Trials and Verdicts, 2017
Defense Verdict in Case Involving Fall at Family Home
John Cooney obtained a defense verdict in a case in which the plaintiff filed suit for negligence against her daughter as a result of a fall that occurred in her daughter’s home. The plaintiff alleged that her daughter’s dog jumped from a couch and made contact with her leg, causing her to fall and sustain injuries. The plaintiff alleged that her daughter was negligent in failing to remove the dog from her home prior to her entrance into the home. The defendant denied she was negligent in causing the injury. The case was tried to a jury over two days. The jury allocated zero fault to the plaintiff and zero fault to the defendant and awarded zero damages.
Summary Judgment in Defamation and Conspiracy Case
Justin Hardin obtained summary judgment in a case involving a defamation and conspiracy to commit defamation claim made by the former independent contractor for an emergency dispatching agency. Plaintiff claimed that her contract to serve as an IT consultant for a dispatching agency was wrongfully terminated and alleged she was defamed by a board member and the executive director who allegedly claimed she took kickbacks from vendors and overbilled the agency by thousands of dollars. Mr. Hardin first obtained summary judgment on behalf of the dispatching agency on the basis of sovereign immunity and then successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of the remaining individual defendants based on official immunity.
Defense Verdict in Construction Defect Case
Brandon Copeland and David Bub obtained a defense verdict for their client, O.J. Laughlin Plumbing Co. The plaintiffs alleged that defendants failed to construct a large addition to their home in a workmanlike manner, resulting in damage and mold throughout the home. As a result, the plaintiffs vacated the home for six months while remediation and repairs took place and discarded much of their personal property. After eight days of trial, and almost three days of deliberations, the jury returned with a full defense verdict for the client.
Defense Verdict in Abdominal Surgery Case
Philip Willman and Justin Hardin obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case involving abdominal surgery. Plaintiff had elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy and suffered a bowel perforation. Plaintiff alleged the defendants should have performed the repair surgery a day earlier. Defendants argued the doctor acted appropriately. The plaintiff requested $450,000, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.
Summary Judgment in Illinois Dram Shop case
Russell Watters and Brendon Sanders recently obtained summary judgment on a dram shop claim in Christian County, Ill. Plaintiff argued that the defendant, a convenience store and gas station, sold alcohol to a patron who then assaulted plaintiff. The court granted summary judgment on behalf of the convenience store, finding that the amount of alcohol sold and consumed by plaintiff’s alleged assailant was de minimis and could not have been the proximate cause of the later altercation.
Summary Judgment in Defamation Case
Robert L. Brady
and Jonathan B. Morrow
recently obtained summary judgment on a defamation claim in the Western District of Missouri Federal Court. The insured’s counsel argued that the company’s communication with NICB and the Missouri Department of Insurance regarding a pending arson claim constituted defamation. The court rejected this argument and held that the company’s statements qualified for immunity under Missouri law.
Defense Verdict in Hotel Fire Case
Robert L. Brady
and Jonathan B. Morrow
obtained a defense verdict in an arson trial for Allstate Indemnity Company in the Western District of Missouri Federal Court. The case involved a fire at a large hotel, and the exposure was well over $900,000. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the insurance company.
Defense Verdict in Arson Trial
Jonathan B. Morrow
obtained a full defense verdict in an arson trial in the Eastern District of Missouri Federal Court. The insured’s counsel asked the jury for more than $500,000. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the insurance company.
Favorable Decision in Injury Auto Accident Case
and Derek MacKay
obtained a favorable verdict for an auto insurer in a clear liability auto accident case. The case involved crush fractures of an ankle joint that required a series of surgeries and a high likelihood for a poor outcome. There was significant past and future medical specials. The pre-trial offer was $250,000, and the jury returned a verdict for $175,000.
Client Win in Breach of Contract Case
obtained a jury win in a plaintiff’s case in St. Louis County. The case involved a breach of an employment contract on the part of the former employer. After a three-day trial, the jury returned a $176,000 verdict.
Defense Verdict in Spinal Injury Case
Kenneth Burke obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case involving a spinal injury. Plaintiff had fallen and sought treatment in the emergency room. He was diagnosed with a shoulder sprain and was later found to have a spinal infection. Plaintiff alleged the defendants should have ordered a CT scan. After deliberating for about two hours, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.
Defense Verdict in Football Shuttle Case
Brandon Copeland and David Bub obtained a defense verdict in a personal injury case involving a shuttle used for transportation from defendant’s restaurant to University of Missouri home football games. Plaintiff was injured as he exited from the emergency exit of a school bus when the front door of the bus “jammed” causing passengers to exit from the back. Plaintiff injured his leg as he stepped off the rear of the bus. He alleged the defendant was responsible for the bus driver’s negligent actions and the defendant’s failure to hire a competent transportation company to operate the shuttle. Plaintiff sustained $153,000 in medical bills ($51,000 after adjustments) as a result of treatment for his injury. The jury returned an 11-1 verdict in favor of the defendant.
Favorable Appellate Result in Insurance Stacking Case
Joseph Krispin obtained a favorable result in the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals. The court reversed the trial judge's ruling and entered judgment for the firm's insurance company client holding that the underinsured motorist (UIM) policy did not stack. The declarations page of the policy, which identified the three vehicles insured under the policy and the premium paid for UIM coverage on each, did not promise UIM coverages could be stacked. Thus, it did not create an ambiguity with the unambiguous anti-stacking provisions in the policy. This is an important decision that follows the Swadley and Craig UIM cases handed down by the Supreme Court earlier this year.
Defense Verdict in Fatal Fall Case
David Bub and Tyler Finnegan obtained a defense verdict in a fatal fall case from a St. Louis County, Mo., jury. The family of the decedent claimed the retail property was in disrepair, causing her fall and subsequent death. The defense pointed to disputed accounts of the fall and the small nature of the crack. Before trial, the family requested $12 million and rejected offers of $75,000 and $300,000. At trial, the family sought $3 million. The jury returned a defense verdict.
Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case
Bruce E. Hunt
obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case from a Polk County, Mo., jury. Plaintiff alleged her bowel was perforated when the defendant performed a vaginal hysterectomy with colpopexy. Defendant’s evidence was the bowel perforation occurred because of a post-operative vaginal cuff hematoma that became infected. The parties stipulated that the total medical bills incurred was $654,664.43, and the amount necessary to satisfy those bills was $138,639.18. No formal settlement demand was made before trial. No settlement offer was made before trial. In closing argument, plaintiffs’ counsel requested the jury return a verdict in favor of plaintiffs of $750,000 - $900,000. The jury returned a defense verdict.
Defense Verdict in Housing Discrimination Case
and Caitlin Trevillyan
obtained a defense verdict in a housing discrimination case from a Ralls County, Missouri, jury. Plaintiffs alleged disability discrimination when their condominium association's Board would not allow plaintiffs' request for the installation of a stairlift or wheelchair lift. The Board's position was that the modification was not feasible and would interfere with other owners' use and enjoyment of their properties and common areas. Plaintiffs' final demand had been $600,000. The jury found in favor of Steve and Caitlin's client.
Defense Verdict in Concrete Company Case
Bradley Hansmann obtained a defense verdict in a contractor liability case in Christian County, Mo. The plaintiff alleged the concrete company supplied excessively wet concrete that weakened the structure of his home. The jury agreed that there was a lack of evidence in the case and returned a verdict for the defendant.