Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Michelle Anderson, 36, was driving in the southbound lane of the highway when Calvin Adams, traveling in the opposite direction, attempted to pass a line of traffic in a no-passing zone.

Adams crossed the centerline and struck Anderson’s car head-on.

Both drivers were killed in the crash. Anderson was survived by her husband and three minor children.

Continue reading

Hunter Brown, 25, was traveling to California on a Greyhound bus late at night. The bus stopped at a rest stop and Brown left the bus to use the facilities. When the bus driver, Arthur Coley, began to pull away from the rest stop before Brown had re-boarded, Brown tried to get his attention. The driver drove the bus forward and ran over Brown’s foot and back.

Brown died from his injuries. He was survived by his parents.

The Brown family individually and on behalf of his estate sued Greyhound Lines, alleging negligent hiring and training and vicarious liability. The Brown family asserted that the driver, Coley, chose not to take a headcount before leaving the stop in violation of company’s policy.

Continue reading

While driving a Schnitzer Steel Industries tractor-trailer on an interstate highway, Kenneth Cathey crossed the center line and collided head-on with an SUV driven by Carrie Jones. There were five occupants of the Jones’ SUV, which included Jones, her two minor children, her mother, Judy Madere, and Madere’s twin sister who died in the crash.

Madere’s husband, individually, and on behalf of her estate, sued Schnitzer Southeast LLC, Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. and Kenneth Cathey.

The plaintiffs claimed that Cathey was driving while fatigued and had slept only 4-5 hours the night before the crash.

Continue reading

Doe, age 26, was driving on a highway when a wheel detached from a truck driven by a trade school student on the opposite side of the road. The detached wheel crashed through Doe’s windshield killing him. Doe was survived by his parents.

Doe’s parents sued the trade school and the truck driver, alleging that the driver and her classmate had improperly secured this wheel to the truck. The truck belonged to the driver but was used at the trade school four days before the incident. It was also claimed that the students’ work had been unsupervised and was not inspected.

The Doe family claimed that the torque wrench used to do the work had been improperly calibrated and that the wheel had been under-torqued before its separation.

Continue reading

David Ford’s wife and son (the plaintiffs) filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. after David Ford died as a result of injuries he suffered while working as a contractor at Ford Motor’s Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant.  He was delivering vehicle seats to the plant when he was crushed between a stationary guard rail and a moving piece of machinery.

The Ford family alleged that Ford Motor was negligent for choosing not to remove a barricade with a dangerous pinch point, or to effectively warn visitors of its existence.

After an 8-day jury trial in the Circuit Court of Clay County, Mo., the jury found Ford Motor to have 95% comparative fault for Ford’s injuries and death. The jury signed a verdict in favor of the Ford family, the plaintiffs, in the amount of $38 million in compensatory damages. In addition, the jury awarded the plaintiffs an additional $38 million in aggravating circumstances damages, amounting to punitive damages.

Continue reading

In the wrongful death case for Lee Lindemann, filed on behalf of the Estate of Sue Ann Lindemann, the U.S. District Court ruled that estoppel blocked National Fire & Marine Insurance Co. from invoking a “declining balance” provision in its insurance policy. This was done to reduce its $1 million liability limit to $600,000, by subtracting the $400,000 National paid to the defense expenses during the two years of litigation.

National’s policy covered Dr. Erick Falconer in this wrongful death case and another defendant, Western Healthcare. In May 2013, the answer that Falconer’s attorney submitted to “Interrogatory 9,” said he was insured under a National policy that had a $1 million liability limit.

But when responding to her request for a copy of the insurance policy, Dr. Falconer’s attorneys reportedly took a shortcut: they referred back to this interrogatory answer. This maneuver meant the litigants didn’t see the policy provision that ordinarily would have reduced the liability limit by the amount of defense expenditures.

Continue reading

In 2012, Justin Dominguez, 15, was playing with friends in a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor’s house was located next to a vacant spot that contained bamboo stalks under a 13,000-volt, uninsulated power line.

Justin climbed up the bamboo stalks, which contacted the power line. He received a severe electric shock and was hospitalized. He unfortunately remained in a coma until he died approximately two weeks later. He was survived by his mother.

Justin’s mother, on behalf of his estate, sued Florida Power & Light Co., alleging it negligently chose not to remove the bamboo despite a 2008 work order and written report to the defendants’ lead arborist identifying the location as a critical removal site. The Dominguez family asserted that Florida Power & Light had a duty to clear its line of vegetation, especially bamboo, which is highly conductive and fast-growing.

Continue reading

Diego Rodrigues Matos, 26, needed a truck replacement part to use for his landscaping business. He went to a truck lot owned by Rechtien International Trucks and showed an employee there a picture of the part that he needed. The employee directed him to drive around the lot in search of a truck similar to his so that he could identify the exact part that would need to be ordered.

Matos later found a truck, opened its unlocked door, and raised the truck’s bed. While Matos was lying under the vehicle’s chassis, the truck bed descended, pinning him down and crushing his neck. Matos, a father of one minor child, died from his injuries.

Matos’s fiancé, on behalf of his estate and the couple’s child, sued Rechtien International alleging liability for, among other things, choosing not to warn that the truck bed posed a dangerous condition, failed to lock the doors of the truck located on its property, and failed to accompany Matos around the property in search of the truck replacement part. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

Continue reading

Noemi Mendez, 15, was walking home from school with her older brother Elias.  As they were crossing the street in the crosswalk, the driver of a tractor-trailer truck began turning right into that intersection. The truck hit Noemi and the trailer’s rear wheels rolled over her. She died at the scene. Noemi is survived by her brother Elias, an older sister and her parents. In addition to the death of Noemi, her brother Elias, who was 18 at the time, suffered severe emotional distress due to witnessing his sister’s fatal injury.

Noemi’s family sued the truck driver and the trucking company, alleging that the driver was negligent and chose not to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. The Mendez family asserted that Noemi and Elias entered the intersection on a green light with a pedestrian “walk” signal and that they were already well into the intersection when the truck struck Noemi.

The parties had stipulated that the truck driver was in the scope and course of his employment. The parties presented a surveillance video recorded by a corner convenience store that captured some of the events at a distance. Although the video was of poor quality, the Mendez family maintained that it showed that Noemi and her brother were at the intersection at least 30 seconds before the truck arrived in the intersection.

Continue reading

Billy Dickson was an engineer for Bell Helicopter Textron’s plant in Hurst, Texas. He held this position for the better part of 38 years. From 1962 to the late 1970s, he was exposed to asbestos through hands-on work.

He was also indirectly exposed as nearby workers sanded asbestos-containing adhesives.

Dickson, who wore no respiratory protection, was frequently surrounded by clouds of asbestos dust.

Continue reading