Trials and Verdicts, 2016

2016 Trials and Verdicts

Defense Verdict in Fatal Parking Lot Fall Case

David Bub and Tyler Finnegan received a defense verdict after a two-week jury trial in St. Louis County Circuit Court. The case involved a fatal fall in a parking lot and brought the potential for a large plaintiff's award, including punitive damages. Plaintiff's final demand had been $1.8 million. The jury was persuaded by David and Tyler's arguments and returned a defense verdict that exonerated their client of all fault for the injury.

Defense Verdict in Property Damage Case
Robert Sonnenfelt came in with a trial win in Greene County (Mo.) Small Claims Court in his first substantive court appearance. The plaintiff alleged that a shed on his property was irreparably destroyed after the defendant lost control of a small fire he started on his own land. Robert argued that the plaintiff could not prove the extent of the alleged damages because he neither actually observed the condition of the shed post-fire, nor did he provide any documentation that could verify the value of the claimed loss.

Defense Verdict in Building Fire Case
After a four day trial, a jury found in favor of Brad Hansmann's defendant client, a construction company, that had been sued for starting a fire that destroyed his client's building.

Defense Verdict and Counterclaim Awarded in Commercial Truck Repair Case
Brendon Sanders received a defense verdict for his defendant commercial truck repair shop. The plaintiff alleged that our client improperly made changes and repairs to Plaintiff’s commercial road tractor. Plaintiff sued for $45,000 in damages for repair work, lost revenue, and future repairs. The jury found in favor of our client, awarding Plaintiff nothing on his breach of contract claim and awarded our client $5,000 on a breach-of-contract counterclaim.

Defense Verdict in Case against Snow Removal Company
Brad Hansmann obtained a defense verdict for his defendant snow removal company in St. Louis County after a three-day jury trial. Plaintiff sustained serious injury after falling on an icy sidewalk. The plaintiff's demand to the jury was $600,000. Brad argued that after his client cleared the sidewalk and applied chemicals, it continued to sleet and have freezing rain for four hours before the plaintiff fell and argued general conditions. The jury responded favorably to his argument and found in his client's favor.
 
Summary Judgment Win in Home Construction Case
David Bub and Jeff Lester obtained summary judgment in a construction defect case brought by a plaintiff-homeowner against our client, the defendant-builder. David and Jeff established that the plaintiff's implied warranty claims were barred by the statute of limitations, that his negligence claim was barred by the economic loss doctrine, and that his express warranty claim was barred by a warranty exclusion for damage caused by soil movement. Also, the court found, as a matter of law, that the builder did not engage in any unfair or deceptive trade practices in violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

Federal Court Defense Win on Workers' Compensation Claim
Chris Vaporean received a defense verdict in federal court on a workers' compensation retaliation claim after a three-day jury trial. The plaintiff claimed his second surgery for work-related injuries was a contributing factor in his termination. Chris, in rebutting the plaintiff's claim, persuaded the jury that the plaintiff had been fired for stealing.

Defense Verdict in Movie Theater Injury Case
Brad Hansmann obtained a defense verdict in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois in a case involving a plaintiff who fell in a movie theater, allegedly because of a sticky condition in her aisle. The plaintiff fractured her femur in the fall and had over $125,000 in medical specials. Brad persuaded the jury that there simply was not enough evidence to show there was anything on the floor at the time of the fall that could have caused the plaintiff to fall.

Successful Apple Orchard Premises Liability Case
John Cunningham successfully defended an apple orchard owner in a premises liability case in St. Clair County, Illinois, in which the plaintiff claimed that she fell in a hole while picking apples. While the plaintiff and her former spouse testified that the hole was present, the orchard's employees were unable to find the alleged hole after the plaintiff's incident. There was likewise no evidence that the orchard was aware of the hole's presence before the alleged accident occurred. Jessica Holliday assisted John with the trial of the case.

Unanimous Trial Victory in Defense Verdict
John Cooney obtained a defense verdict after a two-day jury trial in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois. John convinced the jury to return a defendant's verdict for his client on the plaintiff's claim that his client had caused a fire that burned down the plaintiff's building by mowing a hay field in severe drought conditions. The jury returned a unanimous verdict for John's client, finding there was not enough evidence to show that his client's mowing on an adjacent property was the actual cause of the field fire that destroyed the plaintiff's building.

Defense Verdict for In-Home Day Care Operator
Jeff Lester successfully defended an in-home day care operator in a negligent supervision claim involving injury to a three-year-old child. The child and his mother claimed over $35,000 in medical specials, over $7,000 in lost wages for the mother, and damages for pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life for the child. After a multi-day trial, Jeff received a defense verdict for his client from the jury, which found his client was not at fault for the injury.

Summary Judgment in Duty of Care Real Estate Case
John Cunningham and Jessica Holliday obtained summary judgment for a real estate agency and a real estate agent in Madison County, Illinois. The plaintiff alleged the real estate agency and agent owed the plaintiff a duty of care with respect to the condition on a property for sale that allegedly caused the plaintiff's injury. John and Jessica successfully argued that the real estate agency and agent owed no duty to the plaintiff as a matter of law because they did not own or control the property and did not create the allegedly dangerous condition.

Summary Judgment in Slip and Fall Case
Beth Silker obtained summary judgment for her client, the defendant in a premises liability case. The plaintiff claimed medical specials and lost wages exceeding $475,000 arising from a slip-and-fall incident on the sidewalk outside of a gas station convenience store. The judge agreed with Beth that the plaintiff could not establish that a dangerous condition existed or caused his fall, or that the defendant had notice of any such condition, and granted summary judgment in her client's favor.

Favorable Appellate Result in Insurance Case 
Corey Kraushaar obtained a favorable result in the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals. In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment for his client, a first-party property insurer, under the policy's intentional act exclusion in a case in which the insured attempted suicide by setting his garage on fire. The Court of Appeals held the evidence demonstrated that the insured understood he was setting a fire and had carried out the act with plan and intent. The Court of Appeals also held the insured had materially breached the policy's cooperation clause when he failed to submit to an examination under oath.

Partial Summary Win on Insured's Vexatious-Refusal-To-Pay Claim
Matt Haas obtained partial summary judgment for his insurer client on the insured's vexatious-refusal-to-pay claim. Matt convinced the trial court to remove the insured's vexatious claim from the case because the insurer had denied the claim on grounds that the insured had intentionally burned his home and made misrepresentations in the presentation of the loss.

Defense Verdict Affirmed by Appeals Court in Uninsured Motorist Trial
Irene Marusic, in an appellate victory, persuaded the appellate court to affirm a defense verdict that she obtained for her insurance client in an uninsured motorist trial. The court affirmed the jury's verdict for Irene's client, holding the trial court did not err in refusing to permit the plaintiff to argue or submit the issue of comparative fault to the jury because there was no evidence of comparative fault at trial.

Summary Judgment Win for a Local Municipality
In a summary judgment win for a local municipality, Timothy Wolf and Andrew Kaiser persuaded the trial court to conclude that the municipality's purchase of liability insurance did not waive sovereign immunity because the policy granted the municipality the option of raising sovereign immunity as a defense.

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