Success Stories, Settlements and Verdicts

$6.5 Million Verdict in Asbestos Household Exposure Case

After a two-week trial, a Kanawha County jury returned a verdict against chemical giant DuPont® in favor of the widow and children of Leonard Cox. Mr. Cox died at age 52 from mesothelioma. Testimony revealed that his disease was caused by the asbestos dust he inhaled as a young child. The asbestos dust was brought home by his father on his work clothes. The elder Mr. Cox, who died of asbestosis, was a pipe coverer at the DuPont Belle, West Virginia, plant. The verdict remains the largest verdict awarded by a West Virginia jury to a plaintiff in an asbestos case.

Tractor-Trailer Accident, Wrongful Death, Results in Multi-Million Dollar Settlement

In late October 2005, a tractor-trailer operated by Powerline Freight came upon stopped traffic on Interstate 64 in Cabell County, West Virginia. Unable to stop, the truck crashed into the last car in line, killing two passengers and injuring three others. Traffic was stopped as a result of planned road construction three miles ahead.

I represented all of the passengers or their estates. The trucking company paid its insurance limits soon after the accident. Suit was then brought against the contractor performing the road work, on the theory that they had failed to recognize the dangers presented by the traffic backup extending beyond their traffic control zone and warning signs.

Discovery revealed that the contractor failed to have a trained traffic safety expert on the site as required by its contract with the West Virginia Division of Highways. As a result of mediation, a multi-million dollar settlement was reached.

Highway Work-Zone Accident Results in Record Court of Claims Settlement

The claimants, two estates and one individual, brought a claim against the West Virginia Division of Highways in the Court of Claims. The claims arose as the result of a traffic accident within a construction work zone on Interstate 64 in Cabell County, West Virginia. In the course of discovery it was determined that the Division of Highways failed to enforce its own contract provisions requiring that a traffic safety expert be on the construction site. 

The Division of Highways job foreman also failed to recognize the hazard created by traffic backups which resulted from the construction project. On the eve of trial, the Division of Highways offered a $1 million settlement, the largest such settlement paid by the Division of Highways as the result of an accident.

Accidental Shooting Results in Paralysis, Settlement

A high school student was accidentally shot in the back by a passenger in her car. The passenger had the gun hidden in his coat unbeknownst to his friends and accidentally fired it through the driver's seat. The driver was struck in the lower back and, after extensive recovery, sustained paralysis in her lower right leg.

The passenger had the gun for protection as he had been threatened by another youth. He had taken the gun from his father's locked gun box. A design defect in the box allowed the youth to remove the gun without opening, or even damaging, the box. Suit was brought against both the gun company and the gun box manufacturer. The gun box was designed in part by the gun company and was sold with the gun and bore the imprint of the gun company.

After extensive pretrial preparation, including numerous expert and company employee depositions, a confidential settlement was reached with the gun company. At the start of trial, a substantial settlement was also reached with the gun box manufacturer.

Drowning Results in Settlement & Change in Procedures

An employee of a convenience store and gas station was ordered by his employer to remain at the store long enough to secure cigarettes and candy despite rising water in a nearby creek. By the time the supplies were safe, the water was too high for the employees to leave the store.

City of Charleston Fire Department rescuers went in by raft to rescue the employees. After the boat's motor struck something and stopped, the raft was caught in the current and overturned. Three employees of the store drowned. None had been provided with a life jacket.

Suit was brought against the store management for violating its own standards in ordering the employees to remain. Suit was also brought against the city for failing to properly train and equip the firemen, none of whom had been trained in swift water rescue. Settlements were reached with both defendants prior to trial.

ATV Accident Leaves Young Man Paralyzed, Settlement with Manufacturer

A 16-year-old boy was riding a four-wheeled ATV on a trail in Southern West Virginia. The ATV, designed to be an inexpensive, entry-level model, had no front brakes and a rigid rear axle. While descending a dirt path through the woods, the boy was unable to slow and turn and lost control.

The ATV flipped and landed on the rider, causing a cervical fracture resulting in quadriplegia. Suit was brought against the foreign manufacturer, alleging design defects. Prior to trial, after a ruling by the court excluding much of the opinions of the defendant's expert, a multi-million dollar settlement was reached.

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