Six Million Dollar Settlement for 90 Degree Rollover, Trucking Accident
The Perron Law Firm secured a six million dollar settlement, one of the largest settlements in Missouri, for a truck driver who lost control of his rig on a sharp curve. The cab of the truck was crushed when it rolled on to its side and the driver was permanently paralyzed. Expert engineers from the automotive industry were retained to explain how relatively simple improvements to the design would have increased the safety or 'crashworthiness' of the truck. In order to show that the additional safety features would have prevented the driver's injuries, a 'virtual' truck cab was created and subjected to numerous simulated crashes using sophisticated computer programs. Without the additional safety features, the virtual truck collapsed in on the driver exactly as it had done in real life. With the improvements, however, the cab of the truck withstood the impact and preserved a safety zone for the driver. In addition to showing that the safety features were practical and effective, Mr. Perron conducted discovery across the United States and in Europe to show that these same safety features were being used by other truck manufacturers and that the manufacturer of the vehicle in question had actually considered them. For more information on this case click the following link: Heavy Truck Crashworthiness from Safetyforum.com.
The Perron Law Firm represented the parents of a young man killed while driving a Ford Explorer. Mr. K was driving on a two-lane state highway when he approached a sharp horizontal curve to the left. A gravel road joined the state highway at that curve. One or two tires on the right side of the truck left the travel portion of the road and when the teenager turned left to get back on the pavement he apparently "over corrected" causing the truck to swerve. He may have "over corrected" again, pulling hard to his right. Eventually he lost control, the truck rolled over several times, and Mr. K was ejected and killed. He was not wearing a seatbelt. The State Trooper who responded to the scene concluded that the accident was caused by the over correction after the boy left the pavement.
The Perron Law Firm purchased the vehicle from a salvage yard and had it towed to a storage facility in St. Louis. In the meantime, lawyers from The Perron Law Firm visited the scene with an accident reconstruction expert. There were no shoulders of any type along that state road, which is typical for old "farm-to-market" roads in Missouri. The gravel road formed sort of a shoulder at the place where the vehicle partially left the pavement. The gravel was not, however, flush with the top of the pavement. There was an abrupt edge drop off of several inches in places including the spot where the boy had tried to get back on the road, according to the police report. An edge drop off in excess of two or three inches exceeded all established standards, including those adopted by the Missouri Department of Transportation. Maintenance of the gravel road as it abutted the state road was the MoDotís responsibility. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed.
The products liability claim against Ford arising out of the design of the Explorer settled relatively early. The lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Transportation took years to resolve. Plaintiffs had two expert witnesses and MoDot named four, not counting the state trooper who responded to the scene of the accident.
The most contested issue was whether or not there was a dangerous drop off at the place where the boy reentered the paved portion of the road from the gravel "shoulder." Our expert made measurements using procedures described in numerous publications, including those authored by MoDotís expert. MoDotís expert, however, maintained that a more sophisticated method he used in this case demonstrated that there was more of a stair step increase from the gravel apron to the pavement which should not be considered an abrupt edge drop off. The experts also disagreed as to whether or not the presence of "scrubbing" witness marks on the inside of the tires which had left the pavement was necessary before it could be concluded that the edge drop off played a role in the loss of control upon regaining the pavement. All experts agreed that the loss of control, rolling, ejectment and death all resulted from the manner in which the truck returned to the road.
After a number of depositions and discovery disputes, the case against MoDOT settled a few weeks before the scheduled arbitration was to begin.
Damages paid by MoDot were limited by statute. The amount paid to settle the products liability case is confidential at the insistence of Defendant Ford.
Sarai was 18 years old when her Ford Escort was struck by the driver of a pick-up truck who ran a red light. The impact hit Saraiís vehicle on the driverís side and she suffered a traumatic brain injury along with multiple abdominal and pelvic injuries. The Perron Law Firm filed a products liability lawsuit against Ford Motor Company alleging that the Escort was defectively designed. The driverís door was severely deformed. Almost everyone, including other attorneys who rejected the case, assumed Saraiís brain injury as caused by a blow to the head. Our lawyers presented evidence that the damage was done by internal bleeding in her abdomen when she was crushed by the driverís door. At trial, the Perron Law Firm presented evidence that the Escort could have been made ďstifferĒ along the driverís side by strengthening the component parts. This would have offered more resistance to the incoming pick-up truck and prevented the driverís door from separating from the B pillar which intruded into the car and caused Saraiís internal injuries. After several weeks of trial with testimony from many expert witnesses, Ford Motor Company agreed to a confidential settlement.
Wage & Hour Disputes
The Perron Law Firm has represented a variety of clients who were required to work more than 40 hours per week but did not receive the time-and-a-half premium wage required by the law. These cases have been brought on behalf of one person working for a small employer as well as a group or class of workers employed by multi-national corporations. Sometimes employers may try to avoid the overtime rules by converting a production worker's hourly wage into a "salary" and giving the worker a meaningless title., Workers do not become "executives" just because they get a new title and a salaried employee is not exempt from overtime requirements. In a recent case The Perron Law Firm not only secured awards for back overtime pay for current and past employees of a large manufacturer, the employer actually changed its policies and started paying time-and-a-half for overtime work.
Wrongful Death/ Medical Malpractice
Plaintiff's decedent, her husband, had a long history of depression and heart valve irregularity. Those problems were well controlled until late 1996 when he began to suffer symptoms of heart trouble and his doctors recommended surgery. The decedent was upset and very anxious because of the worsening of his heart condition even though the surgery was almost 100% successful and would certainly improve his health.
When hospitalized for tests in February, 1997, decedent's cardiologist stopped the antidepressant medica/tion which had been prescribed by his psychiatrist and released him from the hospital even though plaintiff requested that her husband be kept in the hospital and the husband told the cardiologist that he had thoughts of suicide.
On February 18, 1997, the decedent was seen by his psychiatrist, who put him on new medication. The decedent expressed his suicidal thoughts to the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist made the decedent promise that he would not hurt himself and sent him home. The night before decedent committed suicide, he contacted his psychiatrist and described worsening symptoms. The psychiatrist instructed him to take Benadryl, and, if that did not calm him down, go to the ER. The decedent took the Benadryl and went to sleep. The Benadryl had temporarily masked decedent's symptoms and when he woke the following morning, he shot himself.
The jury returned a verdict of $1.6 million, finding the cardiologist 56% at fault and the psychiatrist 44% at fault.
Settlement in Whistleblower Case
After a number of interviews with the defendant employer, the plaintiff accepted a managerial position and relocated to St. Louis. He was discharged 18 months later. He sued the employer and his immediate supervisor who had hired him and fired him. The allegations were that defendants had fraudulently misrepresented his working arrangement and that he was discharged by the supervisor to prevent him from reporting her misconduct. A critical issue was whether or not the Missouri "whistleblower" public policy exception to the employment at will doctrine applied to support a claim of wrongful discharge in a situation where the discharged plaintiff had neither gone over his supervisor's head to complain to senior management nor reported the misconduct to outside authorities. The case was pending in the City of St. Louis. There were no experts. The plaintiff's attorney was Maria V. Perron of The Perron Law Firm. Mediation and settlement for an undisclosed sum followed the denial of the defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
Unfair Debt Collection Practices
When Peggy G. was sued by a debt collector she knew she did not owe the claimed debt. She was an elderly widow who had not used any credit cards for many years. She hired The Perron Law Firm and after nearly a year of paperwork and court appearances, the debt collector dropped the lawsuit against her. Then The Perron Law Firm went on the offensive claiming that the debt collector violated the law by bringing a baseless lawsuit. After trial and a successful appeal, the parties agreed to a settlement in favor of Ms. G.
Failure to Diagnose
In many states "tort reform" laws have made it more difficult for injured individuals to file lawsuits against doctors, hospitals and big corporations. For example, in Missouri there is a $550,000.00 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. That is the most that can be recovered for pain and suffering or the death of a loved one. This became a problem in a recent case tried by Marty Perron in the City of St. Louis.
The plaintiffs were a 55 year old tow truck driver and his wife who sued a surgeon and an emergency room physician after the man's leg was amputated. Mr. Perron was able to establish that the general surgeon was negligent for failing to have the lab results sent to the doctor who was covering his patients while he was out of town. And there was even stronger evidence that the emergency room doctor, who had all of the information about diabetes and early signs of infection, was negligent for not having the man hospitalized. After a long trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them $1,300,000.00 damages. The defendants argued that the plaintiff was only allowed to recover $550,000 for his non economic injuries. Mr. Perron was able to persuade the Court, however, that the law allowed $550,000 for each "plaintiff;" and the man's wife was also a plaintiff.
Settlement in Nursing Home Neglect
The Perron Law Firm secured a six-figure settlement for a nursing home resident after she fell and broke a hip. The facts established that the resident was recuperating from a previous surgery and required a two person assist for all activities. Although she had turned the call light on, no one came to her room. After waiting for more than twenty minutes, the resident attempted to get out of bed on her own. On the way to the bathroom, she apparently slipped in some fluid and fell, breaking her leg and hip. Showing that the injury resulted from the negligence of the health care provider and not from the residentís carelessness was not the only issue. The Perron Law Firm also had to convince the other side that senior citizens, even those with chronic health care problems, can still have quality lives. A real injury occurs when additional pain and disability are added on top of existing limitations.