Student Injures Hand on School Gate – $575,000 Settlement:
A late afternoon school group celebration ended badly when a teacher and a parent asked elementary school children to close a large roller style gate. The defense argued that it was the students who decided to close the gate on their own.
Our young client (already having special needs) got two fingers on his dominant hand crushed between the upper metal gate rail and a roller that kept the gate in place as it slid or rolled shut. This understandably caused excruciating pain and he was rushed to a nearby hospital emergency room.
Over the course of several months, doctors performed several surgeries that eventually allowed the young man to regain most – but not all – of his range of motion, feeling, and strength. Unfortunately, he also suffered traumatic stress (flashbacks) which has diminished but persisted over time.
We hired expert witnesses to evaluate the long term effects of these injuries. Andrew B. Clark, M.D. of Portola Valley, California (formerly of Cambridge, Massachusetts and a Board Certified Psychiatrist) evaluated the boy’s stress resulting from this event. A Board Certified Orthopedist, Jerald W. Katz, M.D. of Somerset, Massachusetts, examined the young man’s dominant hand and expressed the opinion that nothing further could be done medically to improve its slightly diminished functioning. After nearly 5 years of litigation, we are pleased to report that the case was mediated by a Judge and settled with payments totaling $575,000 from the municipality’s insurer. Successful resolution of yet another case handled by John Reilly & Associates. (posted November 9, 2017 – names and court withheld).
$425,000 Settlement – Detached Cornea (Repaired) Following Auto Accident in Newton, MA:
Our client was struck from behind while stopped in traffic on Brookline Street in Newton, Massachusetts. The force of impact drove his head back into a rigid headrest and shortly thereafter he developed a detached cornea in one eye. Although it took three surgical procedures to repair (re-attach) the cornea he has happily avoided the need for further medical intervention. Unfortunately, his eyesight will most likely be permanently “wavy” in the affected eye without wearing eyeglasses, his case was resolved in mediation without the need to take the matter to court. Medical bills totaled about $7,000 and lost earnings about $11,000. (Names of parties withheld, defendants’ insurer: AMICA – August, 2016).
Phantom Vehicle Settlement:
Our client, a Massachusetts resident, claimed that a phantom vehicle which didn’t actually strike her car caused her to take evasive action that caused her to strike the median barrier of a highway. Her insurance company claimed that she was more than 50% at fault for the accident and in Massachusetts that would mean that she could not recover anything for her injuries. So they not only denied her claim but also tried to have a “surcharge” placed on her policy that would increase her premium payments for several years. We helped her beat the surcharge and then demonstrated how her actions were reasonable under the circumstances. In the end the insurance company relented and paid its 6-figure policy limit to settle the claim. Neitlich v. Commerce (March, 2015).
Improper Spa Waxing Causes Infection and Another Settlement:
Our client wanted her legs waxed before a vacation. Hers was apparently the first waxing of the day and the employee turned the heater up to its highest level to ready the wax for use. As the procedure went along, the wax got hotter and hotter to the point where it was painful. When our client commented on this problem the employee merely laughed. The client’s skin was burned and got worse and worse during her vacation. She eventually developed staph poisoning and welts on her leg for which she got treatment with a dermatologist. The case became complicated when the salon owner claimed that our client had never even been a patient of the salon. Through determined investigation and surveillance on the salon we eventually took the case to arbitration and won. The defendant’s insurance company has paid the entire award of $47,000 and John Reilly & Associates has another satisfied client. P.B. v. Kaur d/b/a (Providence Superior Court, January, 2015).
$60,000 Settlement – Auto Crash – Neck and Shoulder Pain:
Our client was struck from the driver’s side by another car. She hurt her neck, shoulder and had discomfort into one of her hands. She missed only 2 work shifts and was primarily treated through physical therapy with one nerve block injection by her orthopedist. The insurance adjusters did wanted to make a token settlement and inexplicably claimed that she had a pre-existing condition. She decided to hire our firm and we were able to demonstrate that she had no prior problems with those areas that were hurting her as a result of the accident. Even at that, we had to file suit but (having recovered from her injuries) we were able to settle her personal injury case for a total of $60,000 with claims against the other operator’s insurer (GEICO) and through her own underinsured motorist policy. H.M. v. Progressive (Providence County Superior Court, December, 2014).
Car Accident – $322,700 Settlement:
After taking the matter to court, we achieved the settlement of a tragic car accident case in which our client was the passenger in a jeep that was struck, head-on, by another vehicle that was on the wrong side of the road and driven by someone under the influence of alcohol. Both persons in the other car died of their injuries but our client and his operator survived with serious but not life-threatening injuries. Our client suffered lacerations to his face, cheeks, ear, and head, leaving some permanent but subtle scarring. He also had a fractured right wrist, left knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery and other injuries. His medical bills were approximately $27,000 and he lost several months of employment following the accident. The settlement included payment from the insurer for the car that struck our client’s vehicle and also underinsured motorist benefits paid by the Government Employees Insurance Company which should be complimented for interpreting its policy and obligations in a favorable way toward our client and having participated in good faith mediation helping to resolve the case in a fair manner. Burke v. Callaghan, et al (2 actions) (Posted January 19, 2012).
Automobile Accident – Wrongful Death – $575,000 Settlement:
Our clients in this case were the adult children of a 60 year old male who died at the scene of a tragic motor vehicle accident in on Route 95 in Attleboro, Massachusetts on the morning of September 16, 2006. The driver who caused the accident was on his way to work and was apparently distracted looking for a cellular telephone seconds before the collision. It was difficult to establish exactly how long our clients’ father was conscious before his death, but it seemed to only be a matter of minutes. Both drivers began and planned to end their trips that day in Rhode Island and the laws of the State of Rhode Island are generally more favorable to plaintiffs in situations such as this. So the defense argued that Massachusetts law should be used. When the case was reached for trial the Rhode Island trial judge agreed with our position and ruled that Rhode Island law would be applied. The economic expert that we hired concluded that as of the time of trial the economic losses to our clients (the Estate) were roughly $190,000 and due to the sudden onset of death there were not many medical expenses. Additionally, the medical examiner pointed out that the decedent had a pre-existing health condition that could have contributed to his demise. The defense decided to forego an appeal of the trial judge’s ruling and the parties negotiated a settlement in the courthouse. The Probate Court later reviewed and independently approved of the settlement and the case is now closed. Timothy W. Crowe, Administrator v. Abel Womack, Inc., et al (Providence County Superior Court, docket number PC-09-4212) (April – May, 2011).
Automobile Accident – Multiple Parties – Underinsured Motorist Policy – Settlements Including “Bad Faith” Claims:
Our client was injured in a serious multi-car motor vehicle accident that caused significant injuries. The insurance companies for the vehicles that struck her settled by paying all that was available under their policies. Our client’s own insurer did not “step up to the plate”, thus requiring us to take action against it on the client’s behalf. Because their offer was felt to be extremely low, we added claims for “bad faith” (that the insurer should be held responsible for damages over and above the amount of the client’s policy for its refusal to make a reasonable offer). In a confidential settlement the client’s insurer agreed to pay its entire policy limits, plus a sum (which we cannot disclose) for “bad faith” damages. The “bad faith” amount was twice the amount of all of the policies involved – a nice 6-figure settlement for a deserving client. (January, 2011).
Workplace Accident – One Million Dollar Settlement:
Our client was hired as an independent subcontractor to perform roofing work for a general contractor on a new home being constructed in Block Island, Rhode Island. The general contractor insisted upon using his own staging and scaffolding on the job but our client was allowed to use his own roof jacks. At the end of a long workday, our client lowered himself to the scaffolding erected by the general contractor and eventually tried to lower himself (holding onto the scaffolding) to reenter the unfinished house through a rough window opening. As he started to lower himself, the scaffolding tilted and our client fell more than 20 feet onto the ground and a pile of shingles. His fall caused numerous, severe injuries including a jaw broken in several places, lost teeth, fractures of his lower extremity a concussion and nerve damage. Nobody else saw him fall, so when the general contractor called the 9-1-1 emergency system he stated that our client (his roofer) had “fallen off the roof”. As so often happens (especially when someone’s jaw is broken in so many places that he could hardly talk), that initial “history” was repeated by the rescue squad, air transport, and at hospital emergency rooms. Additionally, for some unknown reason the general contractor gave an elaborate (but false) story about finding evidence that our client had indeed fallen from the roof of the house. The general contractor also removed the staging the day after the accident (legally called “spoliation”) and later used different, much safer staging to complete the work (legally called “subsequent remedial measures”). Our client has never been able to work since the accident. Through photographic evidence, deposition testimony and lots of hard work, we were able to demonstrate the actual reason for our client’s fall and injuries and recover the entire amount available under the general contractor’s insurance policy – ONE MILLION DOLLARS- through settlement before it got to trial. Laraway v. Seaside Enterprises, Inc., et al, Washington County Superior Court docket no. WC09-0315). (Posted in November, 2010).
Another Client Profits By Changing Lawyers:
In a result that has been repeated to one extent or another several times in recent years, a motor vehicle accident victim had been represented by two other law firms before being referred to John Reilly & Associates. About a month before the Statute of Limitations for the case was about to expire, his second lawyer (experienced in personal injury claims) told the client that he had given the claim considerable thought and agreed with the claims adjuster that they should settle for $52,000. The client had a feeling that this was not something he should do and a family lawyer from another state referred him to our office. The claim was quickly placed into litigation and through the efforts of lead counsel Paul Crowell the adjuster was eventually persuaded to begin raising the settlement offer over the course of the 5 plus months our office handled the case. The matter has just been settled for $73,000 (a sum much more realistic in the circumstances and with which the client is much happier). Please refer to our blog article for information about how to hire and discharge lawyers. Varney v. City of Cranston School Dept., et al, Providence County Superior Court. (Posted, November 14, 2009).
Traumatic Medial Cord Brachial Plexopathy – $250,000 Total Settlement:
Our client suffered significant injuries in a motor vehicle accident in Rhode Island. Short in stature, she was driving with her seat as far forward as possible so that she could reach the pedals of her car. Another automobile failed to stop for a red traffic light, entered the intersection, and struck our client in the right front and side of her car. Startled, she turned her head slightly toward the right and tried to brace herself from the force of the crash. But her car was “totaled” and its air bags went off, smashing her face and head. She seemed to lose consciousness and suffered injuries to her face, head, neck, shoulder, back and (most likely) had a concussion that has partially impaired her memory. Her final diagnosis was permanent brachial plexus medial cord (ulnar nerve) neuropathy with post concussive syndromes. She had other medical problems following the accident but continues to complain of pain, numbness and tingling in her arm as well as other symptoms of the injuries she suffered in the accident. She incurred several thousand dollars of medical expenses and missed several weeks of work as an assembler. John Reilly & Associates was able to rebut medical opinions contradicting the cause of our client’s complaints and has resolved the matter, before trial, with several defendants for the sum of $250,000. (Final paperwork still pending; parties’ names withheld for privacy reasons) (July, 2009).
Wrongful Death Settlement – $700,000.00:
Our client’s teenage son was hurrying home on is bicycle. He entered an intersection against a red light, peddling as fast as he could. Eyewitnesses said that he did not seem to look to either side. At the same time a rental car driven by a youthful operator entered the same intersection, speeding. The car and bicycle collided and our client’s son was thrown from his bicycle onto the grassy edge of the roadway. He suffered severe injuries and efforts to revive him failed. The defense hired an expert witness who claimed that the defendant driver was not going as fast as the police investigation suggested. In turn, we engaged our own experts who supported the police version. Rhode Island has a “pure” comparative negligence statute, meaning that our potential recovery at trial could be reduced by the percentage of negligence that a jury might determined was attributable to our client’s son. The case became more complicated when the insurance company for the defendant was a member of the Kemper Insurance Group and we discovered that those companies were in such bad financial condition that a couple of years ago the Illinois Department of Insurance has decided to require them to stop writing policies and “run off” or close their business. A March, 2007 audit essentially concluded that they might not last in business for more than a couple more years, meaning that even if we obtained a favorable jury verdict there was risk in being able to recover more than a percentage of it if appeals occurred and took significant time to resolve. The last offer had been $350,000, but with trial imminent the parties reached settlement with the assistance of a mediator. Providence County Superior Court, Rhode Island (posted October 4, 2007).
Dram Shop Settlement:
So-called “dram shop” laws make bars and restaurants in Rhode Island and elsewhere responsible for overserving alcohol to customers who are “visibly intoxicated”. We are pleased to have successfully resolved a case in which the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick overserved our client’s boyfriend/driver as a result of which while trying to drive home he went off the road and struck a tree. She suffered personal injuries and was hospitalized for a few days. The Hotel denied overserving anyone at the wedding party but relented on the eve of a trial calendar call and settled the case. Payments to our client totaled $150,000 over and above her medical expenses through Blue Cross. (Client and driver’s names withheld at their request). (September 27, 2007)
Policy Limits Settlement For Impairment of Vision Following Automobile Accident:
Our client, a Warwick resident was struck from the rear and hit his face on the sun visor of his automobile, injuring his eye. Surgical procedures were only partially successful and he was left with a 10-20% permanent impairment of his vision according to his physician at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. We were able to settle his claims for the entire policy limits available in this tragic situation, $300,000. (Names withheld in accordance with settlement agreement).
Fourth Highest Rhode Island Jury Verdict for 2004:
In December, 2004, a Kent County Superior Court jury returned a total verdict of $590,794 in a case in which our client was struck from behind by an inattentive motorist, causing fractured teeth and a temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The defense contested both responsibility for the accident and the extent of our client’s injuries. Our expert in dentistry, Stuart Ross, D.M.D. helped convince the jury of the serious nature of the injuries. The resulting verdict was determined to be the fourth highest in Rhode Island for the year 2004 and was paid (with additional interest and costs) in 2005. Sweeney v. Farnum, No. KC01-960.
Providence County Jury Finds that Alleged Passenger Was Not in Vehicle at Time of Accident:
The defendants contended that both of them were in an automobile at the time of an accident with another motorist. John Reilly was able to demonstrate by both circumstantial and direct evidence that they were not telling the truth. It took a Providence County jury only 20 minutes to agree with our client. By its verdict, the jury determined that our client would not have to pay any benefits or provide any coverage for the two. They did not appeal. National Grange Mutual Ins. Co. v. Evana, No. PC02-6972.
New Hampshire Federal Court Jury Verdict for Defendant in Slip and Fall Accident:
A United States District Court jury in Concord, New Hampshire, found that our client was not liable or responsible for injuries suffered by a plaintiff who caught her toe on a gasoline dispenser hose while stepping over it to wash the windows of her car. The plaintiff argued that our client was negligent in not properly removing snow and ice, thus leaving her no alternative path. Her expert, Mr. Orlowski, was quite unconvincing. John Reilly successfully argued that this was a situation in which the plaintiff simply did not want to take responsibility for her own actions. There was no appeal. Boutcher v. Sunoco, Inc. (R&M), No. 02-204 JD.
United States District Court Jury in Providence Rules Against Plaintiff in Circumstantial Evidence Fraud Defense Action:
The plaintiff claimed that he fell from a ladder, injuring himself and setting off a sprinkler system that damaged most of his business inventory. There were no witnesses to this event. But John Reilly was able to establish an impressive amount of circumstantial evidence demonstrating that the incident did not occur as alleged, that there was a significant financial motive behind this “loss” and that the plaintiff failed to cooperate with his insurance company’s investigation. A federal court jury quickly agreed and found for our client insurance company. No appeal was taken. Imperial Arrow- Associated Services of Rhode Island, et al v. Peerless Insurance Company, No. 01-247 S.
Brockton Jury Gives Defense Verdict in Serious Saugus Automobile Accident Following Super Bowl:
The plaintiff contended that after delivering gasoline to a station on Route 1 in Saugus, Massachusetts, our client’s driver backed his large tank truck out onto the highway, causing him to lose control and strike a telephone pole. John Reilly contended that the tanker never left the station and that plaintiff’s alcohol consumption at a Super Bowl party combined with poor road conditions to be the real cause of the mishap. It took a Brockton jury 45 minutes to agree and exonerate our client from all liability. There was no appeal. Vellante, et al v. Sunoco, Inc. (R&M), No.96-0022.
Providence Jury Exonerates Defendants from Pedestrial Wrongful Death Claims Despite Having Served Motorist 9-11 Alcoholic Beverages in Three Hours Fatal Accident:
Plaintiff’s decedent was a pedestrian on Main Street in East Greenwich on a rainy/snowy evening when he was struck by a motor vehicle driven by our clients’ customer who had been served 9 to 11 alcoholic beverages in a three hour period immediately before the accident. The driver pled guilty to the criminal charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The plaintiff claimed that our client was negligent in serving alcoholic beverages to a visibly intoxicated person and that the driver was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. John Reilly contended that the customer was such a long-term alcohol user that he was able to disguise his condition while being served at our client’s establishment. Additionally, we demonstrated by forensic medical evidence that the decedent was suffering from hypothermia, resulting in dizziness which caused him to step or slip off the sidewalk and into the path of the automobile. After deliberating for 1.5 hours, the jury returned a verdict for our client. There was no appeal. Carol Huntley, Administratrix v. East Greenwich Veteran Firemen’s Association, et al, No. KC92-894.
Motorist Turns Down Offer, Federal Jury in Providence Awards Nothing:
The plaintiff was struck in the rear by another motorist and claimed that this caused medical and psychic injuries. He claimed more than $30,000 of medical bills and over $100,000 of lost income from the accident. We showed that the impact was minor, that his herniated disc was not related to the impact, and that his depression predated the accident. Plaintiff had already settled with the responsible motorist for $50,000 but wanted another $350,000 (all available coverage) from his underinsured motorist insurers. He was offered $20,000 more but he refused. John Reilly and counsel for our co-defendant convinced the jury that plaintiff’s total damages had been more than adequately compensated by the responsible motorist, returning a verdict that he take nothing. There was no appeal. Botelho v. Worcester Ins. Co. and Continental Ins. Co., No. 96-0436 ML.
Kent County Superior Court Jury Finds for Defendant in Slip and Fall Claim Involving Extensive Video Surveillance of Plaintiff:
The plaintiff clearly slipped and fell on ice in our client’s parking lot. A private contractor had plowed the lot earlier in the morning and an employee had begun applying rock salt to outdoor surfaces but had not yet reached the area where the plaintiff fell. Plaintiff claimed that our client was negligent for a variety of reasons. He asserted numerous injuries, many of a permanent nature. He claimed to be totally disabled and had convinced the Social Security Administration of the same. He sought at least one million ($1,000,000) dollars. We contended that our client acted reasonably under the circumstances, that the plaintiff assumed the risk of his injuries, and that his injuries were not of a permanent nature. A video surveillance team followed the plaintiff to a Florida vacation and documented a remarkably different manner of walking (without his northern cane) while on its sunny beaches. John Reilly presented the defense case and a Kent County jury agreed with our position following 8 hours of deliberation. A new trial motion was denied. The case was appealed to the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the jury decision was affirmed in every respect. Maggiacomo v. Sydney Supply Co.
Plaintiffs’ Verdict of $216,790 for Personal Injuries in Automobile Accident:
Represented plaintiffs in Providence County Superior Court action in which liability and damages were both contested. Esteves v. Lecris Associates, No.PC90-583.
Food Poisoning – Bad Cheeseburger Results in $54,769 Verdict for Staph Infection:
Represented plaintiffs in case tried to jury verdict and complicated by initial misdiagnosis of “urinary tract infection. Flade v. Maroney, No. WC 88-241.
Defense Nominal Verdict ($1.00) in Clear Liability Automobile Accident:
Represented defendant in jury trial in the Providence County Superior Court in which plaintiffs were rear-ended by another automobile and had to be removed by the “jaws of life”. They were able to offer more than $45,000 in medical bills and claimed aggravation of pre-existing injury. We successfully argued that this was primarily for the purpose of getting drugs from numerous hospitals. Verdict was for nominal damages of one ($1.00) dollar. Feeley v. Brown, No. PC89-1289.
Multi-Car Accident – Defense Verdict for Estate of Dead Mother:
Our client’s decedent entered a main highway from a side street and struck a co-defendant’s vehicle. Almost simultaneously, plaintiff struck one or both of the defendant cars, hurting himself and suffering property damage. Despite the fact that our client operator was dead, we prevailed in a jury trial and his estate paid nothing. Frangos v. Morretti, Executirix, No. P.C. 88-2664.