A 3-year-old boy named Wesley walked into the garage where a gas-fired water heater was located. He accidently spilled a gasoline can on the floor approximately 30 feet from the water heater. The pilot light of the water heater drew the gasoline vapors into the pilot light igniting the vapors that flashed back to where Wesley was standing which set him on fire. He received 3rd degree burns over 60 percent of his body requiring 28 operations at the burn center in Iowa City, Iowa. The landlord of the property was held responsible for failure to provide a safe environment for his guests and was negligent for allowing a dangerous condition to exist. The utility company was held responsible for servicing the water heater and allowing it to exist when it was in violation of code. The city was held accountable for failure to conduct yearly inspections as required and allowing the dangerous to exist. The previous owner of the property where the water heater was located was held responsible for negligently installing the water heater in violation of the city code. The manufacturer of the gasoline can was held responsible for designing and manufacturing an unsafe gasoline can. The total settlement was $2.3 million and with the use of structured settlements, the young boy is guaranteed $6.2 million payable at different intervals throughout his life.
A 54-year-old woman, named Sharon, was driving her van when a semi-truck turned in front of her when attempting to reach the entrance ramp of an interstate highway. The truck driver was responsible in that he failed to yield to Sharon when he proceeded through the intersection and stuck her vehicle causing severe injuries to Sharon. Sharon was taken to the local hospital and then air-lifted to a hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota where they specialize is severely fractured hips. While in the hospital, Sharon developed complications from her injuries and was in the Intensive Care Unit for a week. She was hospitalized for 8 weeks and then received rehabilitation in a local nursing home. She eventually recovered quite well except for a permanent injury to her that caused her to end her career at Wall Mart as a shipping specialist. This case was mediated in Des Moines where the settlement was just short of $ 1 million dollars.
Denise, who was a passenger in an automobile accident, sustained a severely fractured hip injury. Denise was air-lifted to Minneapolis, Minnesota where an operation was performed on her right hip by a specialist. The driver of the other vehicle was at fault. Denise was somewhat mentally challenged prior to the accident. With the insurance settlement, she was able to terminate public assistance, purchase her own home in cash and maintain her own lifestyle with the help from her family. The settlement was $350,000.00.
We successfully litigated a medical malpractice case in which we sued a physician whose negligence in delivering a baby caused the baby to sustain cerebral palsy. The mother had a fundal height of 48 weeks but the doctor ignored this sign as well as other signs that the fetus was too large to be delivered vaginally. Instead, the doctor went ahead with the delivery rather that performing a C-section. The baby became lodged in the birth canal at the shoulder area and was deprived of oxygen for approximately 12 minutes resulting in a shoulder dystopia condition. The infant was rushed by air-ambulance to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The child recovered but according to our expert pediatric neurologist from St. Louis, the child sustained permanent damage to his body, mostly involving developmental problems. The case was settled but the insurance company required that the amount of the settlement remain confidential.
A jury awarded a substantial amount to our client who sustained burn injuries to his hand and arm when he was cleaning a furnace. Our client who is named Jim, was a service technician called by the rental management company to clean the furnace on one of their properties where new tenants were moving into the premises. The management company failed to inspect the property and failed to warn Jim that the prior tenants had unhooked a dryer attached to the propane tank outside the premises and failed to cap the line in the basement. Propane gas escaped and filled the floor area of the basement where the gas dryer had been located. When Jim attempted to light the pilot light, a gas explosion occurred and Jim was burned. The jury award was substantial and the insurance company had not offered any settlement prior to the jury trial.
An obstetrician failed to recognize that the pregnant patient was in labor. Proper treatment of the patient would have likely delayed the delivery giving the lungs an opportunity to mature. Instead, the mother delivered twins the next morning who were premature and underdeveloped. The babies were air-lifted to a tertiary care center in Des Moines, Iowa where they were hospitalized for approximately three months. Fortunately, the babies eventually recovered but not without some residual complications. We retained an expert obstetrician from Colorado who found that the delivering obstetrician had failed to exercise the required standard of care. This case was also settled and as in most medical malpractice cases, the insurance company required that the amount of settlement remain confidential.
A farmer lost three of his fingers when his hand was caught in a combine while picking corn. A lawsuit was filed against John Deere for designing the combine without proper guards thereby manufacturing farm machinery that was unreasonably dangerous and defective. The jury found in favor of our client and he was awarded a substantial amount. This was the only successful personal injury-products liability lawsuit against John Deere in the state of Iowa at the time.