Case Results​

Excessive Force - Jackson County Detention Center $437,500.00 Settlement

Civil Litigation - Personal Injury / Premises Liability
Co-Counsel - McGonagle Spencer Gahagan, PC
Location - Jackson County, Missouri

Facts: ​On July 4, 2015, our client was incarcerated at the Jackson County Detention Center. Around 7:00 p.m., without provocation or justification, Jackson County corrections officers attacked him. The officers used extreme and excessive force, after they had restrain him, push him against a wall, repeatedly punched, kicked, and kneed him in the face, back, and abdomen. As a result of this attack our client suffered fractured wrists, nine (9) fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, and three (3) fractured vertebrae. 

Our client posed no threat to others, nor did he act in any manner that required the extreme and harmful actions by the guards. As such we alleged that the officers and the County violated both Missouri State and U.S. Federal Law by using excessive force in violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, negligently retaining the officers as County employees, negligent supervision of the officers, assault and battery, negligently failing to follow Detention Center policies, and intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

All claims were resolved through mediation in July 2017.

Larry Wright of Criterion Law, LLC Obtained a $675,000.00 Settlement in Trip and Fall / Wrongful Death Case

Civil Litigation - Personal Injury / Premises Liability

Co-Counsel - Doug Bradley, Bradely and Bradley, L.C.

Location - Jackson County, Missouri

Facts: In August of 2013 Plaintiff tripped and fell due to a dangerous defect on Defendant's asphalt parking lot. As a result of her fall Plaintiff suffered a severe closed ankle fracture and injury to her right knee. The injury required  a right ankle internal fixation surgery in September 2013. 

During recovery from her surgery Plaintiff was immobile and because of her pain and discomfort was prescribed narcotics by her orthopedic surgeon. Plaintiff continued to suffer pain and discomfort into the Spring of 2014 because her ankle had not healed property. This required continued use of narcotic pain medications as well as continued immobility. Plaintiff also suffered from constipation during her recovery following the surgery.

In March 2014 Plaintiff's orthopedic surgeon recommended Plaintiff undergo a second revision surgery. During her evaluation with her surgeon Plaintiff shared her plan to travel, by car with her husband, to North Carolina the following month visit her son's new family. The surgeon cleared Plaintiff for this travel and planned to schedule the revision surgery upon Plaintiff's return to Missouri.

During the April 20, 2014 drive to North Carolina Plaintiff again became constipated and began suffer from abdominal pain and other symptoms. On April 22, 2014 Plaintiff's symptoms worsened to the point that her husband contacted a local doctor to schedule an office visit. Upon speaking to a nurse at the doctor's office Plaintiff's husband was instructed to take her the closest emergency department. While preparing to leave for the ED Plaintiff began to hyperventilate and became unresponsive. An ambulance was called and Plaintiff was transported to the ED. Plaintiff arrived at the ED in severe respiratory distress, unresponsive, and with severe acidosis.

Though extensive efforts were made, Plaintiff's life, could not be saved and she was pronounced dead on April 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM. The final diagnosis was septic shock, ischemic bowel disease, multi-system organ failure, and cecal volvulus. Cecal volvulus occurs when a colon becomes twisted and cuts off blood supply.

Criterion Law retained William F. Stinson, M.D., board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology and a professor at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri. Dr. Stinson's expert opinion was the cecal volvulus seen in Plaintiff was likely precipitated by constipation related to immobility and narcotic use. Dr. Stinson based his opinion on the following points: There is an association between cecal volvulus and constipation; Constipation is a frequent problem after orthopedic procedures especially procedures on the lower extremities; Diminished physical activity following after orthopedic procedures is associated with constipation; Narcotics slow the motility of the colon and are highly associated with constipation.

All claims were resolved by mediation in December 2016. The $675,000.00 settlement is subject to confidentiality regarding the identity of all defendants as well as defendants' liability insurance carrier.

Moving Company Liability

Civil Litigation - Consumer Protection 

Defendant - Moovers Inc.

Result - Settlement Client 1 - $20,000.00 Client 2 - $24,000.00

Take Away - Always read all contracts before you sign. Companies often include provisions in their contracts which might prohibit you from suing them and/or cap the amount they have to pay to compensate you for losses caused by their negligence.  

Case Summary - Clients entered into contracts with Moovers Inc. to pack, load, transport, unload, and unpack client's personal and household belongings. 

During the move defendant's employees caused damage to client's walls, floors, and doors. The employees also damaged, destroyed, or lost a great deal of client's personal property. Client's property damage was valued at $15,900.00 and $15,800.00.

Clients retained Criterion Law after attempted to resolve the matter through defendant's claims process failed.  After lawsuits were filed defendant offered around $5,000.00 per case. Defendant argued their contract and Missouri law limited their liability to a maximum of $0.33 per pound per item.

After lengthy discovery and negotiations we convinced defendant Missouri law did not support their position and that due to errors in defendant's contract they could not limit their liability. In response defendant did the right thing and paid fair and reasonable amounts to our clients.

Worker's Compensation / Uninsured Motorist Coverage

​Personal Injury - Negligent co-employee & Uninsured Motorist Claim
Result - Pre-Trial Settlement $66,000.00
Take Away - Work Comp exclusivity provision of Missouri law might not apply when the injury is caused by a co-employee who is operating a motor vehicle in furtherance of employer's business.

Case Summary - Client was hit by a bus driven by a fellow employee. The collision was on the employer's property and the bus was owned by the employer. Suit was filed against the employer and the co-employee. Defendant (insurance company) argued that pursuant to Missouri Statute § 287.120.1 the co-employee could not be held liable and that workers compensation was the client's only option for recovery. Based on that employer's insurance company only offered a few thousand dollars.

Client's personal auto insurance policy defined an uninsured motorist as "a motor vehicle which... is insured by a bodily injury liability bond or policy at the time of the accident but the company denies coverage and maintains that denial."  Because the employer's bus that hit our client was insured and because the employer's insurance company denied coverage we filed a claim against our client's personal auto insurance policy under the uninsured coverage portion. The personal auto insurance adjuster agreed with my legal theory and paid the client $66,000.00 in addition to what she had recovered under the workers compensation policy. 

It should also be noted that because it was our client's own insurance paying the settlement the auto insurance company was not entitled to an offset for the funds paid by work comp and work comp was not entitled to subrogate (get paid back) from the auto policy settlement.

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