Cashen was asked to try the case two weeks before trial started, and his defense resulted in a unanimous verdict after approximately 60 minutes of deliberation.
The case stemmed from the tragic deaths of two certified aerial work platform (AWP) operators who were power washing and painting a Maricopa County jail. The AWP tipped over while being operated on a slope with the decedents 65 feet in the air.
The plaintiffs claimed the AWP should have been equipped with an interlock device, which would have prevented boom or drive functions while on a slope, and which they said would have prevented the accident. Through the two-week trial, including testimony from several witnesses and experts, Cashen was able to show operator error resulted in the fatalities.
“Words can’t capture how thankful I am to Chris Cashen and Dinsmore,” said Terex Vice President and Deputy General Counsel James Celentano. “I’ve come across many lawyers in my 25 years of practice, and Chris falls into a class that is simply exceptional.”
Terex Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Scott Posner echoed those sentiments.
"We are very happy and thankful for the efforts put forth by Chris Cashen and his team at Dinsmore,” he said. “Chris embodies what it means to have a partnership with your outside counsel. He did an outstanding job under very difficult circumstances. This was not the first time we have had a great result with Chris, and I know it will not be the last. Terex looks forward to many future successes with Chris and Dinsmore at our side."
Cashen’s work was aided by Dinsmore associate Kyle Bunnell.
This is Cashen’s second significant victory for Genie. In 2020, he successfully defended the company against a $69 million claim in the first entrapment case ever tried to verdict.
Pictured, L to R: Cashen, Bunnell
Gabrielle Smith, Individually and as Administratix of the Estate of Orlando C. Hall, Deceased v. Schwarze Industries, Inc
Date: March 2022
Party represented: Schwarze Industries, Inc.
Venue: State Court of Gwinnett
Length of trial: 5 days
Type of case: Wrongful Death Product Liability
Verdict in favor of Plaintiff in the amount of $4,250,000 with 49% fault allocated to decedent Orlando Hall and 51% allocated to Schwarze. This resulted in a net verdict of $2,167,500 in compensatory damages and no punitive damages.
WWHGD's trial team of Brannon Arnold and Rick Sager obtained a jury verdict in a difficult and hard-fought wrongful death product liability trial in Gwinnett County this week. The case arose out of an incident that occurred on September 7, 2017, when the Plaintiff’s Decedent was attempting to troubleshoot an issue on a street sweeper designed and manufactured by the firm’s client. The Decedent left the engine running, climbed the side of the street sweeper, wedged himself into a narrow compartment not meant for access behind a lockable door and was ultimately crushed to death by inadvertent activation of the conveyor when his leg contacted an exterior control that Plaintiff claimed should have been guarded. Plaintiff sought claims in the amount of $25 million alleging design defect, failure to warn, and punitive damages. After a 5-day trial and a day and a half of deliberation, the jury awarded $4,250,000 and no punitive damages. The jury further found that the Decedent was 49% at fault for the accident which reduced the net recovery to $2,167,500. This final judgment was only 8% of the $25 million ask – a very favorable result for the firm’s client.
Pictured, L to R: Arnold, Sager
DRI member John Crawford of Lommen Abdo, with offices in Minneapolis and Hudson, Wisconsin, obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful-death lawsuit on March 1, 2022. Decedent in the case died when he drove his motorcycle into an asphalt paver in the early morning hours when it was still dark. After entering into Pierringer settlements with the road construction prime contractor and a subcontractor responsible for signage and traffic safety, the trustee for Decedent’s heirs proceeded to trial against John Crawford’s client, the subcontractor which owned the paver and was responsible for paving the road.
After a five-day trial in Dakota County District Court in Hastings, Minnesota, the jury returned a verdict finding Decedent 25% at fault, the prime contractor 45% at fault, the subcontractor responsible for signage and traffic safety 15% at fault, and the asphalt subcontractor 15% at fault.
Since Decedent was more at fault than the asphalt subcontractor, judgment was entered in favor of the subcontractor pursuant to Minn. Stat. §604.01. During trial, the jury was informed that Decedent’s heirs would recover nothing from the asphalt subcontractor if Decedent was more at fault than that subcontractor.
On March 23, 2022, after a two-week trial, Frost Brown Todd obtained a defense verdict from a Carroll County, Kentucky jury in a case involving a serious bus accident. Plaintiffs criticized the design of the bus roof and body tie-downs and claimed enhancement of injuries because of the design. The bus manufacturer countered that the bus is the safest, most regulated vehicle on the road. The roof of the subject bus exceeded the requirement of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 220 by approximately 50% as measured by the permissible deflection, and 30% as measured by the required load. The bus manufacturer also introduced evidence that the non-party bus driver was driving too fast for the conditions, and that no bus roof could have withstood the forces involved in the accident.
DRI members Nick Pappas and Allison Weyand of Frost Brown Todd were lead trial counsel for the bus manufacturer and Elaine Stoll of Ulmer was appellate counsel at trial.
Pictured, L to R: Pappas, Weyand, Stoll
Ninth Circuit Affirms Landmark Victory for Burke Team and Lincoln Benefit Life Company
The Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP Insurance Litigation team has prevailed on behalf of client Lincoln Benefit Life Company in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by securing a high impact holding for the long term care insurance (LTC) insurance industry in a case of first impression -- Lincoln Benefit Life Company v. Alexander and Claire Dallal, 2022 WL 605709 (9th Cir. 2022). The insurer first obtained a verdict in August 2018, when a Southern California federal jury awarded nearly a million dollars in fraud and punitive damages against married policyholders who engaged in a 12-year scheme to defraud Lincoln Benefit client out of LTC benefits. In November 2020 and March 2021, a Central District of California Court Judge issued equitable rulings in Lincoln Benefit’s favor by finding: (1) Mr. Dallal had not been entitled to LTC benefits since 2004, and (2) the joint LTC policy under which the Dallals had fraudulently procured benefits should be voided as of July 29, 2016. The Ninth Circuit on March 1, 2022, has now affirmed the jury verdict and the equitable findings of the Court. Burke partner and lead trial attorney Melissa M. Cowan opined, “The insurance industry has been waiting a long time for this kind of ruling. The Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding the significant jury verdict and the equitable cancellation of a long-term care insurance contract for a fraudulent claim is the first of its kind. These results send a strong message that judges and juries will not tolerate fraud.” The Dallal holding has the potential to change the landscape of LTC insurance law and gives the industry another tool to help pursue fraudsters. Trial team co-chair Keiko J. Kojima added, “The Ninth Circuit’s decision reinforces the power of equity. A district court has the authority to void an insurance policy based on an insured’s claim fraud, even if the policy does not incorporate a ‘fraud cancellation’ provision.”
Pictured, L to R: Cowan, Kojima
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