Brown & James Trial and Verdict Outcomes December 2014

A Brown & James attorney tried a wrongful death case representing a trucking company and convinced the jury to return a defense verdict. At trial, the plaintiff contended the slow movement of the defendant’s truck impeded traffic and, thus, caused the collision. The jury sided with the trucking company and against the decedent’s widow and children whose counsel asked the jury for $4 million in damages.

In Griffin/Elder v. Rhino’s Truck Accessories, et. al. – Justin Hardin represented a company that allegedly sold defective go-karts in wrongful death product liability suits. Families of the two decedents filed wrongful death suits after their decedents were killed in a go-kart accident on the same date in which the go-kart was purchased. Families demanded more than $5 million and claimed aggravating circumstances. Justin obtained summary judgment on behalf of alleged seller prior to trial; judgment was affirmed on appeal. The case was highlighted in Westlaw Journal.

In a case tried in Jefferson County, Missouri, a Brown & James attorney successfully defended her client, a bar/restaurant, from a plaintiff claiming severe injuries from a fall. Irene convinced the jury that a raised area where the plaintiff fell was not a dangerous condition.

John McLeod won a defense verdict in the City of St. Louis where he  represented just the trucking company at the time of trial. The truck driver passed away from unrelated causes before giving a deposition on an alleged rear-end collision. The plaintiff switched lanes due to another accident and claimed John’s client had rear-ended her vehicle. There was no damage to the direct rear of plaintiff’s vehicle; the damage was to the rear driver’s side corner. The plaintiff claimed a closed head injury with headaches, stuttering, and PTSD, and had asked the jury for over $767,000.

John Cunningham and Daniel Hasenstab won summary judgment in the Circuit Court of Peoria County, Illinois, in favor of their insurance client in a breach of contract claim filed by a policyholder in relation to damage to his home caused by a partially collapsed brick veneer wall. The court agreed that the damage to the wall did not fit the insurance policy’s definition of a covered “collapse” and, thus, the insurance company had no obligation to pay for the damage.

A Brown & James attorney prevailed before the Missouri Court of Appeals for his lawyer clients when the Court held that the defendant lawyers were not guilty of breaching their fiduciary duties. The Court so ruled because the lawyers’ client had failed to prove any damages proximately caused by the lawyers’ alleged malpractice.

Brown & James attorneys successfully defended a landscaping company whose dump truck driver was accused of causing a collision with another driver in Callaway County, Missouri. The plaintiff alleged that the client failed to keep a careful lookout and negligently pulled out onto the highway at a time when it was unsafe to do so. The defense argued that it was the plaintiff who failed to keep a careful lookout, in addition to traveling at an excessive speed and colliding with the rear of the defendant’s vehicle. The jury found the plaintiff to be 100% at fault for causing the accident and awarded a defense verdict.

Chris Vaporean obtained a unanimous defense verdict in a medical malpractice case in St. Louis City. The patient’s family alleged that an interventional cardiologist selected an improper method for closure of the access point in the femoral artery through which a cardiac catheterization procedure was performed. The patient suffered a complication from use of the selected closure device and ultimately required amputation of his left leg.

A Brown & James attorney obtained a defense verdict in Boone County, Missouri, where he represented a line haul motor carrier and its driver. After coming over a hill, the defendant saw that the plaintiff had stopped in traffic. The defendant tried valiantly to avoid the plaintiff’s vehicle, but ultimately his pup trailers came around and struck the vehicle. The plaintiff had a large lost income claim and asked the jury for a verdict between $1-$1.5 million.

The Fifth District Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed a summary judgment order for John Cunningham’s and Daniel Hasenstab’s insurance client in a breach of contract claim brought by its policyholder. The policyholder argued that the insurance company should have defended it against a separate lawsuit by a homeowner, which alleged that the policyholder built a faulty foundation for a house. The appellate court and the trial court agreed with John’s and Daniel’s position that the underlying complaint, which sought the repair or replacement of the faulty foundation, did not allege an “occurrence” or “property damage” under the insurance company’s policy, and thus had no duty to provide a defense to the policyholder. Notably, these decisions were handed down by judges in Madison County and in the Fifth Appellate District, two venues that have a reputation for being hostile to insurance companies.

A Brown & James attorney obtained a defense jury verdict after a three-day trial in the hinterlands of Missouri. The plaintiff alleged that their client had contracted bed bug bites after staying at the defendant’s apartment. The defendant offered $15,000 and had made an offer of judgment in that amount. The plaintiff’s demand was over $100,000; however, the jury  awarded just over $344.