Big Oil Versus Small-Town Families
In the middle of the night, while everyone was sleeping, a pipeline owned by a big oil company sprang a leak. The leak occurred as a result of the company's faulty repair of a valve. Before the leak was discovered, over 500 gallons of gasoline spread across the land where four families lived. Consequently, our clients were exposed to Hydrocarbons containing Benzene; a known carcinogenic that is DNA reactive. Incredibly, this exposure was further exacerbated by the fact that the oil company's representatives allowed and encouraged several children to play on the mounds of contaminated dirt! With the oil company's assertion that the exposure was really nothing to worry about, we brought our action into federal court. It was very gratifying to have the health concerns of these families finally acknowledged by a recovery of over $700,000.
While sitting on her front porch, our client, a 35 year old woman, was asked by a neighbor if the neighbor could come up to the porch to admire the flowers. Our client asked the neighbor if her tethered dog was friendly and was told that "he was just a big baby". As our client joined the neighbor and the dog at the garden, the "big baby" jumped up and mauled her face, requiring a trip to the emergency room. Our client received stitches around her mouth and eyes. With the insurance company taking the position that a "few scratches" to the face was nothing to be too concerned about, we filed suit and ultimately recovered $62,500.
Sometimes we have to take a case just because it's the right thing to do. A police woman who lived in a family-oriented neighborhood made a habit of harassing her neighbors by "over policing" the neighborhood when she was off duty: She gave out tickets to all of the guests at her neighbor's wedding reception; ticketed her neighbor's teenagers for playing music while outside on Christmas day; and would follow visitors to her neighbors' residences to inspect their vehicles for violations. When one of the neighbors dared to write a letter of complaint to the Chief of Police, she sued him for slander and defamation. We answered the suit to protect our client's right to free speech and succeeded in not only defeating the suit, but also by obtaining an order from the court that required the police woman to pay our client's attorney fees.
Well, not quite rags to riches, but close. From time to time, we represent indigent people as part of giving back to our profession. Our client was a 65 year old man, with a chronic illness, who lived in an abandoned house, with no electricity. We had helped him before with things like applying for Medicaid benefits and obtaining proper identification. One day, as he was walking across a street, a car ran a red light and struck him, causing him to break his foot and ankle. Within two months, we settled his case for policy limits of $50,000. With that money, our client was able to become a resident of a retirement home and now enjoys the comfort of living in a safe place.
Our client, a 57 year-old lady, went to her local convenience store to buy some milk. After selecting and paying for her purchase, she began to walk to the exit when her foot stepped into a depression in the floor, causing her to fall. As it turns out, several pieces of tile had been removed from a section of the floor and, rather than repair the tile, the owner decided to simply cover the depression with a thin mat. Proprietors have a duty to their customers to provide a reasonably safe environment of their premises. In this case, they failed to maintain adequate safety for our client. We filed suit and ultimately obtained $100,000 for our client.
Our client, a "forty-something" grandmother, was out for a night at the casino with her girlfriends. To close out their evening, the "girls" decided on a late supper at the casino restaurant. As she walked into the restaurant, our client stepped onto a tile floor covered with grease and fell flat on her back. Despite the fact that my client sustained a very painful herniated disc in the fall, the casino was betting that she would take a $10,000 offer and just go away. Wrong bet. We immediately filed after the "offer" and ultimately received $100,000 for our client. This time, the house didn't win.