract to limit recovery following the insurer's declination of coverage. In the trial of the garnishment action, Elaine obtained a declaration of no coverage.

Court Awards $4.4 Million Dollar Verdict to Insurer Against Insured For Filing a Fraudulent Claim
Bradley R. Hansmann obtained a $4.4 million verdict for his insurance client against an insured who filed a fraudulent insurance claim. The insured had filed a declaratory judgment action against the insurer for additional coverage amounts, and Brad counter-claimed for fraud and damages, including the sums the insurer paid to the insured's lenders. The insured's claim was dismissed by the court and the trial court found in favor of Brad's client on the fraud counterclaim and awarded all the amounts the insurer paid to lenders as well as attorney's fees, and costs of the litigation.

Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case for Orthopedic Practice Group
Peter F. Spataro and Morgan C. Murphy obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case in St. Louis County after a six-day trial. Peter and Morgan represented an orthopedic surgeon and his practice group in a case in which the plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to timely respond to postoperative phone calls, causing a delay in the diagnosis of an infected ankle joint.. The plaintiff asked the jury for over $600,000 in damages. After an hour and a half of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict for all named defendants.


May 2015

Breach of Contract Case Dismissed due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction
Steven H. Schwartz and Katherine B. Fezzi won a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in a breach of contract case in the Eastern District of Missouri. The case was filed in Missouri state court against our client, a Vermont-based corporation. Steve and Katherine first had the case removed to federal court, and then argued that the case should be dismissed because the Eastern District of Missouri did not have personal jurisdiction over their client. The client was located in Vermont, and had no connections to Missouri. It was also argued that if the court found that there was personal jurisdiction then, in the alternative, the case should be transferred to Vermont, the only state where the client had any connections. The Eastern District of Missouri agreed that it had no personal jurisdiction over the client and dismissed the case.

Defendant's Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case Involving Hip Replacement Surgery
Peter F. Spataro and Morgan C. Murphy obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. The plaintiff alleged she suffered increased disability from the defendant physician's incorrect choice of a hip replacement prosthesis. The plaintiff's subsequent treating surgeon, who revised the hip prosthesis, criticized the defendant surgeon's methods. The jury disbelieved that the defendant's surgery had any effect on plaintiff's condition and returned a unanimous verdict for the defendant.

Summary Judgment in Fire Loss Case
Stacey R. McCullough obtained summary judgment for her insurance company client in a first-party fire loss case involving over $300,000 in claimed damages. The Iron County Circuit Court ruled for Stacey on her misrepresentation-in-the-application defense, holding the insured was bound by the application's contents, regardless of whether the insured read the application, because the insured admittedly signed the completed application directly beneath a warranty statement.

Unanimous Verdict for Telecommunications Client in Breach of Contract Case
Christine A. Vaporean, assisted by Brittney K. Amann, successfully prosecuted a breach of contract claim on behalf of a telecommunications company against its former employee who reneged on his employment contract to "work-off" the substantial sums that the company had paid to train him. The employee, in opposition, counterclaimed for unpaid vacation and overtime. On both the contract action and the employee's counterclaim, the jury returned a unanimous verdict for Chris's client after a five-day trial in just over 30 minutes.

Defendant's Verdict in Automobile Accident in City of St. Louis
Bradley R. Hansmann obtained a defense verdict in the City of St. Louis after a driver and passenger filed suit against Brad's client, alleging his client crossed center and struck the plaintiffs' vehicle, causing injuries to both the plaintiff and driver, along with lost wages. The jury returned a defense verdict finding the driver of the other vehicle entirely at fault.

Summary Judgment for Insurance Company Client in Jewelry Disappearance Case
Brandon B. Copeland and David W. Reynolds obtained summary judgment in St. Louis County for their insurance company client on a claim for the mysterious disappearance of more than $30,000.00 in scheduled jewelry. The court held a previous Claim Withdrawal Form barred the insured's resubmission of the claim several years after it was originally presented.

Slip-and-Fall Case Granted Summary Judgment in Defendant's Favor
John P. Cunningham and Jessica S. Holliday obtained summary judgment in a slip-and-fall case in Madison County, Illinois. The plaintiff claimed that he fell over construction materials and electrical cords while at a dance hall owned by the defendant, but leased by another entity at the time of the incident. Summary judgment was granted in the defendant's favor, because the defendant owed no duty to the plaintiff, in that the hall was leased to another entity, and the plaintiff was unable to provide any evidence regarding the cause of his fall.

Case Dismissed for Fraud and Material Misrepresentations
The plaintiff dismissed its lawsuit in response to a motion for summary judgment filed by Justin S. Chapell and Nicholas A. Cammarata. The plaintiff was the lienholder on an automobile that was totaled by the insured, who fled the scene of the accident on foot and filed a false police report. The insured's claim was denied for fraud and material misrepresentations. The policy's lienholder provisions stated that the lienholder's interests are not protected in the event of fraud or material misrepresentation by the insured, which provided the basis for the motion for summary judgment.

Contractor Client Wins in On-The-Job Fall Case
In southern Illinois, Bradley R. Hansmann tried a week-long case in the federal court and obtained a favorable jury verdict for his contractor client who had been sued by an employee of another contractor for an on-the-job fall. Although the plaintiff asked for almost $2 million in damages, having over $500,000 in total specials, the jury only awarded $300,000. The lowest demand in the case was $925,000.

Summary Judgment in UIM Case
Justin S. Chapell and Nicholas A. Cammarata obtained summary judgment in a UIM wrongful death claim for their insurer client in two separate cases arising out of the same accident. The first case was brought by the decedent's spouse in St. Louis City where the court ruled there was no UIM coverage because the tortfeasor's liability coverage was greater than the insured's UIM coverage. Later, in St. Louis County, the decedent's children, claiming they had no notice of the wife's lawsuit, filed their own lawsuit for UIM coverage. There, the court ruled for Justin and Nick's client as well, finding the children's claim barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel.


April 2015

Trip-and-Fall Case Concludes with Defendant's Verdict
Irene J. Marusic brought in a defendant's verdict when a Greene County jury returned a unanimous verdict for her client who owned a historic banquet hall. The plaintiff tripped and fell on a step leading to one of the hall's upper rooms and incurred $90,000 in medical bills. The jury found no fault on the defendant business owner's part.

Defendant in Auto Collision Trial Gets Unanimous Verdict
Jacqueline M. Kinder received a defendant's jury verdict in the City of St. Louis in a case in which the plaintiffs claimed over $40,000 in medical expenses. The plaintiffs claimed Jackie's client ran into their vehicle while the defendant claimed the plaintiffs had cut him off on the highway. The jury returned a unanimous verdict for Jackie's client.

No Viable Cause of Action against Condo Association
In a lawsuit brought by condominium owners against their condominium association, Patrick A. Bousquet convinced the appellate court that the condominium owners had no viable cause of action against the association. In a complex action over condominium fees and expenses, Patrick obtained a complete victory for the condominium association.

Unanimous Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Trial
Christine A. Vaporean and Kroopa Desai obtained a unanimous defense verdict in federal court for their client, a physician on a prison medical staff, in a case in which a prison inmate alleged medical malpractice and deprivation of his constitutional rights related to his medical care while incarcerated at the St. Louis County Jail.

Summary Judgment for Insurer in Stacking Case
Russell F. Watters obtained summary judgment in Pettis County, Missouri, for his insurance company client in a $200,000 UM stacking case. The court found the policy's anti-stacking language to be clear and enforceable.

Appellate Victory for Rental Car Company Insurer
Russell F. Watters, on behalf of a national rental car company and its insurer, obtained an appellate court victory when the appellate court held there was no coverage for an unauthorized driver of a rental car. The appellate court, in ruling for Russ's clients, ruled that prohibitions in the rental agreement concerning the illegal use of the rental vehicle were valid and enforceable, and, thus, barred coverage for the vehicle's driver who had been sued by a third party who was injured as a result of an accident involving the rental vehicle.

Defendant's Verdict in Madison County Auto Collision Trial
John P. Cunningham obtained a defense verdict in an auto collision trial in Madison County. The plaintiff in the minor rear-end collision case claimed neck and back injuries and $30,000 in medical bills. The jury returned a verdict for the defendant.

Summary Judgment Affirmed in Wheelchair Accident Case
John P. Rahoy, Edward W. Zeidler II, Teresa M. Young, and Kelly M. Brunie convinced the Missouri Court of Appeals to affirm a summary judgment in their defendant's favor. In this case, the defense presented testimony that the plaintiff had disembarked from a transport van and traveled several feet from the van before falling from her wheelchair. The plaintiff disputed this testimony by introducing statements found in plaintiff's medical records suggesting the accident took place as she disembarked. On appeal, the Court held that the trial court correctly disregarded the hearsay statements contained in the plaintiff's medical records, holding the statements did not fall within the "treating physician" hearsay exception because statements regarding how and where the accident occurred were not pertinent to the plaintiff's treatment.

Limitation-of-Liability Provision in Defendant's Contract Not Enforceable in Business Litigation Case
David R. McCourt and Russell F. Watters obtained partial summary judgment in a business litigation case in the federal court, convincing the district court that the $50,000 limitation-of-liability provision in the defendant's contract with the plaintiff was not an enforceable defense to their client's claim. This ruling increased the realm of potentially covered damages for their client by $11 million.

Insurance Company Wins First-Party Fraud Case
David P. Bub brought in a defendant's jury verdict in a first-party fraud case in Morgan County, Missouri, on behalf of his insurance company client. The jury, in ruling for the insurer, found the insured had committed fraud in a $125,000 property damage claim.

District Court Rules for Insurer in Class Action Pollution Case
Russell F. Watters, T. Michael Ward, Robert L. Carter, and David R. McCourt obtained summary judgment in a large class action pollution case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The district court sustained their insurance company client's motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding the insurer's pollution exclusion provided a complete defense to coverage for the substantial underlying judgment that was entered against the insured following a Section 537.065 agreement.

Summary Judgment for Defendant in Uninsured Motorist Claim
Irene J. Marusic and Alexandra C. Wells won summary judgment for their insurance company client in an uninsured motorist case in federal court. The court held the set-off provision in the insurer's UM coverage part was valid and enforceable and, thus, provided a complete defense to the insureds' UM claim.


February/March 2015

Missouri Supreme Court Hears Co-Employee Liability Cases
Since the 2005 amendments to the Missouri Workers' Compensation Act and the subsequent judicial decisions interpreting the Act to eliminate the immunity that had long protected employees from common-law negligence claims by their co-employees, there has been a flood of co-employee liability cases in Missouri that have been the bane of employers, their employees, and their insurers. These claims have resulted in conflicting decisions from Missouri's appellate courts that have left the law unsettled concerning the duties owed by employees to their fellow employees for workplace accidents.

The Missouri Supreme Court now has the opportunity to resolve these issues for the guidance of employers, employees, and their insurers. On February 24, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Peters v. Terrio, No. SC94442 (Mo. banc), a co-employee liability case. Teresa M. Young, of our Appellate Practice Group, argued the case on behalf of the defendant co-employee. On the same date, the Court also heard oral arguments in Parr v. Breeden, No. SC94393 (Mo. banc), a co-employee liability companion case.

Together, the Peters and Parr cases should define for the future Missouri co-employee liability law for all cases subject to the 2005 amendments to the Missouri Workers' Compensation Act. Here are links to audio MP3 files of the oral arguments:
Decisions on these cases are expected sometime this spring.

Summary Judgment Obtained for Employer Client in Employment Discrimination Claim
Denise Baker-Seal prevailed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in an employment discrimination case brought by a plaintiff physician. The Seventh Circuit, in affirming the district court's summary judgment for Denise's client, rejected the physician's claim of racial discrimination and retaliation under Title VII arising out of the employer's decision to offer the physician a non-management position.

Supervisor Not Liable to Co-Worker for Workplace Accident
In a co-employee liability case, David P. Bub and David W. Reynolds convinced the Missouri Court of Appeals that their defendant co-employee, a supervisor, was not liable as a matter of law for the injuries of the plaintiff co-employee because the allegations against the defendant fell under the employer's non-delegable duty to provide a safe work place. The Court, in ruling for the firm's client, held the supervisor could have no duty to the plaintiff for a company policy that the supervisor did not create and for which he had no responsibility to implement.

Unanimous Defense Verdict in Wrongful Death Case
Brian R. Plegge and Justin A. Hardin obtained a unanimous defense verdict in a wrongful death case tried in Stoddard County, Missouri. In the case against a 911 operator, the decedent called 911 to report that a carpenter checking a bare wire in his attic had collapsed and was unresponsive. The 911 operator asked the decedent to see if the carpenter was breathing. The decedent allegedly touched the carpenter or a "hot" electrical wire and both the decedent and the carpenter were found dead because of electrocution. Plaintiffs claimed that the 911 operator should have advised the decedent to turn off the electricity in the house immediately and/or not to touch the decedent.

Jury Rejects Plaintiff's Injury Claim in Auto Case
A St. Louis County jury returned a defendant's verdict for J.C. Pleban's client in a T-Bone type automobile collision in which his client, while attempting to cross a through street, was hit by the plaintiff who had the right of way. J.C. convinced the jury that since there was very little damage to the plaintiff's car, the plaintiff could not have been injured as the plaintiff had claimed. The plaintiff had run up $10,000 in medical bills in what was a very minor accident.

Claims-Made Policy Provisions Upheld on Appeal
Steven H. Schwartz and Teresa M. Young prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in an appeal brought by the insured following a district court ruling for their insurance company client in a declaratory judgment action addressing coverage under a claims-made policy. The Eighth Circuit held that emails obtained during discovery established that a claim had been made against the insured during the first policy period, but not reported until a later policy period. The Court also rejected the insured's argument that a carrier must show prejudice to succeed on a policy defense, explaining that notice is the heart of a claims-made policy and, therefore, not subject to a prejudice requirement.

Jury Finds for Insurer in First-Party Fire Loss Case
Robert L. Brady came in with a defendant's verdict in an insurance fraud case. The plaintiff insured had submitted a false and grossly exaggerated personal property inventory claim. Although the plaintiff had initially presented a covered claim, the jury, after five hours of deliberation, returned a defense verdict for Bob's insurance company client on the insured's entire claim based on the insured's phony personal property claim.

Missouri Supreme Court Finds for Defendant in Fraud Case
Patrick A. Bousquet prevailed in the Missouri Supreme Court in a business litigation case involving allegations of fraud. The Supreme Court, in affirming the jury verdict for his client, held that even though the defendant's representation of a future event was false, the plaintiff had failed to prove that the defendant knew the statement was false when the representation was made.

Slip and Fall Case Decided for Property Manager
Jeffrey D. Lester came in with a victory in St. Louis City Circuit Court. The plaintiff claimed a slip and fall at a commercial building where our client was the property manager. The plaintiff claimed he slipped on cardboard on a stairway that was not properly lit. The plaintiff's last demand was $250,000; the last offer was $10,000. The jury, which attributed only eighteen percent fault to the plaintiff, did not believe the plaintiff's injury claim and awarded a net verdict of only $3,690 against Jeff's client.

Defense Verdict in Auto Collision Case
In Greene County Circuit Court, Irene J. Marusic persuaded the jury that her client, who rear-ended the plaintiff, had been forced into the plaintiff's car by another vehicle coming from the defendant's left. The plaintiff claimed our client caused the plaintiff to require rotator cuff surgery with over $70,000 in medical bills. The twelve jurors, who returned a unanimous verdict for Irene's client, commented after trial that the plaintiff should have sued the other driver who was involved in the collision. Throughout the case, Irene had argued that the other driver's conduct was the sole cause of the accident.

Go-Kart Seller Prevails in Wrongful Death Action
Justin A. Hardin represented a company that allegedly sold a defective go-kart. The families of two decedents filed wrongful death actions after their decedents were killed in a go-kart accident on the same date in which the go-kart was purchased. The families demanded more than $5 million and claimed aggravating circumstances. Justin obtained summary judgment for the alleged seller before trial; judgment was affirmed on appeal. The case was covered in WestLaw Journal Automotive.


January 2015

Summary Judgment for Car Dealer in Merchandising Practices Act Case
John Greffet won a huge victory for his defendant car dealer client in a Missouri Merchandising Practices Act case where the customer claimed over $100,000 in damages, attorney fees, interest, and consequential damages. The jury returned only a $1,500 verdict after a three-day trial in the City of St. Louis.

Defense Verdict in Case against Physician
Ken Burke and Tucker Blaser won summary judgment in St. Clair County Circuit Court in a case that involved an action alleging medical malpractice and breach of contract claims against a physician and his practice group. A motion to dismiss the medical malpractice claims was filed on the grounds that the plaintiff's proffered certificate of merit was insufficient under the requirements of the Illinois Healing Arts Malpractice Act. The court granted the motion and dismissed the medical malpractice claims with prejudice. A summary judgment motion was then filed on the remaining breach of contract claim arguing that the alleged oral contract that formed the basis of the breach of contract claim lacked consideration and/or was rescinded through subsequent performance of the parties. The court granted the summary judgment motion and entered an order dismissing the breach of contract claim with prejudice effectively resolving the entire case.

Fraud Case Ruled in Favor of Car Dealer
In a bench trial, Jackie Kinder obtained a judgment for her client, an automobile dealer who was sued for fraud in the sale of a classic car. In ruling for Jackie's client, the court not only ruled against the customer but also awarded damages for Jackie's client for breach of contract and consequential damages, including attorney fees, under the original sales contract that the customer had failed to honor for the vehicle's purchase.

Jury Finds for Physician in Medical Malpractice Case
Peter Spataro and Morgan Murphy obtained a defense verdict after a week-long medical malpractice trial in St. Louis County Circuit Court. The plaintiff alleged the defendant failed to timely diagnose and treat a DVT/pulmonary embolism (PE) following a lumbar spine surgery. The decedent had experienced symptoms suggesting a PE. When chest CT results confirmed a PE, the defendant prescribed heparin. The decedent died within an hour of the heparin order and heparin was never administered before his death. The plaintiff's expert alleged that the defendant should have prescribed heparin immediately. However, the defendant's expert emphasized the risk of bleeding if heparin were ordered without first confirming PE, and furthermore, testified that the heparin ordered would not have prevented the decedent's death three hours after the chest CT was ordered.

Defense Verdict for Hospital and Physicians Group
Phil Willman and Angela Pozzo won a unanimous defense verdict for their clients, a hospital and affiliated emergency physicians group, in a wrongful death/medical malpractice/negligent credentialing case. The case involved a 49-year-old man taken to the hospital's emergency room after complaining of chest and abdominal pain, and who died after having a heart attack in the emergency room six hours later. The decedent weighed 325 pounds, was hypertensive and smoked two packs of cigarettes daily. The plaintiffs alleged that the hospital and emergency room doctor failed to timely diagnose and intervene before the fatal cardiac arrest. Phil and Angela took the position that the hospital and physician did all they could to care for the decedent in a timely manner, and there was no relationship between the actions of the hospital's employees and this death. At trial, the plaintiffs had sought $2.37 million in damages.

Favorable Result for Product Defendant in Asbestos Exposure Case
Beth Veath, Tucker Blaser and Ben Ford recently obtained a favorable result for a product defendant in an asbestos exposure lawsuit filed in Madison County by successfully arguing for the application of Michigan law, and its bar of secondary asbestos exposure claims. The complaint alleged that the decedent had been exposed to asbestos fibers and developed mesothelioma because she washed the clothes of her husband, who worked with asbestos-containing floor materials.

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