2013 Trials and Verdicts

November 20, 2019

September 2013

In a premises liability case tried in St. Louis County against a local grocery store, the jury returned a unanimous verdict for Tucker Blaser‘s client. Tucker, in a case in which the plaintiff claimed $50,000 in damages, persuaded the jury that the plaintiff’s claimed slip and fall on smashed grapes on a floor rug in the store’s produce aisle was not due to a dangerous condition that the store had to guard against.

In an uninsured motorist case, Mike Maguire obtained a defendant’s verdict for his insurance carrier client when the jury did not believe that the alleged uninsured motorist was responsible for the accident. In a case in which the plaintiff sustained a rotator cuff tear, $24,000 in medical expenses, and $17,000 in future projected medical expenses, the St. Louis City jury simply did not believe the plaintiff and returned a defense verdict for Mike’s client.

In a rare defendant’s verdict in a Missouri Merchandising Practices Act case, Brad Hansmann convinced a jury that his roofing company client was not guilty of committing consumer fraud despite the fact there were problems with the roof following construction.

Ross Davis, in an Illinois personal action brought against the local mass transit authority, persuaded an arbitration panel that the plaintiff’s injuries resulting from a fall while walking over a grade crossing were due to an open and obvious condition, despite the plaintiff’s claim that a combination of loose gravel at the crossing and an uneven surface had caused her fall.

Russ Watters and Cynthia Juedemann successfully argued before the Missouri Court of Appeals that an insurer issuing an insurance policy to a rental car company did not owe coverage for wrongful death action resulting from an accident in which a husband crashed the car and killed his wife, based on the application of the “household” exclusion. *See Affirmative Insurance Co. v. Broker, No. ED98700 (Mo. App. E.D., July 30, 2013).

John Greffet and Brad Hansmann convinced the Missouri Court of Appeals in Safe Auto Ins. v. Hazelwood, Nos. SD 31928 & 31929 (Mo. App. S.D., February 7, 2013), that a passenger in a vehicle could not be liable for an accident caused by the vehicle’s driver; therefore, the driver’s policy afforded the passenger no liability coverage for the accident.

Mike Ward and Patrick Bousquet obtained summary judgment in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri for their insurance client in a declaratory judgment action in which the insured sought coverage for claims based on the insured’s failure to properly supervise, train, and hire persons who later allegedly sexually molested minors in their care.

In an unusual case involving an attempt by a plaintiff to pierce the corporate veil and impose personal liability on a corporate officer, David Bub and J.C. Pleban convinced a jury that their client was not personally liable for a $750,000 judgment entered against him. The jury found that the only liable party was the corporation, which had no assets; therefore, the plaintiff was unable to collect on the judgment.
Read the featured article in Missouri Lawyers Weekly

August 2013

Brad Hansmann and John Cooney obtained a defendant’s verdict for their client who operated a farm supply store that sold allegedly defective grain to a farmer causing a herd of cows to become ill and lose milk production. The jury, finding no liability, concluded the grain as sold was not defective.

Daniel Hasenstab obtained a jury verdict in Williamson County, Illinois, for the owners of a gymnastics center. The plaintiffs’ eight-year-old daughter broke her arm after falling from a set of gymnastics rings at the center. The jury rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that the defendant had failed to properly supervise the minor and returned a defendant’s verdict.

In a case tried by Jackie Kinder, the jury found for her glass company client in a case in which an intoxicated volunteer, who offered to help with the clean up of glass, decided to put his fist through glass to allegedly break it down. In defense of her client, Jackie Kinder persuaded the jury that safety glass was not required and her client obtained a defendant’s verdict.

In a Madison County, Illinois products liability case, Denise Baker-Seal obtained summary judgement for her manufacturer client by convincing the trial court that the evidence, including expert opinions, failed to demonstrate that the product was defective.

David Bub and Jeff Lester convinced a St. Charles County jury that their bar client was not at fault when a customer, who had a bit too much to drink, was hurt while another customer was sliding down a slide in the bar.

Mike Maguire obtained a defendant’s verdict in Franklin County for his UIM carrier client when the jury found that the insured, who had a surgically repaired rotator cuff tear and $24,000 in paid medical, had been fully compensated by the tortfeasor’s insurer.

The plaintiff in a UIM case was unable to persuade a federal jury that he was entitled to more from the UIM carrier than he had already received from the tortfeasor’s liability carrier. Brad Hansmann brought in another win for a UIM carrier by convincing the jury that the plaintiff had already received more than enough money in the first settlement. (This verdict continues a two-year winning streak for Brown & James in UIM cases taken to verdict jury trials.)

Robert Brady won a defendant’s verdict for his insurance company client in a first-party arson and fraud case. After a three-day trial in Jefferson County, the jury found that the insured had set the fire and returned a defendant’s verdict.

Russ Watters, David Bub and Irene Marusic received a defense verdict for their shopping center in a two week in a two-week federal district court case in which the jury found that the shopping center was not responsible for an injury to a delivery driver who was hurt while making a delivery to one of the stores in the center. After more than eight hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict for the shopping center, rejecting outright the claim of the plaintiff who had sought more than $4 million in damages at trial.

Plaintiff found 100% at fault in Brown & James Victory

The MSD St. Louis v. Michael E. Rivard et al, April 23, 2013
St. Louis County Circuit Court
The Defendant was hired to replace a sewer lateral connecting a residence to Plaintiff’s sewer main.  The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant’s use of a backfill material near its sewer main resulted in the main becoming blocked and causing a backup into an adjoining home. The Plaintiff sought $27,000. Jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Defendant, finding the Plaintiff 100% at fault.
Read the featured article in Missouri Lawyers Weekly
Tried by Russell F. Watters and Brendon Sanders

Another Defense Win for Brown & James in Motor Incident

Sara E Tinker v. Acuity A Mutual Insurance Co, March 6, 2013
U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Missouri
Brown & James successfully defended an insurance company against a $140,000 insurance action. The Plaintiff stated that another vehicle forced her off the road, resulting in her accident and injuries.  She sought uninsured motorist coverage, costs, attorney’s fees and penalties under her policy claim for breach of contract and on her claim for vexatious refusal to pay. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant.
Read the featured article in Missouri Lawyers Weekly
Tried by Bradley R. Hansmann and Brendon Sanders

Defense Verdict Awarded in $1 million Malpractice Suit

Helen J Smith v. Wallace P. Berkowitz M.D. LTD et al, February 22, 2013
St. Louis City Circuit Court
The Plaintiff alleged the doctor failed to timely establish an emergency airway when her husband, the decedent, arrived at the hospital not breathing. The Plaintiff sought $1 million. The defense position was that the doctor’s attempts to establish an airway were timely and appropriate, that the decedent was already brain dead when he arrived at the hospital, and that the decedent and plaintiff were responsible for his death by refusing to go to the emergency room earlier in the day.
Read the featured article in DRI: The Voice
Read the featured article in Missouri Lawyers Weekly
Tried by Philip L. Willman and Angela E. Pozzo

Defense Verdict Awarded to Insurance Company in Breach of Contract Case

Michael Hurst v. Safeco Insurance Company, January 17, 2013
St. Louis City Circuit Court
Brown & James successfully defended an insurance company against a $50,000 insurance action. The Plaintiff claimed Breach of Contract and Vexatious Refusal to Pay against Defendant arising out of a motor vehicle accident. The Plaintiff claimed a phantom vehicle forced his scooter into a parked vehicle. A unanimous jury verdict was returned in favor for the Defendant.
Read the featured article in Missouri Lawyers Weekly
Tried by Michael B. Maguire and Brendon Sanders

Bar Owner Not Responsible for Plaintiff Breaking Wrist

Linda L. Moore v. Bada Bings, LLC, January 16, 2013
St. Louis County Circuit Court
The Plaintiff climbed on top of a pool table at Defendant’s bar to hang decorations and fell, breaking her wrist and striking her head. She sought $95,000 for her injuries. The Plaintiff argued that the Defendant placed the Plaintiff in a dangerous position by asking her to hang decorations above the pool table, which resulted in her broken wrist when she fell off the table climbing down. The Jury returned a verdict in favor for the Defendant.
Read the featured article in Missouri Lawyers Weekly
Tried by Bradley R. Hansmann and Patrick Cody

Wind Not Responsible for Ceiling Collapse

Simms v. State Farm, May 26, 2011
St. Clair County Circuit Court, Illinois
Brown & James successfully defended a first party insurance claim after the plaintiffs alleged wind caused the collapse of the ceiling in their home over three rooms, a covered peril under their policy. The plaintiff’s expert, a contractor, testified wind entered the attic vents, causing pressure to force the ceiling collapse. After Brown & James presented an expert, a structural engineer, it was determined that wind was not the cause of the collapse, and the jury returned a defense verdict.
Tried by John P. Cunningham

Golf Cart Accident Not Responsible for Injuries

Dawson v. Innsbrook Corporation, May 17, 2011
Warren County Circuit Court, Missouri
Alleging that an employee of a golf course struck her, the plaintiff filed suit seeking $500,000, claiming the accident led to prolonged injuries and eventual surgery. After demonstrating that evidence of a collision was circumstantial and medical expert testimony showed the plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing, a defense verdict was unanimously awarded for our client after a three-day trial. 
Tried by Robert W. Cockerham and Matthew R. Leffler

Medical Malpractice Defense Verdict Awarded

Epps v. Towler and Shimony, May 11, 2011
St. Louis City Circuit Court
Alleging that negligence on the part of her physicians led to the death of her sibling due to complications of a staph infection, the plaintiff sought damages of $500,000. Brown & James successfully defended the medical malpractice suit, demonstrating the physicians executed to the best of their abilities and could not operate on the patient as a result of an existing heart arrhythmia during her hospital stay. A near-unanimous jury returned a defense verdict for our clients.
Tried by David P. Ellington

Defense Verdict Awarded in Motor Vehicle Accident Case

Yoakum v. Bryan David Drum and Praxair, Inc., April 8, 2011
Will County Circuit Court, Illinois
Brown & James successfully defended Praxair, Inc. in a case involving a motor vehicle accident in which the plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s driver had failed to yield the right-of-way and otherwise use due care. The plaintiff claimed $5,679 in property damage and medical specials. After deliberating for only five minutes, the jury returned with a defense verdict. 
Tried by Haley M. Schumacher

Defense Verdict Awarded in Negligence Case

Polk v. Denneke Company, LLC, d/b/a Allstar Concrete Pumping, Jan. 21, 2011
Jefferson County Circuit Court, Missouri
The plaintiff filed suit against a concrete pumping company, alleging negligence after concrete shot out of a hose, breaking the elbow of the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed the defendants did not adequately warn the plaintiff, who was stabilizing the hose, and were responsible for his injuries. After presenting expert testimony and testimony of others present during the accident, stating the plaintiff was adequately warned to be aware of kinks in the hose, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict. 
Tried by Russell F. Watters

Malicious Prosecution Suit Dropped Mid-Trial

Gross v. Manning, SNR Denton, Theil and Bracht, Dec. 15, 2010
St. Louis County Circuit Court
After seven days of trial, a woman suing a law firm and two other lawyers for malicious prosecution decided it was time to quit. A mutual release of liability was signed in a trial stemming from the sale of an airplane. Brown & James defended one of the local lawyers, and after cross examination were informed that the plaintiff wanted a mutual release. 
Tried by Steven H. Schwartz

Defense Verdict Awarded for Insurer

Daniels v. State Farm, Dec. 7, 2010
St. Clair County Circuit Court, Illinois
When the plaintiff alleged her vehicle was stolen and set on fire, the insurer conducted an investigation of her claim, including an examination under oath. After concluding the insured violated her policy’s intentional acts, misrepresentation/concealment and failure to cooperate exclusions, the insurer denied the plaintiff’s claim. Plaintiff filed suit and the case proceeded to court-mandated arbitration. At the arbitration hearing, the arbitration panel found in favor of the insurer, and awarded plaintiff nothing.
Tried by Matt Young

Defense Verdict Awarded in Moisture Damage Suit

See v. Creative Building & Development, Nov. 24, 2010
Greene County Circuit Court, Missouri
Brown & James successfully defended a Springfield area developer after the plaintiffs, who bought a new condo from the defendant, alleged there was moisture damage as a result of an inadequately designed crawlspace under the condo. The plaintiffs claimed the moisture damaged caused significant damage and resulted in a loss of money when the plaintiffs sold the property. After showing a one-time significant rainfall contributed to excess water that was address by the defendant, and that a poor real estate market resulted in the loss at sale, the jury awarded a defense verdict after three days of trial.
Tried by David P. Bub

Defense Verdict Awarded in Trip and Fall

William Doom v. AutoZone Stores Inc., Nov. 3, 2010
St. Louis City Circuit Court
In a premises liability case involving Brown & James’ national retail client, the plaintiff filed suit for $125,000 after tripping and falling and fracturing his shoulder. After only a 20-minute deliberation, a jury awarded a verdict in favor of the defense, awarding the plaintiff nothing. 
Tried by Justin S. Chapell

Verdict Awarded in Computer Software Dispute

Tyson Foods v. Aceva Technologies, Oct. 28, 2010
Washington County Circuit Court, Arkansas
Brown & James represented the plaintiff in a case involving a complicated dispute over computer software. After a two-week trial, the jury awarded a plaintiff’s verdict including substantial damages and attorneys’ fees.
Tried by Steven H. Schwartz

Summary Judgment Awarded for Defense in Slip and Fall

Kathy Johnson v. Dupo Fuel Mart, Oct. 21, 2010
St. Clair County Circuit Court, Illinois
The plaintiff alleged a gas station failed to warn patrons of a deteriorating driveway when the plaintiff fell. Additionally, plaintiff argued cars pulling into the driveway created a distraction, contributing to the fall. After arguing the condition of the driveway was open and obvious under Illinois law and that the gas station itself did not create any alleged distraction, the defense was awarded summary judgment. 
Tried by John P. Cunningham and Matt Young

Defense Verdict Awarded in Workers’ Compensation Suit

Charles McNeil v. Bi-State Development Agency, dba, Metro, Oct. 14, 2010
Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation
A bus driver filed a workers’ compensation claim, claiming his back was affected by a minor accident. No other injuries were sustained by the passengers. After arguing the driver’s back problems were pre-existing, the claim was denied and a defense verdict awarded for Brown & James’ client. 
Tried by John J. Johnson

Defense Verdict Awarded in Nursing Home Malpractice Suit

Rosie Forrest v. Petersen Health Care, Oct. 7, 2010
Jefferson County Circuit Court, Illinois
The family of a nursing home resident brought suit against a nursing home, alleging the defendants violated the Nursing Home Care Act and failed to properly supervise and take care of the resident who broke her hip. Plaintiffs alleged the resident was left alone in her room and that the defendants failed to monitor the resident, leaving her alone in a wheelchair instead of putting her in bed. After a three-day trial, the jury awarded a verdict for the defendants after only one hour of deliberation. 
Tried by John L. McMullin

Eighth Circuit Affirms Judgment for Subrogation Recovery

Travelers Property and Casualty Co. v. National Union, Sept. 22, 2010
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
In a case which discusses at length the subrogation rights of excess carriers vs. primary carriers, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals held that the excess carrier, Travelers, was entitled to recover its $10 million before the primary carrier could recover. This was the case even though the excess refused to participate or pay for any part of the primary carrier expenses in pursuing the subrogation claim. In allocation of subrogation monies, the Court held that the excess carriers were last insurers obligated to pay claims and also the first insurers entitled to recover proceeds obtained from third parties via subrogation. 
Tried by Robert W. Cockerham and Corey L. Kraushaar

Defense Verdict Awarded Against Subrogation Claim

Daryl and Tabitha Mick v. Timothy Mattern Electric, d/b/a Mattern Electric, Sept. 2, 2010
Calaway County Circuit Court, Missouri
The plaintiffs’ insurer paid $791,000 (home and contents) for a fire claim at the Micks’ residence. The Micks’ insurance carrier filed a subrogation lawsuit against Tim Mattern Electric Company who installed recessed lights in the basement that allegedly were improperly installed and led to the fire. After a four-day jury trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant, Brown & James’ client Mattern Electric Company.
Tried by David P. Bub

Defense Verdict Awarded in Auto Accident

Neil Capps v. Theresa Black and Brenda Holst, July 25, 2010
Moniteau County Circuit Court, Missouri
The passenger of a cross over accident sued the host driver and insured. The plaintiff claimed he suffered a herniated cervical disc and radiculophy requiring future surgery. In pre-trial discovery it was discovered that the plaintiff’s memory was incorrect and that the driver had crossed the center line, not the defendant Host, Brown & James’ client. The defense also presented expert testimony that the plaintiff’s medical conditions were pre-existing, and the jury awarded Holst the defense verdict.
Tried by Michael B. Maguire

Defense Verdict Awarded for Excavation Company

Festus-Crystal City Elks v. Crystal City Properties, L.L.C. et al., July 17, 2010
Jefferson County Circuit Court, Missouri
In 2003, developer Crystal City Properties, L.L.C made improvements on land adjoining the Festus-Crystal City Elks Lodge. Brown & James’ client, R&K Excavation, Inc., was then hired to perform site development work on the project. During and after the construction, the Elks complained of foreign debris appearing on their land and contended the development diverted the natural waterflow in the area causing trash and contaminants to be carried onto the Elks property and pond. Plaintiffs sought damages for trespass, punitive damages and unreasonable diversion of surface water. The punitive damages claim was dismissed for lack of evidence and the plaintiff did not submit their claim against R&K Excavation for unreasonable diversion of surface water. After approximately four hours of deliberation, the jury came back with a defense verdict for R&K Excavation, Inc.
Tried by Lawrence B. Grebel and Robert T. Plunkert

Motion for Summary Judgment Affirmed

Wilson v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, et al., July 9, 2010
Kansas Court of Appeals
In an unpublished appellate opinion, the Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed a motion for summary judgment for Brown & James’ client Farmers Insurance, who was granted the motion by the Shawnee District Court in a matter involving personal injury sustained by the appellants who claimed negligence by the property owner who sold them a home. Farmers denied defense for their insured, and their motion was granted finding they had no duty to defend or provide coverage. 
Tried by Michael A. Childs

Summary Judgment Awarded for Declaration of No Coverage

Essex Insurance Company v. Clarinet, LLC, et al., July 6, 2010
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Brown & James received a summary judgment for their client, Essex Insurance, regarding the defendant’s demand for insurance coverage for costs of approximately $1.1 million associated with the demolition of the historic Switzer Building in St. Louis. Summary judgment was also awarded for Essex on defendants’ counterclaims for breach of contract and bad faith.
Tried by Joseph R. Swift and Joshua B. Stegeman

Jury Awards Payment For Water Damage

Qmed v. Bade Roofing Co., June 24, 2010
St. Clair County Circuit Court, Illinois
Brown & James represented the plaintiff who filed suit for what it claimed was a negligently installed roof by the defendant. After the roof came off in a thunderstorm, the plaintiff sustained water damages in the amount of $480,235. The plaintiffs argued that damage occurred as a result of insufficient fasteners used during the installation of the roof’s insulation panels. After a four-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff awarding the full amount of $480,235.
Tried by Richard Gerber and Matt Leffler

Insurer Awarded Directed Verdict

Curtis Huelsman v. State Farm, June 14, 2010
Clinton County Circuit Court, Illinois
Plaintiff filed suit for damages of $10,000 in a fire to his car after being denied coverage and claiming a breach of the terms of the insurance policy. The case proceeded to bench trial and after being unable to prove any breach of terms, the defense was awarded a directed verdict.
Tried by Matt Young

Defense Not Liable for Medical Malpractice

Charles D. Machon and Song S. Machon v. Washington University, Bradley Freeman and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, May 26, 2010
Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis
The plaintiff complained of abdominal pain after being rushed by helicopter to the hospital and admitted to the ICU. After determining the plaintiff had a condition associated with decreased blood flow to the abdomen, ICU doctors administered antibiotics and fluids which led to vital sign improvements and no more abdominal pain. The following morning the plaintiff began to deteriorate and underwent exploratory surgery where doctors discovered the plaintiff’s dead bowel. Plaintiffs filed suit in excess of $5 million claiming the defendants failed to diagnose his condition and that the dead bowel was a result of a blood clot. The defense presented expert testimony that a clot could not have been the problem. The defense also argued that additional testing could not have been performed due to the plaintiff’s kidney failing and an MRA. Additional testing that allegedly should have been performed, could not be used in acute settings because the plaintiff would have had to be moved to another area of the hospital where monitoring is difficult. After only an hour, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense. 
Tried by Robert S. Rosenthal and Halle Dimar

Jury Finds Company Not at Fault in Wrongful Death Suit

Lewis Elder, Anna Nikole Elder, Kenneth Elder, Sr. and Barbara Elder v. Airosol Company, Inc., April 23, 2010
Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis 
Plaintiffs filed suit in excess of $10 million against the defendant alleging claims of strict liability design defect and strict liability failure to warn after a refrigeration cylinder sold by the defendant exploded and killed an HVAC repairman. The decedent placed the cylinder under hot water (160 degrees) causing the cylinder to explode. Expert testimony by the defense testified that the cylinder’s design and labeling complied with all industry standards and that the decedent committed a number of violations of both State and Federal law in his business including repeatedly refilling the refrigeration cylinder, which compromised its structural integrity. Expert testimony also testified that, while it was permissible to heat the refrigeration cylinder with lukewarm water, a reasonably careful HVAC repairman would know not to place the refrigeration cylinder in 160-degree hot water. After a 10-day trial and three-hour deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defense.
Tried by Corey L. Kraushaar and Christopher J. Seibold

Landscaping Company Found Not Responsible for Plaintiff’s Fall

Bowdish v. Twenty Seven-O-Five Holding Co., Spencer Creek Apartments LC, Melvin Rabushka Real Estate and Kleeschulte Inc., March 22, 2010
St. Charles County Circuit Court, Missouri
The defendant, a landscaping company, was hired to clear ice and snow from an apartment complex’s roads and sidewalks. The plaintiff – who slipped, fell and broke his hip – claimed the defendant was responsible for his fall by not adequately clearing ice near his car. Arguing the plaintiff’s extensive medical history with falls and propensity to falling, the jury awarded the defense and claimed the defendant was not at fault. 
Tried by Jackie M. Kinder

Mall Owner Not Responsible for Fall

Maxine Nichols v. Mark Twain Center Properties, March 22, 2010
Ralls County Circuit Court, Missouri
After falling and fracturing her elbow, which required two surgeries to repair, the plaintiff filed suit against the property owner of a retail outlet outside of which she fell. Claiming the sidewalk was uneven and the cause of her fall, she sought damages of $87,000. The defense argued that as a long-time visitor of the area with a second residence at a nearby lake, the plaintiff frequently visited the property and retail location and was more than familiar with its layout and the sidewalk’s intricacies. After going to trial, the jury returned a verdict for the defense. 
Tried by Irene J. Marusic

Jury Sides with Insurance Defendant

Murphy v. Safeco Insurance Co., March 2, 2010
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Claiming a 2007 car accident was responsible for injuries requiring surgery, the plaintiff sued the defendant for $150,000 for breach of insurance contract after the defendant denied coverage. After expert testimonies by orthopedic surgeons, the defense argued that the plaintiff’s pre-existing spinal conditions were not worsened by the accident and could only be awarded $25,000. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant awarding the plaintiff only $25,000 for injuries and nothing on the refusal to pay claims. 
Tried by Bradley R. Hansmann

Jury Favors Defendant Law Firm, Claims No Negligence

Eagle Star Group, Inc. v. Berkowitz, Oliver, Williams, Shaw & Eisenbrandt, LLP, Jan. 11, 2010 
Jackson County Circuit Court, Missouri
The plaintiff hired the defendant law firm Berkowitz, Oliver, Williams, Shaw & Eisenbrant to set aside a $370,000 default judgment. After the trial court’s refusal to set aside the judgment was affirmed on appeal, the plaintiff brought a legal malpractice action alleging the law firm negligently failed to raise all of the proper jurisdictional defenses to the default judgment. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned a verdict claiming the defendant was not responsible for any negligence. 
Tried by Steven H. Schwartz

Jury Unanimously Rules in Favor of Insurance Company Seeking Declaratory Judgment

Amica Mutual Insurance Company v. Gary and Elysia Willard, Nov. 30, 2009
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Amica sought a declaratory judgment that there was no coverage under its homeowners insurance policy arising out of a fire loss because the insureds, Gary and Elysia Willard, intentionally destroyed the house, misrepresented and concealed material facts, engaged in fraudulent conduct, made false statements, and failed to comply with the policy conditions. The insureds counterclaimed for breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay. After a five-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict on all 11 counts in favor of Amica. 
Tried by Robert W. Cockerham and Christopher J. Seibold

Defendant Found Not Responsible for Decedent’s Death in Premise Liability Case

Kempka v. Catering St. Louis, Nov. 9, 2009
Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis
Plaintiffs were family members of the decedent who fell while exiting the Boat House, a popular St. Louis restaurant in Forest Park operated by the defendant. The decedent struck her head and suffered a severe subdural hematoma, and died approximately ten weeks later from complications related to the injury. Plaintiffs claimed the decedent’s fall was caused by a trip on step that was in violation of applicable building codes and against industry standards. Defendants denied these allegations. Defendants also presented two eye witnesses who testified that it appeared as if the decedent had fainted and the step had nothing to do with her fall. The jury found for defendants after a five-day trial.
Tried by David P. Bub

Insurance Company Awarded Declaratory Judgment

Capitol Specialty Insurance Corporation v. Charles Whitaker, Sept. 10, 2009
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
Capitol Indemnity sought a declaratory judgment that it had no duty to defend or indemnify its insureds, the owners of a Cairo, Ill., nightclub, against a lawsuit alleging damages stemming from a bar fight. The district court entered summary judgment for the insurer, finding the insurer’s assault and battery exclusion barred coverage for the insureds’ negligence. The district court also concluded there was no coverage under the insurer’s liquor liability coverage part. 
Tried by John P. Cunningham and Daniel G. Hasenstab

Jury Favors Defendant, Finds Plaintiff’s Privacy Was Not Violated

Jane Doe v. V. Leroy Young, M.D., et al. 
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois
Plaintiff claimed that doctors provided photos of her torso – without her permission – to accompany a 2006 Riverfront Times newspaper article about cosmetic surgery. Doe, who had surgery to remove excess skin caused by major weight loss, claimed she never gave permission for the use of the photos. Lawyers for plaintiff sought $2.5 million to $3 million for compensatory damages before trial. Prior to trial, defendant’s last offer to settle was $300,000. Plaintiff’s last demand prior to trial was $1 million. Jurors found that the defendant doctors did not violate Doe’s privacy and awarded plaintiff $100,000. 
Tried by David Bub and Paul Schulte

Dram Shop Defendant Rewarded Unanimous Favorable Verdict

Hirner v. Daydreamers, Inc. d/b/a Third Down Bar
Circuit Court of Ralls County, Missouri
Dram shop liability action. Plaintiff and two male friends were patrons of the Third Down Bar in Quincy, Ill., on June 5, 2004. They left the bar around 2:00 a.m. on June 6, drove into Missouri and were involved in a single vehicle accident. Plaintiff was a back seat passenger and was ejected from the vehicle, suffering a hangman’s fracture at C2-C3, thoracic fractures that required rods and screws, a punctured lung, fractured ribs and an alleged traumatic brain injury. Plaintiff claimed the bar over-served her companion-driver and had a pattern and habit of over-serving its patrons. Defendants denied these allegations. The parties presented conflicting testimony from former bar employees and patrons as to whether the driver was visibly intoxicated, pursuant to RSMo. 537.053, when he left the bar that evening. Plaintiff’s experts included a toxicologist, orthopedic surgeon, psychologist, vascular surgeons and two internists. Defendant called no experts. After a four-day trial the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Defendant.
Tried by Joseph R. Swift and Carolyn J. Geoghegan

Jury Favors Defendant in Wrongful Action Suit

Brookfield v. Metro
Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis
Plaintiffs alleged Metro’s Call-A-Ride, which had been called to transport the decedent to her dialysis treatment, failed to take her to the hospital’s emergency room when she appeared in distress, but instead left her at the hospital’s front entrance. Plaintiffs claimed that if the decedent had been taken immediately to the emergency room she would not have suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest and died. After a plaintiff-demand of $1.25 million before trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense 
Tried by John P. Rahoy and Edward W. Zeidler

Insurance Company Awarded Declaratory Judgment After Claiming ATV Accident Did Not Occur Within Insured Location

Amco Insurance Company v. Robert Rohr
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
Amco sought a declaratory judgment that it had no duty to defend or indemnify the insured against an underlying lawsuit arising out of an ATV accident involving the insured’s daughter and friend. Amco denied the claim because the ATV accident did not occur at an “insured location” required by the policy’s terms. The underlying plaintiff responded, arguing a survey was required to determine whether the accident occurred on an “insured location”, that the insured held an easement over the property on which the accident occurred, the accident resulted from the intoxication of the insured’s daughter which began on the insured’s property, and that the ATV was used solely to service the insured’s property. The district court disagreed and entered summary judgment for Amco, finding the ATV accident did not occur at an “insured location”.
Tried by James Craney and Gregory Odom