Jerry was shopping at Menards in Urbandale, Iowa. He loaded his shopping cart with hardwood flooring, placing five packages of the floor planking so that it protruded out the front of his cart. He placed another five packages across the back of the cart over the child seat to stabilize the load. He asked a Menards' employee for assistance in locating an item. The employee picked up the cart by its handle and lifted the rear wheels off the ground. This caused the wooden planking and the cart to shift and tip over. Jerry saw the cart tipping over on him and reached out with his left arm to stop it from crushing him. He felt an immediate tearing of his bicep. He was treated by a local orthopedic doctor who diagnosed a partial bicep tear with a stretch injury to the musculocutaneous nerve or brachial plexus.
Jerry incurred about $5,400 in medicals. A vocational expert determined that Jerry had suffered a reduced earning capacity of 60-70% and projected his lost wages over his lifetime somewhere between $400,000 and $600,000. Menards hired a vocational expert who testified that Jerry suffered no loss of earning capacity. The case was settled at mediation for $235,000.
Frazier v. Sayona, Inc. d/b/a Comfort Inn
In June 1997, Virginia Frazier was traveling from Minneapolis to Texas. She stopped at the Comfort Inn in Urbandale, Iowa. The next morning she went outside to take her dog to the designated pet area. As she walked between the cars in the parking lot, she slipped and fell shattering her right wrist. She sustained $13,000 in medical expenses and was required to undergo surgery and several months of physical therapy.
The evidence concerning the parking lot was that water ran across the parking lot every time it rained and would sometimes remain there for 2 or 3 days. An expert testified that the water Virginia slipped on had been in the parking lot for 1 week to 10 days prior to the fall. The constant presence of the water in the parking lot created a slimy or slippery surface. It had rained heavily the night before she fell so she did not see the green slimy surface in the parking lot.
The case was tried in September 2000. The jury returned a verdict of $78,000 reduced by 20% fault for a total verdict of $62,400.
Cherry v. AMTRAK
Cody Cherry was on the AMTRAK Zephyr on his way home to Montana. The train derailed near Nodaway, Iowa. The passenger car rolled causing Cody to be thrown from his seat and land on the floor. He was then pummeled with luggage coming out of the overhead compartments. As a result, Cody suffered headaches, ringing in his ears and pain in his upper back and neck. Cody incurred $50,000 in medical expenses as well as lost wages. The case settled shortly before trial for $194,000.
Sheri Madison worked at the IBP plant in Perry, Iowa. She was called sexual names and told by co-workers to "fuck off bitch" and to "suck my dick" on a daily basis. Her breasts and buttocks were groped. One of her co-workers bent her over a tub and pretended to rape her. Another picked her up and carried her around. Because she was married to an African American and had two mixed race children she was called a "nigger lover" and one co-worker, the brother of her supervisor, tormented her regularly by calling her children monkeys and zebras and saying "I don't know why you aren't embarrassed to go to the grocery store with those fucking nigger kids." Supervisors saw much of this conduct and either laughed or ignored it.
Sheri complained to her supervisors, to the Human Resource manager and even to the plant manager. She was told that if she ever wanted to be promoted, she would need to learn to put up with this kind of conduct. She was an extremely competent worker and applied repeatedly for promotion. On at least 23 separate occasions, she was passed over for less qualified white men. Much of the discrimination and harassment occurred after she filed a formal complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The case was tried to a jury in federal court for four weeks and resulted in a verdict of 2.4 million dollars, which was reduced by the cap on sex discrimination damages to approximately 1.7 million plus attorneys fees and costs. IBP appealed and the case was sent back to the trial court for a second trial on a damages issue. The parties entered into a confidential settlement before the second trial.
Franklin Fields, Jr. and Charles Stevens v. City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Charles Stevens met Frank Fields at his apartment complex to look at a truck Fields had for sell. The Cedar Rapids Police Department was executing a search warrant for one of the apartments in the complex. Fields and Stevens were approached by several police officers who, while pointing guns at them, shoved them to the ground and forcibly handcuffed them. Both Fields and Stevens produced valid identification to prove that neither of them resided in the apartment being searched.
Instead of letting Fields and Stevens go, the police officers kept them handcuffed, took them to the apartment where the search warrant was executed and detained them. While in the apartment, both were taken to the bathroom and strip searched by police officers. They remained handcuffed and photographs were taken of them before they were released. No charges were ever brought against Fields or Stevens.
Both Fields and Stevens filed a lawsuit against the City of Cedar Rapids and the police officers involved alleging false arrest and imprisonment and violation of their civil rights. The City of Cedar Rapids entered into a settlement with both Fields and Stevens and agreed to pay them $97,500.
Tammy Miller v. Woodharbor Molding & Millworks
Tammy Miller started working at Woodharbor Molding & Millworks as a production worker in 1994. During her employment, she was subjected to a barrage of sexually derogatory remarks from the plant manager and others. Specifically, the plant manager repeatedly told Tammy to "spank his monkey" while making an obscene gesture. He also asked that Tammy perform various sex acts and made reference to her being "tighter than he could imagine." The court found that Tammy also used profanity and engaged in raw sexual conversation in the workplace. Nevertheless, the court found that Tammy was entitled to 15,000 in emotional distress damages.
The defendants appealed the case twice. The court also ordered the defendant employer to pay Miller's attorneys' fees and expenses related to the trial and appeal of the case.
Tom Horras v. Hawkeye Health Services, Inc.
In 1986, Tom Horras started a home health care agency called Hawkeye Health Services. In 1997, he entered into negotiations with venture capitalists with the idea of selling his company to a holding company owned by several other home health agencies around the country. The plan was that all of these health care companies would eventually merge and go public.
Throughout 1997 and 1998 Horras and the venture capitalists were exchanging information in anticipation of the upcoming merger. During this due diligence process, federal agents raided Hawkeye's business offices and took a large volume of business and computer records. Tom cooperated with the federal agents and his future business partners and the merger went forward in March of 1999.
The employment contract was terminated shortly after Tom's company was taken over in the merger. His new employer (the merged company) claimed that they had the right to terminate the contract because Tom allegedly committed fraud both before and after the merger.
The case was tried to an arbitrator in Nashville, Tennessee who determined that Tom was wrongfully terminated and should be reimbursed for lost wages and benefits in the amount of $98,239.
Rich and Tiffany Turpen were in the process of moving from Iowa to Colorado. They decided to take a trip to Colorado to house shop and were traveling west on Interstate 80 in Nebraska.
Kendrick Ballenger was driving a rented GMC Truck owned by Penske east on Interstate 80. He lost control of his truck, crossed the grassy median and struck the Turpen's car broadside killing Tiffany and injuring Rich. Tiffany and Rich had two children who thankfully were not in the car at the time of the crash.
Rich brought a wrongful death case on behalf of Tiffany's estate and his children against the driver of the truck and Penske Truck Leasing. The parties settled the case at mediation. Rich placed some of his settlement monies in a structure for himself and his children.
Heidi Richey v. West Central Cooperative
Heidi Richey was a 22 year old college student from Arkansas working in Iowa during the summer. Heidi was driving on a gravel road in Carroll County and went through an uncontrolled intersection. Heidi had the right of way, but was broadsided by a grain truck owned by West Central Cooperative.
A wrongful death action was brought by her parents. The case settled shortly before trial for $250,000; the value of Heidi's estate. Unfortunately, Iowa law does not allow parents to recover consortium damages (love, affection and services) when an adult children is injured or killed.
Barb Hansen was a passenger on a motorcycle driven by her husband Donald Hansen. The Hansens' were driving down Highway 1 in Johnson County, Iowa when Jerome Griffin went through a stop sign at the intersection of Highway 1 and a county road. The Hansen motorcycle struck the Griffin car broadside.
Griffin was legally intoxicated at the time of the crash. Further investigation revealed that just prior to the crash, Griffin had been drinking at Brothers Bar & Grill in Iowa City.
Barb sustained injuries to both feet, right knee, low back, pelvis and her wrist and hands. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Barb Hansen against her husband Donald Hansen, the driver of the motorcycle, Jerome Griffin and Brothers Bar & Grill. Barb settled with her husband for $50,000 and with Brothers for $145,000. Griffin had no insurance, but agreed to have a judgment entered against him and in favor of both Barbara and Donald in the amount of $1,000,000.
Timothy Henkel v. Henry Goettsche, et. al.
Tim Henkel was riding his motorcycle on Elwood Drive in Ames, Iowa when a car made a left hand turn into his path of travel. Tim's leg became trapped between his motorcycle and the bumper of the car. The force of the crash propelled Tim onto the hood of the car and threw him clear. As a result of the crash, Tim sustained a massive crush injury to his left femur. The doctors realigned the femur and held in place with a femoral nail. Tim continued to treat with his doctors and went through several months of physical therapy.
Tim's medical expenses and lost wages were $38,000. The case settled at mediation for $105,000.
Debra Robles v. Charles Hilsenbeck
Deb was driving her car on an entrance ramp to Interstate 35 in Des Moines. She slowed for traffic in front of her and was struck from behind. The only issues were whether the car crash caused Deb's injuries and if so how extensive were the injuries.
Deb initially had low back, midback and neck pain. The neck pain and mid-back pain eventually got better. Her low back, leg, gluteal and hip pain proved more intractable.
The case settled shortly before trial for $58,000.
Christopher A. Meyer v. Holiday Wrecker & Crane Service, et. al.
Chris Meyer was a graduate student working during as a carpenter for KD3 Construction on the construction of a house in Solon, Iowa. KD3 contracted with Holiday Wrecker & Crane to provide crane services at the construction site. Meyer and others working with KD3 were moving roof trusses with the assistance of Holiday Crane.
The crane operator allowed the boom of the crane to come too close to a high voltage power line causing the load line of the crane to come into contact with the power line. As a result, the load line of the crane became energized hitting Meyer in the chest and arms, setting him on fire and knocking him to the ground.
Meyer sued both KD3 Construction and Holiday Wrecker & Crane for his injuries. Meyer settled at a mediation with KD3 for $300,000. Meyer later entered into a confidential settlement with Holiday Wrecker & Crane.
Michael Walkenhorst v. William Bull, et. al.
Mike Walkenhorst worked for Insituform who contracted with the City of Des Moines reline an underground sewer. Two of Walkenhorst's co-workers were sent told to enter a manhole and walk about 600 feet through the sewer line. The co-workers were overcome by noxious gas that had accumulated in the sewer line. Walkenhorst jumped into the sewer in a valiant attempt to save the co-workers overcome by the fumes. Unfortunately, Mike was not able to rescue them and the co-workers died.
While trying to rescue his co-workers Mike injured his low back. He also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. A lawsuit was filed and the parties eventually agreed to settle for $50,000. In addition, Mike also received workers compensation benefits.
Schneider v. Hy-Vee, Inc.
Jim Schneider was working at the Hy-Vee Distribution Center in Chariton, Iowa. He was installing wiring located in the ceiling of the warehouse. Schneider and a Hy-Vee employee used a scissor lift to reach the wiring. After the lift reached its peak, it suddenly collapsed and fell to the ground. An investigation revealed that the scissor lift collapse when a bolt holding the hydraulic cylinder to the frame broke. Hy-Vee did not inspect or maintain the scissor lift in accordance with applicable standards.
Jim was taken to the emergency room where he reported pain in his ankle, low back, mid back and the back of both legs. He made a good recovery from all of his injuries except for the left ankle. Jim's lost wages and medical expenses were paid by his workers compensation carrier who had to be repaid out of any settlement or verdict.
Hy-Vee argued that the scissor lift collapsed because of a manufacturing defect for which they were not responsible. The jury returned a verdict against Hy-Vee in the amount of $80,000.
Cathy McNear v. Alliant Energy Corporation, et. al.
Cathy McNear was working the night shift at the local nursing home when she was told that her house was on fire. She went to the scene and saw her house ablaze. She learned that her husband Dean McNear and three children Brian McNear, Sean McNear and Misty McNear were in the house and had not survived.
An action was brought against Alliant Energy, the utility company and the McNears' landlords. We alleged that the fire started outside the house on the power line owned by Alliant. The electrical malfunction caused a spark which set the wood framed house on fire. The landlord was sued because of the inadequate number of smoke detectors in the home. The utility company asserted that the fire started inside the house and they were not responsible.
After extensive discovery, the parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement.
Greg Rager v. Sapp Brothers Petroleum, Inc., et. al.
Greg Rager rented a house in rural Sioux City. Sapp Brothers and Garold Smith Oil provided propane gas to the residents. Rager called Sapp Brothers and told them that he smelled gas in the house. The Sapp Brothers representative arrived, checked the stove for leaks but could find none. The Sapp Brothers service representative told Greg to call again if he smelled gas. The representative did not pressure test any of the gas lines running from the tanks to the residence or any of the lines on the side of the residence other than the flex hose on the cook stove. Greg continued to smell gas and he called Sapp Brothers two additional times. On the second occasion, they told him they would be out in two days to change the regulators.
On the evening before Sapp Brothers were scheduled to come and replace the regulators, Greg came home after working the night shift. The windows had been open all day with a fan blowing. Greg went in to the kitchen and lit a cigarette. The house blew up. Greg sustained full thickness (third degree) burns over more than 60% of his body including his trunk, arms, legs, feet and head. After extensive discovery, Rager entered into a confidential settlement with Sapp Brothers and Garold Smith Oil
This case involved the tragic and untimely death of 8 year old Daniel Jones. Danny was killed by a BB gun shot by his 15 year old step brother who did not see him until it was too late. Danny was somewhere between 20 to 80 feet away from his step-brother when the BB left the barrel of the Daisy Powerline 856 Air Rifle. The BB penetrated Danny's winter coat, his shirt and went several inches into his chest. After traveling 1 ½ inches into his chest, the BB perforated the heart wall causing the chamber to fill with blood and choke the heart; a medical condition called cardiac tamponade. Danny died on the emergency room table.
His father, Michael Jones, brought a product liability action against Daisy. We alleged that the BB gun in question could be pumped an unlimited number of times allowing the BB or pellet to reach a lethal muzzle velocity. We also alleged that Daisy knew about this gun's dangerous propensities and that Daisy manufactured the identical gun for distribution in Canada and Europe that was specifically designed to limit the muzzle velocity. After extensive discovery, Rager entered into a confidential settlement with Sapp Brothers and Garold Smith Oil.
Karla Naylor v. Deere & Company, et. al.
Karla and Chris Naylor are farmers who purchased a John Deere Buck EXT ATV from Schenkelberg Implement Company. They noticed the ATV was idling roughly and took it to Schenkelberg for repair. Schenkelberg made repairs to the carburetor and throttle cable on the ATV. Shortly thereafter, Karla was using the ATV to perform farm chores. As she was turning the ATV it suddenly accelerated causing her to crash through the overhead door of a nearby machine shed. Karla sustained severe and permanent injuries.
The Naylors' filed a lawsuit against Deere & Company and Schenkelberg Implement alleging products liability and negligence. The case is currently pending in Polk County and is scheduled for trial in 2008. The parties entered into a confidential settlement shortly before trial.
Christine Lacey was seen at Mercy Clinics and reported a history of rectal bleeding. Her doctor did not perform a rectal examination or use other diagnostic tools to determine the cause of the bleeding. Less than 6 months later it was determined by another doctor that Chris had invasive basaloid squamous cell carcinoma and was stage IV. A lawsuit was filed on her behalf against the clinic and the doctor. Unfortunately, Chris passed away before the trial. After her death the parties entered into a confidential settlement. Chris had two young sons and the executor of Chris' estate set up a structured settlement to provide for the education and support of the children.
Des Moines, Iowa Attorney practicing in Iowa in personal injury, car accidents, employment law, wrongful death, construction accidents, catastrophic injuries and product liability. Lawyers at the Duff Law Firm P. L. C. are dedicated to serve their clients in Iowa, including the cities of Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Ames, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Davenport, Dubuque, Waterloo, Adel, Marshalltown, Pella, Decorah, Knoxville, Eldora, Johnston, Ankeny, and Burlington
, and the communities that make up Woodbury, Pottawattamie, Polk, Webster, Story, Linn, Johnson, Scott, Dubuque, Black Hawk, Dallas, Marshall, Marion, Winneshiek, Madison, Hardin and Des Moines counties.