the top 100 verdictsof 2013

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1 March 24, 2014 the top 100 verdictsof 2013 BY Amanda Bronstad For the first time in years, intellectual property cases contributed no billion-dollar jury verdicts in In fact, IP recoveries decreased significantly both in number and in dollar amount when compared with Nine IP verdicts collectively totaling just below $808.5 million made The National Law Journal affiliate VerdictSearch s Top 100 Verdicts of That represented an 81.6 percent drop in value from 2012, when 16 verdicts totaled nearly $4.4 billion. Last year ended a three-year stretch in which at least one IP verdict each year exceeded $1 billion. These reduced verdicts are a reflection that it has gotten harder to prove damages and judges are insisting on a greater degree of rigor, said Douglas Cawley, a principal at McKool Smith in Dallas, whose firm obtained a $172.7 million IP verdict that ranked No. 11 on the list. The results were based on Verdict Search s survey of court records nationally, consultations with practitioners and a review of news reports by other ALM Media LLC publications. The key was what the jury awarded; the survey did not account for subsequent judicial reductions, offsets or appeals. The highest IP verdict, at No. 6, was for $290.5 million. It came in the damages retrial between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. over smartphone and tablet patents. The first trial ended in a $1.05 billion jury award to Apple ranked No. 2 in highest verdicts in But U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh slashed $410 million from the award after agreeing with Samsung that the jury s damages were improper as to half the products in the case. She turned to jurors last year to recalculate the vacated amount. Koh issued final judgment on March 6 of almost $929.8 million; a third patent trial between the two companies is set to begin March 31. The decrease in IP verdicts could reflect judges interpretation of recent rulings by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that make it harder to prove damages, Cawley said. They have insisted on much more rigorous proof about what the invention has actually contributed economically to the infringing product, he said. How much have sales gone up? How much of consumer demand is actually Top verdicts of the year Antitrust Topples IP For Largest Awards IP recovery values fell by 82 percent in attributable to the invention? How much has the market grown as a result of the invention? He predicted continued difficulty for patent claims. That s not to say you won t have an occasional huge verdict billion-dollar or otherwise. But for most patent cases, it will continue to be challenging to prove damages. The billion-dollar awards The top verdict in the country came in antitrust law: A $1.2 billion award against The Dow Chemical Co. in a case involving pricefixing of urethane. That outcome pushed antitrust awards to the No. 1 category, last year topping out at nearly $1.5 billion. The next highest categories nursing home abuse and defamation involved cases in which the defendants didn t appear at trial. Both occurred in Florida, which outranked previous leader California as producing the most verdicts on VerdictSearch s list. Florida had 16 verdicts during 2013, although Los Angeles County Superior Court remained the most prolific single venue in the nation, contributing six of California s 15 top listed verdicts. The No. 2 award of $1.1 billion went to plaintiffs lawyer Bennie Lazzara Jr. of Tampa s Wilkes & McHugh, in another verdict against a nursing home owner. At No. 3, homebuilder Lennar Corp. obtained a $1 billion verdict against real estate developer Nicolas Marsch III and his company, Briarwood Capital LLC, accused of hiring convicted felon Barry Minkow to publish false reports likening the Miami real estate firm to a Ponzi scheme. Toxic torts ranked No. 4, due to a $816.8 million verdict obtained by the state of New Hampshire in a rare trial over drinking water contamination by the banned gasoline additive MTBE. All but one of the defendants, Exxon Mobil Corp., settled with the state for a total of more than $130 million. Given its 29 percent market share at that time, however, Exxon is expected to pay $236 million in cleanup costs. At nearly $768.8 million, products liability verdicts, although far from reaching the dollar values of past years, reversed a decline that began in The resurgence came most noticeably in cases brought by workers diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma, which often is traced to asbestos exposure, which contributed more than onethird of the 17 verdicts last year. And the winners are: $1.2B The No. 1 verdict was a $1.2 billion award against The Dow Chemical Co. in an antitrust case filed by purchasers of the chemical urethane. $1.1B The No. 2 verdict was a $1.1 billion award against the owner of a nursing home that was sued for neglecting one of its residents. $1.0B No. 3 was a $1 billion defamation verdict for Lennar Corp. Insurers influence Danny Kraft Jr., an associate at New York s Weitz & Luxenberg who obtained the largest products liability verdict last year a record $190 million award to five plaintiffs, two of whom were still alive said juries are deciding more cases now that Resolute Management Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and a leading insurance firm for several of the defendant companies, has become more reluctant to settle. This particular insurer doesn t want to negotiate, is trying to change the playing field, and is forcing us to go to trial more often, he said. Although not a significant category, employment cases totaled $310.6 million due to two successful verdicts obtained by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The largest verdict, for $240 million, was the largest in the agency s history, although it was reduced to $3.4 million in a final judgment in June. It involved 32 workers with mental disabilities who were subjected to abuse at a turkey processing plant in Iowa. The fact that the jury rendered the largest verdict ever obtained by the EEOC says volumes about the severity of the violation, EEOC general counsel David Lopez said. Contact Amanda The cover is customized in collaboration and for the sole reprint purposes of Travelers.

2 the top 100 verdictsof 2013 The National Law Journal s VerdictSearch affiliate scoured the nation s court records in search of 2013 s biggest verdicts, also consulting with practitioners and reviewing reports by other ALM Media LLC publications. The amounts listed here represent jury awards they do not account for judicial reductions, offsets or appeals. the top 100 verdicts of 2013 Top Verdict Categories Dollar value of Top 100 verdicts by cause of action, in millions. Driveshaft broke off truck, killed oncoming passenger in pickup Intellectual Property $4,396 1 Antitrust $1,476 2 Fraud $1,161 2 Nursing homes $1,137 3 Nursing homes $1,100 3 Defamation $1,002 4 Medical malpractice $1,031 4 Toxic torts $918 5 Dram shop $716 5 Motor vehicle $836 6 Breach of contract $475 6 Intellectual property $808 7 Breach of fiduciary duty $415 7 Products liability $769 8 Employment $410 8 Worker/negligence $732 9 Workplace safety $403 9 Medical malpractice $ Products liability $ Breach of contract $431 Source: VerdictSearch. Figures are rounded to the nearest $1 million. Case Type: Negligent Maintenance Transportation Trucking Gross Negligence Wrongful Death Motor Vehicle Tractor-Trailer Case: Aguilar v. Heckmann Water Resources (CVR) Inc., Dimmit Co., Texas, Dist. Ct., DCVCLM, 12/5/2013 Plaintiffs Attorney: Jose Luis Castillo, Hernandez & Castillo, Laredo, Texas; Gene S. Hagood, Hagood & Neumann, Alvin, Texas Defense Attorney: Ricardo R. Reyna, Brock Person Guerra Reyna, San Antonio Jury verdict: $281,639,000 Facts & Allegations On May 29, 2012, plaintiffs decedent Carlos Aguilar, 30s, was a passenger in a pickup truck with a co-worker driving. They were heading west on Farm to Market Road 133 in Dimmit County, which is part of the Eagle Ford Shale. Ruben Osorio Gonzalez was heading east in a tractor-trailer owned and operated by oilfield water supplier Heckmann Water Resources (CVR) Inc., Pleasanton. A 30-inch, 25-pound driveshaft assembly broke off from the tractor-trailer and crashed through the pickup s windshield, hitting Aguilar in the head and neck and killing him. Heckmann s parent company is Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz. Aguilar s estate and family sued Heckmann Water Resources (CVR) Inc., Heckmann Water Resources Corp., Nuverra, and Gonzalez for failure to make sure the 18-wheeler was maintained properly. The plaintiffs alleged failure to properly and timely lubricate the driveshaft and related equipment. The plaintiffs liability experts testified that the bearings were bone dry, which caused the driveshaft to reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, start melting and break off. The plaintiffs alleged ordinary and gross negligence. The defendants denied the allegations and argued that it was unforeseeable that the driveshaft assembly would break off. Maintenance records said full service had been performed on the truck, and the defense argued that full service included lubrication. Injuries/Damages death; head; neck Aguilar was struck in the head and neck. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital and was pronounced dead. The plaintiff was survived by his parents, Eudelia and Jose Luis Aguilar; Vanessa Arce, who alleged that she was his common-law wife; and his eight children. The survivors sought damages for past and future economic loss, past and future pecuniary loss, past and future loss of companionship and society, and past and future mental anguish. The estate sought damages for conscious pain and suffering, medical bills, and funeral and burial expenses. The children, the estate and Vanessa Arce also sought punitive damages. Economic loss was defined as including reasonable contributions of a pecuniary value and financial support, excluding loss of inheritance, that in reasonable probability would have been received 2

3 from Aguilar had he lived. Pecuniary loss was defined as loss of care, nonfinancial maintenance and support, services, advice, and counsel that in reasonable probability would have been received from Aguilar had he lived. Arce and Aguilar had lived together since about She introduced at least 15 documents, including insurance forms and a mortgage application, in which Aguilar identified her as his wife. Also, Aguilar was a U.S. Army veteran who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he told his fellow soldiers that he was married. About four months before the accident, he had returned to the U.S. from a 10-month tour of duty in Iraq. Aguilar s ex-wife, Clarissa Aguilar, the mother of five of the children, testified about their relationship with the decedent and their suffering since his death. Plaintiffs counsel introduced many photos of the decedent with his children throughout their lives. The defense, noting that Aguilar and Arce filed separate tax returns, questioned whether they were married. The defense also questioned the decedent s character and noted that he fathered children out of wedlock during a prior marriage Result The jury found negligence by Heckmann but not Gonzalez. The jury also found by clear and convincing evidence that Aguilar s death resulted from gross negligence attributable to Heckmann. The jury found that Heckmann authorized the doing and the manager of the grossly negligent act; that the employee who acted was a vice principal acting in the scope of his employment; and that Heckmann or a vice principal ratified or approved the act. The jury found actual damages of $181,639,000 and punitive damages of $100,000,000, for a total of $281,639,000. The jury found that Vanessa Arce and Aguilar were married before his death. According to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas, the number of producing oil leases in the Eagle Ford Shale increased from 40 in 2009 to 1,262 in According to the Texas Department of Transportation, preliminary crash reports indicate that there were 2,723 fatal and serious injury crashes and 248 traffic fatalities in 2012, and the death count represents a 40 percent increase in roadway fatalities over the previous year. Parents and child killed after colliding with parked truck Case Type: Rear-ender Motor Vehicle Truck Motor Vehicle Tractor-Trailer Emotional Distress Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Motor Vehicle Parked Car Motor Vehicle Passenger Wrongful Death Case: Asam v. Ortiz, Los Angeles Co., Calif., Super. Ct., PC051705, 10/25/2013 Plaintiffs Attorney: Brian Brandt, Law Offices of Brian Brandt, Upland, Calif.; Christopher E. Purcell, Purcell Law, Santa Ana, Calif. Defense Attorney: Raymond D. McElfish, McElfish Law Firm, West Hollywood, Calif., Tyrone I. Toczauer, McElfish Law Firm, West Hollywood, Calif. Jury verdict: $150,750,000 Facts & Allegations In the early morning of Nov. 22, 2009, plaintiffs decedent Michael Asam, 41, an electrical lineman for the City of Riverside, was driving a sport utility vehicle that was pulling a utility trailer on northbound Interstate 210. He was accompanied by his wife, Shannon Asam, 40, and three children, Brennan Asam, 14, Blaine Asam, 11, and Kylie Asam, 9. They were on their way to spend Thanksgiving with family in Oregon. At approximately 5:05 a.m., the Asam SUV left the roadway, just east of the Sunland Boulevard exit, and crashed into the rear of an 18-wheeler truck that was parked on the side of the road. Mr. Asam, Mrs. Asam and Brennan became pinned underneath the wreckage, while Blaine and Kylie were able to escape the vehicle through a broken rear window. Blaine and Kylie then attempted to free their mother from the vehicle, when a fire started in the engine compartment of the SUV and began to spread. The children flagged down a motorist, who attempted to stop the fire with a fire extinguisher and by shoveling dirt onto the engine. The motorist also made two emergency calls, but after 10 minutes, the fire spread, resulting in the deaths of Mr. Asam, Mrs. Asam and Brennan. Blaine and Kylie claimed they witnessed the vehicle burning as their family members remained trapped inside. Blaine and Kylie, by and through their guardian ad litem David Asam, their grandfather, sued the operator of the 18-wheeler, Rudolph Ortiz; the owner of the 18-wheeler and Ortiz s employer, Bhandal Bros Trucking Inc.; and the owner of Bhandal Bros, Manghai Bhandal. Blaine and Kylie alleged Ortiz was negligent in the stopping of the 18-wheeler, and that Bhandal Bros and Manghai Bhandal were vicariously liable for Ortiz s actions. Thus, they claimed that the defendants were liable for the wrongful death of their father, mother and older brother. Bhandal Bros and Ortiz subsequently filed a third-party complaint against General Motors, Mirage Enterprises, and Falken Tire. The claim against Manghai Bhandal, the individual, was dismissed early in the proceedings, and the third-party defendants filed motions for summary judgment. Bhandal Bros and Ortiz ultimately dismissed their third-party claim without prejudice. In addition, Blaine passed away on June 6, 2013, and a stipulation was read to the jury that Blaine was deceased, but that his death was unrelated to the case and that the jury was not to speculate further on the matter. Thus, Kylie proceeded to trial on her wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims against Bhandal Bros and Ortiz, and on behalf of Blaine s claim as a successor-in-interest. Plaintiffs counsel contended that while the Asam SUV was traveling on the 210 Freeway, it struck a piece of roadway debris, causing the left front tire of the trailer to lose pressure. Counsel contended that as a result, Mr. Asam made an emergency maneuver to get off onto the shoulder, just east of the Sunland Boulevard exit, and crashed into the rear of Ortiz s 18-wheeler truck, which was parked on the side of the road. Plaintiffs counsel noted that Ortiz did not obtain his commercial truck driver license until two years before the accident, at age 72, and that prior to working for Bhandal Bros, Ortiz had two other commercial truck driving jobs within the span of 11 months. Counsel also contended that Ortiz had the opportunity to exit the freeway and sleep at numerous locations, but failed to do so. Thus, plaintiffs counsel argued that Ortiz was negligent for parking his 18-wheeler on the shoulder of the northbound 210 Freeway to sleep despite written warnings that stopping in the area was only allowed for emergencies. Counsel also argued that Ortiz was parked with all external vehicle lights and reflectors off, in violation of State and Federal safety regulations, and that as a result, Mr. Asam failed to see the truck in the darkness when he pulled over to the shoulder. Counsel further argued that Ortiz destroyed his driver logs later that day, which included evidence of how much sleep he had received prior to the accident. As a result, the jury received a spoliation-of-evidence instruction from the judge on this matter. Ortiz, who was 73 at the time of the accident, claimed that shortly before the crash, at approximately 5 a.m., he pulled over and parked on the dirt adjacent to the shoulder. He alleged that he was parked 3 feet to the right of the shoulder and that he was not in violation of the emergency parking only law because it only applied to the 10-foot shoulder. He also alleged that he intended to sleep at a truck stop in Castaic, less than 25 miles from the accident scene, and that he only pulled over briefly to urinate and take some medication for his headache. Ortiz claimed that as a result, he turned off his truck s headlights, but left on his running lights, navigation lights and taillights. He also claimed he believed he left his flashers on and was not there long enough to put out reflective triangles. Defense counsel contended that, according to the truck s electronic data recorder, Ortiz was stopped for less than five minutes before the accident occurred. Ortiz claimed that after feeling the impact and gathering himself, he exited the cab and, upon seeing the fire, ran to get his fire extinguisher and attempted to put out the fire, but to no avail. Defense counsel argued that plaintiffs counsel failed to meet their burden of proof. Counsel contended that Mr. Asam experienced microsleep -- a temporary episode of sleep that can last a couple of seconds -- and drifted off of the roadway, resulting in the collision. Counsel argued that there was no evidence of any such roadway debris ever found and that police believed the Mr. Asam s trailer tire damage was sustained during the collision sequence. Counsel further contended that Ortiz was parked on the dirt to the right of the shoulder, and that he stopped due to a headache. Thus, defense counsel argued that Ortiz was required by Federal law to stop driving if his illness was interfering with his ability to drive and that Ortiz pulled over to the far right, leaving 13 feet for another vehicle to pull into the emergency parking lane, if needed. Counsel also argued that plaintiffs counsel offered no evidence that the truck s lights or flashers were off prior to the accident, and contended that the lights and flashers were destroyed by the collision 3

4 and immediate fire that developed below the trailer, where the wiring for the lights was located. Defense counsel further argued that plaintiffs counsel offered no evidence of any safer location Ortiz should have stopped at. In addition, defense counsel contended that Ortiz turned over his logs to police, both at the scene and upon the police s further request by fax in the days following the accident. Counsel further contended that the logs were produced in discovery and that there was no evidence to suggest that Ortiz had destroyed them. In response, plaintiffs counsel argued that Ortiz changed his story multiple times, originally claiming that he pulled over to sleep, while telling the investigating officer that he stopped to urinate. Counsel argued that the defense s trial testimony that Ortiz had a headache was the third version. Plaintiffs counsel also disputed Ortiz s claim that he exited the truck after gathering himself and that he attempted to put out the fire with his fire extinguisher, and argued that Ortiz, instead, remained inside the cab of the truck until 15 minutes after the stopped motorist made a second 911 call. Thus, plaintiffs counsel argued that Ortiz lacked credibility. In addition, the plaintiffs biomechanics expert testified that even if Mr. Asam had fallen asleep at the wheel, it would not have been a fatal accident, but for the fact that Ortiz was parked illegally on the shoulder. Regarding plaintiffs counsel s allegation that Ortiz changed his story, defense counsel responded that Ortiz never completed his interview on-scene with the investigating officer, as Ortiz was transported to the hospital for treatment of chest pains. Defense counsel argued that Ortiz consistently stated that he pulled over to both take medication for his headache and to urinate, and that this is what Ortiz told the investigating officer when he called Ortiz the day after the accident. Ortiz claimed he also told this to his employer, wife, and another investigator who called him after the accident, as well as testified to this at both his deposition and trial. Injuries/Damages burns; death; emotional distress; loss of society; multiple trauma Following the accident, Michael, Shannon and Brennan Asam remained pinned underneath the wreckage of their vehicle when a fire started in the engine compartment and quickly spread, resulting in their deaths. Mr. Asam was 41, his wife was 40 and his eldest son was 14. Blaine, who was also in the vehicle at the time of the accident, later died of related causes. Thus, Mr. Asam, Mrs. Asam and Brennan are survived by the youngest child, Kylie. Kylie claimed that she suffers emotional distress based on the knowledge that her family s vehicle was burning while her parents and older brother remained trapped inside. Thus, plaintiffs counsel asked the jury to award Kylie, individually and on behalf of Blaine s estate, $130 million in total damages, including wrongful death damages for Kylie s parents and brother, Brennan, as well as damages for the negligent infliction of Kylie s emotional distress. Economic damages were waived at trial. Result The jury found that Ortiz was at fault for the accident. It also found that Mr. Asam was negligent, but that his negligence was not a substantial factor in causing damages. Thus, the jury awarded $150,750,000 in total damages. Post-Trial Defense counsel moved for a new trial, to set aside the verdict, for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and for remittitur. Judge Marc Marmaro disagreed with the jury s finding that Mr. Asam s negligence was not a substantial factor in causing the accident. Thus, he granted the defense s motion for a partial JNOV and ordered a new trial on this issue. Marmaro also found that the jury s award was excessive and granted the defense s motion for a new trial on the issue of damages. Parents: School board failed to provide safe bus stop site Case Type: Pedestrian Motor Vehicle Bus School Case: Davis v. Prince George s County Board of Education, Prince George s Co., Md., Cir. Ct., CAL , 4/5/2013 Plaintiffs Attorney: John F. X. Costello, John F.X. Costello & Associates, Camp Springs, Md.; George B. Huckabay, Ortman, Love & Huckabay, Bethesda, Md. Defense Attorney: Abbey G. Hairston, Thatcher Law Firm, Greenbelt, Md. Jury verdict: $90,357,776 Facts & Allegations On Sept. 1, 2009, plaintiffs decedent Ashley Davis, 13, a freshman at a local high school, was crossing the street to get on a school bus at Brinkley Road in Temple Hills. Ashley had been assigned to a school bus that was supposed to make stops on the side of the street that she was living on, so that she did not have to cross the street to get on the bus. However, for approximately six days previous, that bus had never arrived, and instead Ashley boarded the bus across the street. The first time the bus allegedly failed to arrive, on August 24, 2009, Ashley was driven to school by her grandfather. For the subsequent days, she crossed the street to board the bus that stopped across from her stop. On Sept. 1, while she crossed Brinkley Road she was struck by a Lincoln Continental traveling eastbound. The vehicle then struck a minivan and a 17-year-old boy walking on the opposite side of the street. Ashley later died from her injuries. Jerome Bradley and Nycole Davis, Ashley s parents, individually and on behalf of their daughter sued Prince George s County Board of Education for wrongful death, alleging that the school system created a dangerous situation by not providing a safe bus stop for Ashley to use. In the amended complaint, Jerome Bradley did not file an individual claim. According to Ashley s parents, the school system was negligent in that it should have known that it would be dangerous for students to cross Brinkley Road to get on a school bus. They claimed that Ashley was assigned to wait on her side of the street for a bus that never came, and the defendant was negligent for not providing the children on that side of Brinkley Road with the bus that was supposed to service them. The plaintiff s traffic safety expert opined that the standard of care required that the school board place a bus stop on the side of the street that Ashley was standing on. Its failure to do so, according to the expert, was a breach of duty by the defendant. Defense counsel disputed the plaintiffs allegations of negligence, contending that the Board of Education complied with state law and its regulations by providing a bus stop on the side of the street. They contended that prior to the start of school, Ashley s family was given a written notice from the school system to expect mix-ups and delays for the first several days of school, and that parents should contact the school and transportation department to report if a bus does not show up. They contended that Nycole Davis admitted that although she received the notice, she did not report to the school or the transportation department the failure of the bus to show up. Instead, they contended that she instructed her daughter to cross Brinkley Road to catch the bus across the street. They contended that if Ashley s parents did not give the school any notice of the failure of the bus to appear, there could be no breach of duty by school board. They also argued that the defendant s liability for the safety of students did not begin until the student boarded the bus, if the bus stop is in a safe area. Defense counsel also argued contributory negligence on the part of Ashley. Cell phone records showed that within three minutes of the accident, Ashley was sending and receiving text messages. According to defense counsel, witnesses saw Ashley using her cell phone as she was crossing Brinkley Road, indicating that she was not paying full attention as she crossed the street. Defense counsel also alleged that Ashley failed to use a crosswalk when crossing the street, and because of where she was versus the position of the sunlight at the time of the accident, the bus driver was unable to see Ashley in time to avoid striking her with the vehicle. They also alleged that Ashley assumed risk when crossing the street. Nycole Davis admitted at trial that she told Ashley to be careful when crossing the street, because it was dangerous. Defense counsel argued for judgment at the close of all evidence to avoid having the case go to a jury. The court denied the motion for judgment. Injuries/Damages death; emotional distress; loss of society; mental/psychological; traumatic brain injury Following the collision, Ashley Davis was unconscious at the scene. She was taken by ambulance to Children s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She was admitted with a traumatic brain injury from the collision. She died approximately 14 days later. Ashley s parents sought a recovery for her wrongful death, as well as survival damages and reimbursement for the medical expenses incurred in Ashley s hospitalization. Nycole Davis incurred $344, in medical bills as Ashley s custodial parent. The parents sought to recover for loss of comfort, society, companionship, protection, care, attention, advice and counsel. Also sought were damages for the emotional loss of a child and mental anguish, as well as funeral expenses for Ashley s burial. Plaintiffs counsel did not present a figure for the jury to award. 4

5 Defense counsel contended that Ashley with her grandparents at the time of her death, and had lived with them for several years. Her parents had reportedly lived together for approximately three years. The grandparents were not parties in the case. Result The jury found that the school board was negligent, and that its negligence was a proximate cause of the accident. Jurors also decided that Ashley Davis was not contributorily negligent in the accident nor did she assume the risk of her injuries. The jury determined that the plaintiffs damages totaled $90,357, Post-Trial Defense counsel filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on April 16, According to counsel, pursuant to Maryland state law, damages for the Board of Education were capped at $100,000. Along with a set-off of $20,000 for the settlement with the driver of the vehicle that struck Davis, counsel contended that the award should be reduced to $80,000. Fatigue, lack of training led to truck crash, family alleged Case Type: Negligent Training Motor Vehicle Truck Wrongful Death Case: Estate of Udy v. Standard E&S, Santa Fe Co., N.M., Dist. Ct., D-101-CV , 3/21/2013 Plaintiffs Attorney: Bill Robins III, Heard, Robins, Cloud & Black, Santa Fe, N.M.; George T. Waddoups, Robert J. DeBry & Associates, Salt Lake City Defense Attorney: Randal W. Roberts, Simone Roberts & Weiss, Albuquerque Jury verdict: $58,500,000 Facts & Allegations On March 3, 2010, plaintiffs decedent Kevin Udy, a mechanical engineer, was driving when a tanker-trailer, which was owned by Zia Transport Inc. and driven by Monte Lyons, allegedly made a sudden turn in front of him. Standard E&S LLC employed Lyons and Bergstein Enterprises Ltd., was a management firm working with the trucking companies. The tanker-trailer and Udy s vehicle collided and Udy died as a result of his injuries. Santa Fe Trust, Inc., acting as the personal representative of the estate of Kevin Udy, along with Susan, Scott, Sarah, Devon, Landon, Jolynn, Emily, Leo and Rhea Udy, sued Lyons, Standard E&S, Zia Transport and Bergstein Enterprises. The plaintiffs alleged that the driver was negligent, the vehicle owner was vicariously liable and that the driver s training was inadequate. The plaintiffs claimed that Lyons suddenly turned in front of Udy as Lyons pulled the truck into the Standard E&S facility. The plaintiff further argued that Lyons was fatigued; that he had driven more hours than allowed; and that he had not adequately recorded his time in the driver s log. The plaintiff also contended that the driver had not been adequately trained, and that the defendant companies did not keep accurate and adequate records of the driver s hours and the maintenance of the vehicle. The plaintiffs further argued that the defendant companies had a history of prior federal and state violations. The plaintiffs trucking expert testified regarding the federal standards and regulations, and opined that the companies had previously violated the regulations. The defense denied the plaintiff s allegations, arguing that Lyons was not negligent and that the maintenance and training practices were appropriate. Injuries/Damages death Udy died as a result of the accident. He was survived by his wife, five children and two parents. Udy s children were all adults by the time of trial. His family claimed that Udy was conscious for approximately 10 to 15 minute prior to his death. The plaintiffs sought recovery of wrongful death, including pre-death pain and suffering, and loss of parental guidance and loss of services. Only Susan, Devon, Landon and Jolynn were entitled by the court to seek loss of consortium. The defendants contended that Udy s conscious pain and suffering was minimal, and that he lost consciousness instantaneously. The defendants also contested the loss of services, parental guidance and consortium. Result The jury rendered a plaintiffs verdict, finding Bergstein Enterprises 70 percent liable, Standard E&S 20 percent liable, Zia Transport 9 percent liable, and Lyons 1 percent liable. It awarded $58.5 million, which consisted of $47 million in punitive damages. The punitives break down as follows: $28 million against Standard E&S, $14 million against Bergstein Enterprises and $5 million against Zia. Company negligently hired and trained security guard: plaintiff Case Type: Negligent Hiring Worker/Workplace Negligence Negligent Supervision Worker/Workplace Negligence Negligent Training Worker/Workplace Negligence Negligent Security Case: Chaj v. Kim, Los Angeles Co., Calif., Super. Ct., BC456361, 6/28/2013 Plaintiffs Attorney: Fernando F. Chavez, Law Offices of Fernando F. Chavez, San Jose, Calif.; Federico C. Sayre, Sayre & Levitt, Santa Ana, Calif. Defense Attorney: John J. Duffy, Gray Duffy, Encino, Calif. Jury verdict: $57,749,022 Facts & Allegations On April 19, 2010, plaintiff Antonio Chaj, 40, a house painter, was at Barra Latina, a bar located near the intersection of Catalina Street and 8th Street, in Los Angeles, Calif. His nephews Eric Chaj and Pedro Chaj, as well as his brother, were at the bar with him when the bartender refused to serve Eric Chaj because he reportedly called the bartender a name. The bartender then jumped from behind the bar and struck Eric Chaj with a pair of brass knuckles. Emerson Quintanilla, a security guard at the bar, then kicked Eric Chaj and struck Pedro Chaj with a baton, as well as sprayed Pedro Chaj with pepper spray. Antonio Chaj allegedly attempted to intervene, but he was also struck by Quintanilla s baton. Antonio Chaj was ultimately struck eight times on the head before Quintanilla took him outside, where he continued to hit him with the baton on the head twice more. Quintanilla then kicked Antonio Chaj in the head six times, grabbed his shirt, and then smashing his head into the concrete sidewalk four times. As a result of the beating, Antonio Chaj sustained traumatic head and brain injuries, requiring the removal of a portion of his skull and brain. Antonio Chaj and his nephews sued Quintanilla; Quintanilla s employer, Jose De Jesus Flores Avalos, individually and doing business as DGSP Security & Patrol Services; and the owner of the bar, Myung Kim, also known as Kim Myhung Hee, individually and doing business as Barra Latina Inc. The Chajs brought causes of actions against the defendants for negligent hiring, supervision, and training of the security guard, as well as assault and battery. Prior to trial, the claims of assault and battery were dropped, and Eric Chaj and Pedro Chaj discontinued their respective individual claims against the defendants. Quintanilla and the bartender also disappeared from the area prior to the beginning of the civil trial. In addition, Kim, both individually and as Barra Latina, and Avalos, individually only, were let out of the case. Thus, the matter continued on Antonio Chaj s negligence claims against DGSP Security & Patrol Services only. Counsel for Antonio Chaj contended that DGSP was liable for the negligent hiring, supervision and training of Quintanilla. Counsel also contended that DGSP, as well as other security companies in California under the California Business and Professions Code, was required to provide its security guards with 32 hours of training within the first six months of employment. However, plaintiff s counsel argued that Quintanilla did not receive any training whatsoever. Counsel for Antonio Chaj further argued that DGSP was responsible to check and see if Quintanilla had a valid guard card, which guards in California are supposed to carry to verify their training. However, counsel contended that the guard card that Quintanilla was carrying was a fake and that DGSP could have easily checked whether or not Quintanilla s card was a fake, but failed to do so. Thus, counsel argued that DGSP was negligent in the hiring of an employee that did not qualify for the job. In addition, the plaintiff s security expert testified that DGSP violated the law by not checking the security guard s card to make sure that it was valid, and that Quintanilla violated the law by using a baton without having a permit for it. Thus, the expert opined that DGSP was liable for the negligent supervision and inadequate training of Quintanilla. DGSP s counsel admitted that DGSP failed to verify Quintanilla s qualifications, as well as failing to give Quintanilla the required 32 hours of training. However, counsel argued that Quintanilla acted the way he did as a result of being in a situation of mutual combat. 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