Wrongful Death – Automobile

Suit was filed in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis on behalf of our clients who were the father and teen age son of a woman who was killed in an intersectional collision on Memorial Drive at the foot of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. Our clients’ spouse and mother, respectively, was enroute to pick up her son from a social event in downtown St. Louis and was proceeding through the intersection of Memorial Drive and Market Street on a green light when her vehicle was struck broad side by an SUV being driven by a professional athlete affiliated with one of St. Louis’ sports teams. This prominent athlete had just left the bar/lounge of a downtown hotel where he had been consuming alcoholic beverages. Two blocks from the hotel he was operating his SUV vehicle at a high rate of speed when he drove through a red light, violently colliding with the victim’s automobile. The victim was pronounced dead a short time after the accident. Suit was brought against this professional athlete, the sports team franchise that employed him, and the hotel where he was served the intoxicating beverages. A favorable confidential settlement was reached.

Personal Injury/Wrongful Death – Medical Malpractice

Suit filed in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis against physicians and hospital for professional negligence surrounding the birth of a premature infant. The physician pediatrician pronounced the infant dead soon after a troublesome premature delivery. However, nurses observed the infant breathing and detected improving vital signs and immediately began life sustaining efforts. After notifying the physician of these developments the physician was still of the opinion that the infant was “legally dead” and the nurses were instructed to leave the infant unattended in an unheated isolette (newborn hospital crib). The infant eventually expired. This case played out like the script from the feature film The Verdict, starring Paul Newman. As in the movie, the key nurse/witness who was vital to a successful outcome of our client’s case went missing soon after the occurrence and could not be found. Through dogged private investigation over the course of several years, it was determined shortly before the trial date that the nurse had changed her name and moved to another city, for fear of being “black balled” from the nursing profession if she was called upon to testify truthfully to the events she had witnessed. The name she was using and the city where she was living were still unknown. The trial was scheduled to commence following a holiday weekend. Approximately one week before the trial, on a hunch the missing nurse might visit her parents’ home for the holiday, our private investigator was assigned to stake out the St. Louis County home of her parents. She did appear at her parents’ home and our private investigator served her with a subpoena to appear and testify at trial. When opposing counsel became aware that we now had this nurse under subpoena a very favorable confidential settlement was reached on the Friday preceding the Monday trial date. This emotionally charged chase brought into play interesting and complex medico/legal ethics issues and questions dealing with the legal definition of death as well as right to life and quality of life issues.

Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice

Client, a recent graduate of chiropractic school set to embark on his career as a chiropractic physician underwent arthroscopic surgery of his right elbow at local hospital. The surgery was performed by a physician in the orthopedic residency program at the hospital, under supervision and with the assistance of a more experienced staff physician. During the course of the surgery the radial nerve in the client’s right arm was partially severed, resulting in permanent injury in the arm. As a result, the client did not have sufficient strength and function in his arm to enable him to perform as a chiropractic physician and he had to abandon this career. Following trial in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, the jury returned a substantial verdict for our client and his wife which was upheld on appeal.

Wrongful Death – Medical Malpractice

Client was the surviving spouse of a patient at Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. A staff physician at the hospital failed to diagnose breast cancer of our client’s wife, which ultimately resulted in her death. Suit was filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act and trial of this case resulted in a substantial award to our client.

Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice

Suit brought against doctor and hospital in the Circuit Court of St. Charles County, Missouri for the obstetrician’s failure to timely perform delivery by caesarian section. The fetus was left too long in the birth canal causing fetal hypoxia/asphyxia resulting in traumatic brain damage–cerebral palsy, from lack of oxygen. The defendant physician had been a named defendant in two previous suits alleging birth defects as a result of her professional negligence. A favorable confidential settlement was reached.

Personal Injury – Product Liability/Concrete Pumping Machine

Suit brought in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis, against manufacturer of a concrete pumping machine on behalf an illiterate laborer who had his fingers traumatically amputated while cleaning the machine. The manufacturer failed design or equip the machine with a simple “deadlock” switch mechanism that would have prevented the machine from cycling during the cleaning process. Guarding of the dangerous mechanism and lack of adequate pictorial warnings were also factors in the case. We filed a product liability lawsuit on behalf of the client and hired a nationally recognized engineering expert who constructed a model to demonstrate how a simple electrical interlock switch could have prevented the injuries to our client. The case was successfully resolved for a substantial sum that compensated our client for the future income he would have earned but for his injuries.

Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice

Suit filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri, against our client’s OB/GYN physician. Client visited her OB/GYN physician with complaints of vaginal pain and discomfort. The physician, without conducting any diagnostic testing concluded that the problem was fibroid tumors in the client’s uterus. Approximately nine months later, client returned to her physician with the increased complaints of pelvic and vaginal pain. The physician made the same diagnosis as before but recommended a partial hysterectomy to relieve her painful symptoms. During the ensuing surgical procedure, the defendant physician found that his patient did not have any fibroid tumors in her uterus as he had previously diagnosed but instead had a tumor on her left ovary that was subsequently determined to be malignant, consisting of clear cell adenocarcinoma. Although the physician removed her left ovary and left fallopian tube, he neglected to remove her right ovary, right fallopian tube and uterus (complete hysterectomy) to prevent this malignant cancer from metastasizing. Because of this failure, our client immediately required a second surgery, but first had to complete chemotherapy treatment that had been started. This second surgery performed four or five months later was too close in time to the first surgery to qualify as the necessary “second look” surgery to determine if the cancerous condition had been successfully treated and arrested. So, she eventually had to undergo a total of three surgeries instead of only two. This suit included as elements of damage the lost chance of successful recovery and/or diminished chance of recovery and survival and the attendant emotional/mental anxiety and distress associated with the delay in diagnosis and the client’s knowledge that the cancer was progressing from the time of her original complaints until the date of her first surgery. A favorable confidential settlement was reached.

Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice

Suit filed in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis on behalf of a client who underwent surgical removal of a large suspicious lump that had suddenly appeared at the base of her neck. Following the surgery by her Ear, Nose and Throat Physician, she initially could not lift her head up from the hospital gurney nor could she extend her right arm. During post-surgical visits with the physician she continued to complain about numbness in her neck and difficulty with lifting her right arm. The physician repeatedly advised her that her symptoms were normal and recommended vitamin therapy to assist her with her post surgical recovery. The client consulted another physician and after nerve conduction testing was performed it was determined that during the surgery, the physician had partially severed her spinal accessory nerve. Following trial, the jury returned a significant verdict in favor of our client.

Personal Injury – Trucking

Suit filed in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis on behalf of our client, a 37 year old man who sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI) with resulting altered personality, permanent cognitive deficits and other physical injuries. Our client was traveling to work southbound on Highway 100 in Franklin County, Missouri during the pre-dawn hour of darkness. An 18-wheel tractor-trailer truck hauling steel trusses on a flatbed trailer was turning left from the driveway of a rural trucking company facility to proceed north on Highway 100. Due to the length of the tractor-trailer the truck driver was unable to complete his turn in one continuous movement. Instead, it was going to be necessary for him to drive the rig as far as he could onto the opposite shoulder of the highway and then stop the rig, back it up, straighten it out, and pull forward to complete the turn. With the rig pulled out across the highway, stopped and completely blocking both lanes of the highway in this “jack-knifed” position, our client rounded a curve in the highway and did not see the poorly illuminated trailer blocking the entire highway until it was too late to stop. His vehicle “submarined” under the flatbed trailer, shearing off the top of his car. A favorable settlement was achieved for our client.

Personal Injury – Product Liability/Boat Explosion

Our clients were two brothers both in their twenties who were severely burned when their small rental boat exploded at a fuel dock at the Lake of the Ozarks. The explosion occurred as a result of a defective plastic fuel cap/fuel-fill portal assembly. Because of the defective design and/or manufacture of this product, the fuel fill tube leading from the back of the filler cap to the gas tank had sheared off behind the hull and inside the engine compartment. During fueling of the boat, the gas coming from the gas pump nozzle was being discharged directly into the engine compartment. The gas vapors subsequently ignited, causing a large explosion and engulfing the boat in flames. Both clients sustained severe burn injuries-one over 39% of his body, the other, over 29%. Suit was filed in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis against the boat manufacturer, the component manufacturer for defective design and/or defective manufacture, the boat rental company for failing to maintain and inspect the boat and the gas dock for the negligence of their employees in failing to recognize the quantity of gas being dispensed. A favorable settlement was reached on behalf of our clients during a pre-trial mediation of the case.

Personal Injury – Trucking

Our client was driving his car in the pre-dawn hours eastbound on a hilly, two-lane rural highway. A westbound garbage truck drove into the oncoming eastbound lane of the highway to make a trash pick-up on the opposite side of the roadway. The garbage truck was stopped just before the crest of a hill, blocking the entire eastbound lane. As our client came over the crest of the hill he was blinded by the truck’s head lights and did not have sufficient time to react before he collided with the truck that was stopped in front of him. Our client sustained a sever hip fracture and other serious internal injuries. Suit was filed and the case was resolved favorably for our client at a pre-trial mediation.

Personal Injury – Trucking

Our clients, husband and wife, were backing out from parking space that directly abutted a two lane rural highway. This required them to back into the highway before being able to go forward. As they were doing this, a speeding truck came over the rise in the road and “T-boned” our clients’ vehicle causing it to spin around. Client/wife was ejected from the vehicle in the process, sustaining numerous fractured bones. Both husband and wife were seriously injured. A lawsuit was filed and the case was favorably resolved for our clients.

Personal Injury – Automobile

Our client was passenger in automobile being driven in Oklahoma at a high rate of speed by an intoxicated driver. Driver of the vehicle loses control and strikes a street light. Injuries to client require amputation of both of his legs. A favorable settlement was reached which included the limits of the driver’s liability insurance coverage, the limits of the client’s underinsured motorist coverage and an additional sum which was contributed from driver’s personal funds.

Personal Injury – Product Liability/Cigarette Lighter

A 12-year old client was using a disposable butane cigarette lighter to ignite fireworks in celebration of the 4th of July holiday. After using the lighter, he placed it in his pants pocket which contained his fireworks. Investigation determined that because of a design defect in the lighter, when the gas lever was released to extinguish the lighter flame, small amounts of butane continued to escape. This prevented the flame from being completely extinguished. A user would not notice this small residual flame because it was concealed by the lighter’s integral wind screen surrounding the butane gas nozzle. When our client placed the lighter in the pocket containing the fireworks, the residual flame ignited the fireworks. The fireworks and lighter exploded, setting his pants on fire. The client sustained severe burns to his leg. We filed a products liability against the foreign manufacturer of the lighter in Federal Court. A professor in physics and thermal-dynamics at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, was retained as our expert witness. The case was successfully resolved and our client was well compensated for his pain and suffering and the permanent disfigurement to his leg.

Wrongful Death – Negligence/Drowning

Some of the most difficult cases to handle from an emotional standpoint are cases involving injury or death to young children. A beautiful six-year-old boy drowned in the swimming pool of a church-run day camp where he was receiving swimming lessons. A teenaged camp counselor left the child unattended in the pool while she went off to change into her swimming suit. The teenaged life-guard on duty was distracted and not watching the swimming pool when the young boy drowned. We represented the grief-stricken parents and filed a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. No amount of money can replace the loss of a child but under the grossly negligent circumstances compensation and accountability was called for and we successfully resolved this case for our clients.

Wrongful Death – Medical Malpractice

Another beautiful child, age 7, suffered a horrible death from Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome, a horrific skin disease that was not timely diagnosed by the child’s pediatrician. After being hospitalized, questionable treatment protocols were unsuccessfully used to halt the spread of the disease and the child died an excruciating painful death. After the parents contacted us for our help, we consulted with medical experts recognized in their respective fields of specialization. Based upon the information we learned from these medical experts, we filed a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit against the pediatrician and the hospital. A confidential settlement was reached without the necessity of proceeding to trial.

Wrongful Death – Negligence/Automobile

Teenagers, alcohol and the winding and hilly roads of rural Missouri are a dangerous combination. In this instance, we represented a single mother who lost her beautiful high-school aged daughter from a fatal alcohol related motor vehicle collision in Crawford County, Missouri. The victim was a passenger in a car struck by another vehicle driven by an intoxicated teenage driver. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of our client and a very favorable verdict was returned by the jury.

Wrongful Death – Boating

The negligence of others can take the life of young children in many gruesome ways. In this case, the sixteen-year-old son of our clients was persuaded to spend the 4th of July holiday weekend with his parents at a lake house in Warren County, Missouri, instead of attending the crowded St. Louis Riverfront festivities with friends. This was thought to be the more prudent choice. Unfortunately, that did not prove to be the case. While our client’s son was wading in the shallow water of the lake near the bank, an inexperienced and careless operator of a ski boat lost control and careened into the victim. The “skeg” and propeller of the outboard engine fatally struck the young boy’s head. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed and substantial damages recovered on behalf of the boy’s parents.

Personal Injury – Product Liability/Die Cutter Machine

Our client was a young man working in a cardboard box manufacturing company. While operating a die cutter machine he received a crush and severance injury to his dominant hand and wrist due to the lack of a safety guard on the machine. The manufacturer of the machine was located in Tokyo, Japan. After much time, effort and difficulty, we managed to have this company served with the lawsuit in Japan and subjected to jurisdiction in the United States. The case was successfully concluded for our client.

Wrongful Death – Negligence/Firearms

Our clients were the surviving husband and children of a wonderful 84 year old lady who was sitting on the back porch her suburban home with her husband. As they were enjoying the peace and contentment of their golden years, she was struck and killed by .22 caliber bullet fired by nearby neighbor who was shooting at a squirrel. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of our clients and a favorable settlement was reached without the surviving husband having to testify at trial and re-live the pain of seeing his wife of 66 years die at his feet.

Wrongful Death – Negligence/Nursing Home Fire

Our client was the surviving son of a 78-year-old woman who died as a result of smoke inhalation and related injuries sustained in a nursing home fire. The three-story licensed residential care facility housed eighty residents. Only four staff members were on duty on the evening that fire broke out in the facility. Not only was this an insufficient number considering the size of this multi-story facility that housed eighty residents, but to make matters worse, none of the employees were making rounds or on their assigned floors and were unaware that the building was on fire until nearby civilian rescuers who saw smoke coming from the building entered and activated the fire alarm. Staff then began evacuating the residents with the help of many passing volunteers. The nursing home did not have an evacuation plan in place for a full evacuation of the facility and training for full evacuation and fire evacuation drills had never taken place. The staff on duty also did not have an accurate headcount of the current number of residents. This complicated the search and evacuation of residents from the smoke and flame-filled burning building. It also compromised the ability to conduct a post-evacuation headcount to ensure that all residents had been evacuated. A total of 173 firefighters were on the scene fighting the blaze. After being assured that all residents had been evacuated, and in view of the fact the roof of the structure was beginning to collapse, the fire department captain called for the evacuation of all firefighters from the building. Later, it was determined that several residents-including our client’s mother (who resided on the third floor), had not been evacuated. Firefighters then re-entered the structure to conduct a secondary search and found our client’s mother conscious in bed but covered with portions of the collapsed and burning ceiling. While one firefighter propped up the collapsed ceiling, the other fireman put her over his shoulder and carried her from the building. She was unresponsive when she reached the hospital emergency room. She was placed on a ventilator and admitted to the burn unit with a diagnosis of smoke inhalation, respiratory failure, second and third degree burns to her legs and myocardial infarction (heart attack). The toxic effect of unspecified gas fumes and vapors she inhaled during the fire, and other medical complications that developed, resulted in her death less than three months following the fire. The wrongful death lawsuit we filed on her son’s behalf against the nursing home was favorably resolved.

Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice

Our 51-year old client had a history of having had a splenectomy (removal of spleen) and malignant lymphoma-Hodgkin’s disease for which he had undergone stem cell transplant. This medical history meant he was very susceptible to infections and had to seek medical attention if he ever had a fever greater than 102 degrees. One Friday evening after work at about 8:30 p.m., our client developed a high fever of 103.2 degrees, chills, and neck and shoulder pain. He thought he was coming down with the flu. He took a couple of Ibuprofen and watched some television. His fever and shoulder/neck pain did not improve. Because of his prior medical history, he took the precaution of going to the Emergency Room. He arrived at 10:30 p.m. His prior history was provided to the Emergency Room triage nurse. He was then left in the waiting room for five hours before being taken to an examination room. During the wait his chills increased and at one point he was shaking uncontrollably. After a nurse came in and took some additional information he was left to wait in the examining room for one and half hours until he was seen by a doctor. Blood work was done and IV fluids administered. Emergency Room physician #1 told our client he thought he had the flu. This doctor left and later, Emergency Room doctor #2 came in and told our client the same thing. At 7:45 a.m. Saturday morning, after being at the Emergency all night, our client was released to go home. Our client went to bed and later that day at 2:00 p.m he awoke. His fever was 102 degrees, the pain in his neck and shoulders was still present and he was now vomiting and had diarrhea. By 11:30 p.m. that Saturday evening his condition had deteriorated. Besides being racked with chills, he now had shortness of breath, mental confusion and development of a rash. His wife called his physician and she was instructed to get him to the Emergency Room. After his wife called 911 an ambulance arrived and conveyed our client back to the Emergency Room where he arrived at 12:21 a.m. Sunday morning in a state of shock, respiratory distress and rapidly progressing rash throughout his body. A short time later he was diagnosed with meningococcal sepsis/septicemia and meningococcal meningitis. Multi-organ system failure developed and the client was on death’s doorstep. He fortunately survived but gangrene developed in both legs and he had to have both legs amputated below the knee. We brought a medical malpractice suit against the hospital and physicians involved for the delay in treating and diagnosing the rapidly developing bacterial infection. The case was favorably resolved through a confidential settlement reached during a pre-trial mediation.

Wrongful Death – Medical Malpractice

Our clients were the surviving three children of a woman who died as a result of a routine elective “D&C” (dilation and cutterage) surgical procedure for menorrhagia-an abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding during menstrual periods. The decedent had been a patient of the OB/GYN physician for nineteen years. During that time, he had prescribed diuretics (water pills) and anorectics (appetite suppressants) on a continuous and ongoing basis. This elective surgical procedure was performed at an out-patient surgery center. The OB/GYN physician despite having personal knowledge of having prescribed the diuretics and anorectics to his patient over a 19-year period, failed to order routine pre-operative testing to review her hematology and blood chemistry levels. Before proceeding with the surgery both the OB/GYN physician and the nurse/anesthesiologist also failed to monitor the patient’s pre-operative vital signs to detect decreased blood pressure and elevated pulse rate and determine if any health conditions were present which would be a contraindication for proceeding with surgery. Upon administration of pre-operative medications by the nurse/anesthesiologist there was a noticeable decrease in the patient’s blood pressure. Despite this drop in blood pressure the nurse/anesthesiologist proceeded with administration of the anesthetic drugs causing the patient’s blood pressure to then drop precipitously. She was transferred by ambulance to the hospital emergency room where she died a short time later. After filing a wrongful death lawsuit for our clients, the case was favorably resolved for our clients.

Wrongful Death – Firearms Related

Our clients were the surviving spouse and children of a security guard who was shot and killed by his employer, the owner of the company where decedent worked as a security guard. The owner of the security company was also the Sheriff of the County where the shooting occurred. The Sherriff suspected that the decedent was having an affair with his daughter. In the course of confronting the decedent with allegations of the affair, the Sheriff shot and killed decedent and claimed the shooting was in self-defense. We filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of decedent’s spouse and family against the Sheriff personally, and against the security company he owned, on the basis that he was acting as an agent of the company when he shot the decedent. The case was resolved favorably for our clients. We collected the limits of the security company’s liability policy as well as money from the Sheriff personally. The Sheriff was tried and convicted of murdering his employee. The Sheriff was free on bond while the murder conviction was on appeal. When the murder conviction was upheld on appeal and law enforcement officers came to the Sheriff’s home to take him into custody, he committed suicide.

Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice

Our client was experiencing blood in his urine. His physician was dismissive of his symptoms and complaints and did not order a diagnostic cystoscopy. When the physician did finally refer client to a specialist and a cystoscopy was performed, two polyps were discovered on our client’s bladder. Pathology on these polyps disclosed that the client had high Grade IV invasive bladder cancer that had spread into his lymph nodes. Subsequent surgical procedures were necessary to remove his bladder, some of his lymph nodes and his prostate gland. Surgical construction of a “neo bladder” was necessary and client now must urinate by means of catheterizing himself three times a day. A medical malpractice case was filed on behalf of our client against his physician for failing to follow acceptable diagnostic standards and failure to timely diagnose our client’s cancer. The case was favorably resolved on behalf of our client.

Wrongful Death – Apartment House Fire

Our clients were the surviving parents of a young daughter who died in a fire in their apartment. The electrical circuits and wiring in the apartment building were defective and the cause of the fire. This claim was favorably resolved for our clients.

Personal Injury – Product Liability/Exploding Cookware

Our client was using a ceramic and glass casserole dish manufactured by a nationally known company that touted its cookware products as being oven safe. While client was removing the dish from her oven, it exploded in her hand. One of the shards of the exploding dish partially severed a tendon in her hand and caused a disfiguring scar. The case was favorably resolved on behalf of our client.

Personal Injury – Product Liability/Hair Product

Our client purchased a hair care product from a local beautician’s supply store for her teenage daughter. Shortly after the product was applied, the young girl experienced chemical burning of her scalp and clumps of her hair started falling out. A claim was made on behalf of our client and was favorably resolved without a lawsuit being filed. A case with similar injuries was favorably resolved for an adult who had the hair care product applied at a beauty salon.

Personal Injury – Negligence

Our client ordered a hamburger at a local restaurant. He was unaware that toothpick had been inserted through the sandwich to hold it together. When he took a bite, the toothpick pierced the roof of his mouth and he swallowed a piece the broke off. Surgery was necessary to remove fragments of the toothpick that lodged in his intestines. The claim was favorably resolved for our client. Because of this occurrence, restaurants now use toothpicks with pieces of colorful cellophane flagging attached at the end so that the toothpicks are visible to customers.