Local business is defrauded by out-of-state company
Our client entered into a contract with another company where their combined efforts would result in substantial revenues. Although the contract set forth the percentage of revenues to be paid to our client, and the percentage to be paid to the other company, for the convenience of customers it was agreed that all revenues would be wired to the company, and they were then required to immediately send our clients their percentage share. This other company lied to our client about the amounts that came in, and they committed fraud by allowing our client to continue performing work with the expectation of receiving its percentage of revenues even though the company had already decided that our client should receive a smaller percentage. We filed suit in federal court, and our client was awarded the sum of $2.7 million.
Sellers of house refuse to accept deposit when buyer defaults
Our clients entered into a standard contract for the sale of their home. The buyers paid a $15,000 deposit, but later backed out of the deal. Our clients were willing to accept the deposit try to find another buyer, but the defaulting buyer refused to sign a release so that the deposit could be paid to our clients. We filed suit against the buyer not just to recover the deposit, but for all the damages our clients incurred as a result of the buyer’s default. After a trial, our clients were awarded $71,800. The buyer regretted not allowing our clients to take the $15,000 deposit.
Court says defense medical expert not permitted to testify
Our client was injured in a car crash which caused soft tissue injuries to his low back. The insurance company for the other driver hired a doctor to examine our client, after which he wrote a report claiming that our client’s ongoing complaints of pain could not be related to the crash because low back injuries are expected to within days, weeks, or at most, a few months. We argued to the Court that this doctor should not be permitted to testify, and the Court agreed with us. Here’s part of what we told the judge:
"It is abundantly clear that rather than being based on methods and procedures of science, Dr. Katz’s evaluation is based primarily on his subjective beliefs and speculation, and is motivated entirely by profits - Dr. Katz has earned millions of dollars for forensic referrals from the defense. The profit motive provides the only logical explanation as to why Dr. Katz would become an expert in this case despite the fact that he doesn’t treat chronic pain, he’s not boarded in chronic pain, he hasn’t treated anyone for low back pain for more than a few weeks, he doesn’t have any experience prescribing narcotics for pain, he can’t explain why the plaintiff is having pain, he hasn’t done any research for this case, he disregards an MRI which reflects a left-sided disk, he views as irrelevant the fact that the plaintiff’s left leg is smaller and that the plaintiff has left sided symptoms, the only peer reviewed articles he is aware of indicate that a person can have low back pain without disk compression, there is nothing other than the accident to explain the plaintiff’s pain, and Dr. Katz had a lot of trouble with a course in logic when he took it in college."
Once their doctor was tossed from the case, the insurance company settled for the amount we were seeking.
Woman gets mugged at local mall
Woman goes to the mall to shop at a department store. After she leaves the store she heads for her car and notices another car driving slowly behind her as if he's wants her parking spot. She reaches her car and starts to unlock the door when a man jumps out of the other car and grabs her pocketbook. She won't let go and while the mugger is pulling the strap, it breaks and becomes wrapped around her wrist. He punches her in the stomach, she falls to the ground, and he starts dragging her across the parking lot. The strap finally comes free, he gets in his car and he drives off. She's shaken up of course, but she also suffers serious wrist injury which interferes with her ability to use her right hand in many activities. The attorney for the mall said she should have carried a whistle when she went shopping. During the litigation, it was discovered that the security guards had procedure manuals in their vehicles, but these manuals said nothing about customer safety. Instead the manuals contained rules for such things as not eating in their vehicle. The owners of the mall were aware of numerous other attacks but failed to increase security or warn patrons. The case settled before trial.
Grandmother to be thrown out on the street
Elderly mother lives by herself in a large house she and her now deceased husband were in for 35 years. Their mortgage was paid in full. Meanwhile, Mother's son lives with his wife and 3 kids in much smaller house with a mortgage on it. Son's wife dies, and son no longer wants to live in his house. Mother and son agree to switch houses, and son is to keep paying the mortgage on the small house. Son later tells Mother he needs to borrow money, and that the only way he could do so was to put Mother's home in his name so he could take out a mortgage on Mother's home. Mother signs over her house to son, and he gets the loan. In exchange, son tells mother she could live in the home for the rest of her life, the home was now her's, and nobody could ever take it away from her. Son remarries, and he and new wife sell Mother's home (now in son's name) and use proceeds to buy bigger house. Son later dies, and under his will, the small house is left to his kids. Son's wife and kids sue to Son's Mother to force her out of the house so one of the kids can move in. This case settled on with mom to live in the house for rest of her life.
Child gets impaled at recess
A grade school student was in the school playground during recess. This playground had a new sliding board and a new set of swings. Amazingly, whoever removed the old equipment did so by sawing off the support poles as close to the ground as possible, but failed to dig up and remove the rest of the poles. This means that the part of the poles which were buried remained buried but there were now sharp jagged metal spikes sticking up about 3 inches above the ground. This student was playing tag and was running when he stumbled and fell, landing on one of these jagged spikes. He made a good recovery, but was left with a nasty scar. One of the defenses that was raised was that the child should not have been running! This case settled, and the funds were set aside in a court supervised account until the child reaches 18 years of age.
Dream home turns into nightmare
Husband and wife bought an unimproved lot in a small development, and then saved for years so that they'd have the money to build their dream house. During construction, the neighborhood association officers began to harass this couple, claiming that the house they were building was in violation of deed restrictions. Here's the language in the restrictions:
No building, fence ... or other structure shall be constructed, erected, placed, replaced, removed, moved or altered on any lot until the proposed building plans, specifications, materials, exterior color or finish ... showing the proposed location of buildings or structures ... have been submitted to Declarants and written approval obtained from Declarants. Refusal of approval of plans, location, alterations or specifications may be based by the Declarants upon any grounds, including purely aesthetic considerations, which in the sole and uncontrolled discretion of the Declarants shall seem sufficient.The maintenance association filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent my clients from finishing construction. I argued that restrictive covenants relating to approval of plans are not enforceable when they are overly vague, imprecise or so unclear that they do not lend themselves to evenhanded application. The Court recognized that when the review of plans is based on purely aesthetic considerations, that review is arbitrary and capricious, and not reasonable. We won the case, and my clients now live in their home but they are surrounded by neighbors who would prefer that they move out.
Credit card company sues ex-husband for ex-wife's debt
While they're married, wife takes out credit card and husband signs as "co-signer." Monthly statements are mailed to them and both names are on the statement. After they're divorced, credit card company sends statements to ex-wife only, and removes husband's name from the statements. Credit card company then increases the credit limit, whereupon wife takes huge cash advance and files for bankruptcy. Credit card company is notified of the bankruptcy, and puts ex-husband's name back on the statement, and tells him he has to pay what his ex-wife took out. Credit card company sues ex-husband, and in court, after a trial, the court finds in ex-husband's favor because credit card company could not show that it had mailed statements to him or kept him informed of changes to the interest rate, fees, privacy rights, etc. Since credit disclosures were required to be sent to cardholders, and since company failed to send them to ex-husband, they treated him as if he were no longer on the card. That being said, they were not permitted to sue him as if he were still on the card.
Injured driver given higher coverage limits when insurance company fails to follow the law
A woman is seriously injured when her car is rear-ended. The other driver has only $15,000 of bodily injury coverage, which is the minimum amount required under Delaware law. Upon examining my client's own policy, it was found that she had $100,000/$300,000 of bodily injury coverage in case she injured somebody else, but only $15,000 of underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) in case she was injured by someone who didn't carry enough insurance. I wanted to file an underinsured motorist claim against her own company, but this type of claim could not be brought when her UIM coverage was the same as the other driver's liability coverage. Under Delaware law, an insurance company is required to offer its insured the opportunity to have the same amount of UIM coverage as their liability coverage. My client's insurance company failed to make such an offer to her, and so I sued the insurance company to increase her UIM coverage. The court agreed, and reformed her policy so that she had $100,000 of UIM coverage for her accident. I then settled her UIM claim for $100,000, meaning she received a total of $115,000 for her injuries.
Mentally retarded girl paralyzed by medical malpractice
After she was born, a baby was diagnosed with a genetic defect which caused her to suffer from various medical problems, including mental retardation. During her adolescent years, despite these difficulties and challenges, she was able to walk, run, and play, and could engage in other physical activities. At age 16, she was admitted the hospital for spinal fusion surgery to correct scoliosis which she had developed. The procedure was supposed to be performed by the surgeon who had discussed the procedure with the parents, but he failed to advise them that there would be a team of surgeons, and that a resident would actually be cutting their daughter's ligaments. During the course of the procedure, a surgical instrument held by the resident hit the spinal cord, causing her to become permanently paralyzed from the waist down. This case settled before trial for $3 million.
Routine car crash causes permanent brain injury
Husband and wife were stopped at a red light when a car crashed into the back of their vehicle. Although both of our clients were seriously injured, the wife sustained an injury to her brain which resulted in a decrease in her cognitive abilities, a decrease in her ability to be a grandmother and a wife, a decrease in her ability to take care of the household, and a decrease in her ability to work and earn a salary. Her injuries are permanent. She is unemployable for the foreseeable future, she is forgetful, depressed, and dependent on her husband for her daily activities. They were awarded $1.5 million.
Teenaged girl burned at hair salon
A teenager went with her mother to a hair salon to have her hair foiled. Once the foiling process was done, she was placed under a dryer by one of the hairdressers who said she was leaving but would be back to check on her. Before the hairdresser returned, the girl's head became extremely hot, and smoke started coming out of her head. She quickly got herself out from under the dryer, but the foils were so hot that no one was able to touch them without getting burned. Another hairdresser finally came to the rescue and placed her head under cold water. Unfortunately, the young girl was already severely injured with burns to her head. Shortly thereafter, hair began to fall out and she ended up with a huge bald spot on the top of her head. This hair never grew back, and so a plastic surgeon had to remove the bald area and stitch the surrounding area together. After the lawsuit was filed, it was discovered that the written instructions that came with the product used by the salon warned that the foils should not be put under heat. The case settled before trial for a confidential amount.
Misread Pap smears lead to cervical cancer
Our client was careful about her health, and she had yearly Pap smears, a test that can detect cancerous cells early on. But the lab misread her Pap smear slides, not just once, but 3 years in a row, and by the time her cervical cancer was discovered, she had to have radical surgery and undergo radiation. If our client's cancer had been detected earlier, all of this could have been avoided. During the deposition of the lab's chief pathologist who supervised the technicians who read the slides, Mr. Snyderman asked the pathologist to explain how his people could have missed what our experts were prepared to say in Court were obvious signs on the slides. Incredibly, the pathologist testified that "anyone can have a bad day." He then went on to say that 95% of all the slides that go through his lab are normal, so if they never looked at any of the slides and called them all normal, they would be right enough of the time to get an "A." The case settled for more than $1 million.