PREMISES LIABILITY CASE- ROUTT COUNTY
Jury Verdict- $5,125,000
Rick Eddington and his team obtained a jury verdict on behalf of an Australian husband and wife. The husband suffered injuries to his urethra when he stepped on a grate covering an 8’ deep ventilation shaft that collapsed like a “trap door” due to its defective support system.
The lawsuit was against a Condominium HOA and a Worldwide Property Maintenance Company that was hired to maintain the premises and keep them in a safe condition. With the help of experts, Mr. Eddington and his team were able to show that the grate support system was in a dangerous condition that did not meet the City of Steamboat Springs Building Code or the Uniform Property Maintenance Code. It was shown that neither of the Defendants had ever done an adequate inspection of the grates support system. The evidence showed that the Defendants only did visual inspections that would not show the corrosion and deterioration of the underlying support system that was holding up the grate.
The jury awarded the husband $4,625,000 for his pain and suffering and the physical impairments from his injuries. They awarded the wife $500,000 for her loss of consortium she suffered due to her husband’s injuries.
AUTO ACCIDENT/EXCESS VERDICT-WELD COUNTY
Jury Verdict Resulting in $325,000 Judgment
Rick Eddington, Blake Brunkenhoefer, and their team, obtained a jury verdict for an off duty police officer who suffered neck and back injuries when his pickup truck was rear-ended by another pickup truck while he was stopped on the highway for an oversized load that was passing from the opposite direction. The Defendant was going about 60 MPH and the collision caused about $10,000 in damages to the police officer’s truck. The police officer was very active in running, biking, and working out prior to the accident. While he didn’t miss but a little time from work and continued to do his physical activities, he suffered from neck and back pain that required pain management treatment. He had to have procedures that required burning some sensory nerves in areas of his neck and back.
Prior to trial we offered to settle the case with the Defendant’s insurance company for their insured’s $100,000 policy limits, they responded with an offer of $60,000 so we proceeded towards trial. Prior to trial the insurance company offered to pay the policy limits but we refused because the offer was not made timely. The Friday prior to trial the insurance company offered to pay $120,000, but this offer was rejected as well.
After the jury verdict and prior to entry of the Final Judgment and Bill of Costs, the insurance company settled the case for $325,000 rather than subjecting themselves to a bad faith lawsuit for failing to protect the best interests of their insured by not settling within the policy limits when they had the opportunity.
Trucking Crash / Defective Tire
Confidential Post-Trial Settlement
After a multi-week trial, Blake Brunkenhoefer and the rest of his trial team obtained a $33,000,000 jury verdict on behalf of the wife, adult children and estate of an elderly man who was killed when the front, left tire on a loaded concrete truck failed as it was traveling at highway speed on a Texas state highway. The tire failed when its tread peeled off the body of the tire (“carcass”). The sudden failure of the tire caused the truck to veer into our client’s traffic lane. When the truck driver tried to steer back into his lane, the truck rolled over onto its side and began to slide down the road. Our deceased client tried to steer away from the truck as it slid toward him, but he could not avoid the impact and he sustained massive and, ultimately, fatal injuries when the truck struck his vehicle. Our clients alleged that the tire failed due to the fact that, when the tire was manufactured, moisture in the tire and/or the use of overaged rubber prevented the layers of the tire from properly bonding to one another, and the belts were not properly placed in the tire. Our clients also alleged that the truck driver failed to properly inspect and control the concrete truck, and that the trucking company failed to properly inspect and maintain its vehicle. With the help of former factory workers to describe the tire plant conditions, and expert witnesses to explain how the tire plant conditions caused or contributed to the defects seen in the tire, we were able to achieve this large jury verdict against both the tire manufacturer and the trucking company.
Trucking Crash / Road Construction Negligence
Blake Brunkenhofer obtained verdict against a trucking company and a road contractor in a Dimmit County, Texas case in which our client suffered a significant head injury. The 18-wheeler was operated by one of the nation’s largest interstate trucking companies and its driver rear-ended a passenger van driven by our client. After the initial impact, our client’s vehicle was propelled down the road and off to the right where it struck the back of a parked passenger car belonging to the flagman for the roadway contractor. We alleged that the truck driver’s fatigue or distraction started the crash sequence, and the secondary impact with the flagman’s car was due to him being improperly parked within the 30 foot “clear zone” that is supposed to extend from the edge of the roadway. After a lengthy trial, the jury found both defendants liable for our client’s injuries and damages.
Confidential Pre-Trial Settlement
Blake Brunkenhoefer was hired by the family of a workover rig floorhand who was killed while he and his co-workers were performing a “blind back-off” to release some stuck pipe in an oil well. Although the initial government investigation only faulted his deceased client’s employer for his death, Blake filed suit and pursued claims against the employer, the well owner (the “operator”) and the operator’s on-site “company man.” After more than a year of discovery and many depositions, Blake was able to show that, although his client was supervised and ordered into position by his rig’s toolpusher, the dangerous procedure which had killed him had actually been ordered and overseen by the company man acting on behalf of the operator. As a result, Blake was able to obtain a significant settlement from the employer and, thereafter, Blake settled the case against the operator and its company man for the full extent of their available insurance.
Defective Product- Iowa case
Settled for $6,250,000 from the retailer and a confidential amount against the manufacturer of a defective product.
Rick Eddington and Blake Brunkenhoefer represented a 74-year old Vietnam veteran who suffered third-degree burns to 14% of his body received when his friend was refilling a decorative firepot with liquid fuel gel. The fuel gel burned so clear it looked like the flame was out when it wasn’t, causing the flame to go up into the fuel gel bottle and ignite. When it ignited, it shot burning fuel gel (much like napalm) onto Plaintiff. The fuel gel manufacturer settled first for a confidential amount of money and the retailer later paid $6,250,000 to settle the claim against it.
Trucking Case- Denver
$2,215,000 jury verdict and confidential settlement
Jury verdict for $2,215,000- over $2.9M with interest and costs- settled for a confidential amount of money prior to entry of a final judgment.
Rick Eddington helped obtain a $2,215,000 jury verdict for a schoolteacher that was rear-ended on I-70 by a tractor-trailer. She suffered a spinal injury that required pain management to her neck and back as well as a mild traumatic brain injury that kept her out of work for a semester.
Plaintiff walked out of mediation when told the Defendant didn’t think the case had a value in excess of $500,000 and the Defendant offered $600,000 months prior to trial. Defendant offered $1,000,000 after the first week of trial, which was rejected by Plaintiff at her attorney’s recommendation.
Trucking case- Denver
Rick Eddington helped represent a Plaintiff who suffered orthopedic injuries, requiring multiple orthopedic surgeries, when she was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer during a snowstorm on I-25 south of Denver. Her treating orthopedic surgeon opined that her future medical treatment would cost several million dollars. The case settled several weeks after mediation for a confidential amount of money.
Aviation Wrongful Death and Survival Case- Wyoming
Rick Eddington represented the sole survivor as well as the widow, along with her one-year old daughter, of a flight nurse who died in nighttime snowstorm crash of an air ambulance that near Rawlings Wyoming. The Defendant disputed liability and claimed that the crash was due to unforeseen icing (an act of God) for which they were not negligent. After the first week of a two-week trial the Defendant paid a confidential amount of money to settle the wrongful death claim and the survivor’s claim for a confidential amount of money.
Auto Case/Bad Faith- Steamboat Springs
$1,251,000 jury verdict resulting in a confidential settlement
Rick Eddington represented a woman that suffered an ankle injury, back injury that required pain management, dental injuries, and a mild traumatic brain injury from a head-on collision with another vehicle. The Plaintiff’s common law husband was injured and the Defendant’s insurance company paid their $250,000 insurance policy limits to resolve his claim. The insurance company refused numerous offers to settle the Plaintiff’s claim for their $250,000 policy limits.
After mediation, and prior to trial, the Defendant’s insurance company finally offered their $250,000 policy limits but Plaintiff refused the offer based upon the advice of Mr. Eddington because the offer was not made timely. At the conclusion of the trial the jury awarded $1,251,000 in damages; resulting in a judgment of approximately $1,700,000 with interest and costs. The Defendant’s insurance company paid an undisclosed amount of money to resolve the case based upon their bad faith in failing to protect the best interests of their insured.
Maritime Back Injury Case-Texas
$11,000,000 jury verdict resulting in a confidential settlement
Rick Eddington helped obtain an $11,000,000 jury verdict for a worker requiring surgery that resulted in him developing osteomyelitis in his lumbar spine.
Prior to trial the Defendant’s insurance company offered $500,000 to settle the claim and indicated that they felt Mr. Eddington was not negotiating in good faith because he was demanding $5,000,000 to settle the claim. After a week long trial the jury awarded Plaintiff $11,000,000 in damages, plus interest and costs.
The Defendant appealed the award and the case settled while on appeal for an undisclosed amount of money.
Auto Case/Bad Faith-Denver County
Rick Eddington made numerous demands for the Defendant’s insurance company to pay their policy limits to a young woman that was rear-ended by another vehicle and needed a disk replacement surgery in her neck. He made one final demand for the insurance policy limits after a lawsuit was filed and approximately 10 days prior to the scheduled neck surgery.
The Plaintiff had the surgery and the case was proceeding to trial with no further negotiations. Exactly one week prior to trial the insurance company’s attorney called Mr. Eddington requesting a settlement demand. A non-negotiable offer to settle the case was made for five times the insurance companies policy limits. The insurance company accepted the non-negotiable offer the same day, conditioned upon the amount of the settlement remaining confidential.
Auto Case/Bad Faith-Adams County
Rick Eddington helped represent a lady who suffered a neck and back injury when she was rear-ended by another driver. The plaintiff had obtained pain management treatment and her treating doctor opined that she would probably require neck and back surgeries in the future.
Mr. Eddington’s co-counsel had previously made several demands upon the Defendant’s insurance company for their policy limits to settle the case before he got involved in the case. The prior policy limit demands had all been rejected by the insurance company. The Court ordered mediation and when Mr. Eddington demanded $1,000,000 at mediation the defense refused to offer any more than their policy limits.
Exactly one week prior to trial the mediator called in the morning to relay an offer that was four times the policy limits. Mr. Eddington conveyed to the mediator that if there was going to be any negotiations that they would end at the end of that day. The case settled that day for 24 times the insurance companies policy limits, conditioned upon the amount of the settlement remaining confidential.
Maritime Wrongful Death Case-Texas
$44,600,000 verdict settled confidentially
Rick Eddington was part of a team of attorneys that helped obtain a confidential settlement of a $44.6 million dollar jury verdict on a product liability, wrongful death, case that took the lives of 2 brothers on a shrimp boat. The brothers both died of asphyxiation when they improperly used a highly toxic chemical (shrimp dip) that was to be mixed with water in a well-ventilated area. The warnings were inadequate in that they did not warn that it could cause death if it was inhaled. They used it in the hold of the shrimp boat by sprinkling it over the ice covering their shrimp. The toxic gases put off by the chemical, as the ice melted to water, was heavier than air and stayed in the hold of the boat. When one brother went down into the hold of the boat he was asphyxiated. His brother went down into the hold to check on him and he too was asphyxiated.
The parents brought a wrongful death claim for the loss of their sons against the chemical manufacturer. The evidence showed that Rick Eddington’s father, Warren Eddington, had sued and settled with the Defendant’s predecessor company, approximately 17 years before, for the death of another shrimper in a similar incident. Despite the prior death claim, the Defendant (successor company) claimed that they had never had any prior claims and did not know that their warnings were inadequate. The Coast Guard officer that investigated the prior incident testified that he had told the predecessor company that their warnings were inadequate and that they needed to warn of the danger that the product could cause death. They failed to change their warnings and the jury included $25,000,000 in their award for punitive damages.
After appeals through the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Texas the case settled for a confidential amount of money.