Verdicts & Settlements
Burn Injuries – Confidential Settlement in Cleburne County, Alabama
Mike Beard represented a Heflin man who suffered terrible burn injuries mostly to his legs when his clothing ignited after he came too close to a propane tank top heater. Our client was wearing insulated coveralls in his workshop and didn’t feel the heat until his clothing was on fire. Mike argued that the heater was defective because the wire guard is really no guard at all. In fact, the temperatures at the guard are so high that any contact or near contact will result in immediate burns or ignition of clothing or other materials. The maker of the heater never considered an alternative guard and blamed our client for causing his own injuries.
Anesthesia Mishap – Confidential Settlement in Mobile County, Alabama
Ty Brown and J.D. Marsh settled a case for the family of a 29-year-old mother who suffered an anoxic brain injury while under general anesthesia. The young woman was to undergo surgery for a leg injury when the anesthesia equipment had to be changed out. Apparently, the tube exchange caused damage to her lung and a tension pneumothorax developed. Unfortunately, neither the nurse anesthetist nor the anesthesiologist timely recognized and treated the pneumothorax. The woman never woke up and she died less than three weeks later. She left behind two young children.
Trucking Death – Confidential Settlement in Calhoun County, Alabama
Jeff Rickard and Rip Andrews represented the family of a 34-year-old woman who died when the car she was riding in was struck by a commercial tractor-trailer rig. The wreck happened at a major intersection in Calhoun County. The driver of the tractor trailer rig failed to stop and struck our client’s car in the middle of the intersection on the driver’s side. The driver claimed an air leak in the line to the trailer brakes caused the brakes to overheat. Jeff and Rip developed expert testimony disproving that claim and proved the driver of the tractor trailer made serious driving errors that caused the wreck including “cooking” the rig’s brakes making them useless by the time the truck reached the intersection.
Emergency Room Wait – Confidential Settlement in Montgomery County, Alabama
Derrick Mills resolved a case against an ambulance company and a hospital following the death of a woman in the hospital waiting room. Once emergently transported, no hospital personnel ever talked to our client to determine her chief complaint or condition. Video of the waiting room showed the woman continue to suffer from pain and distress. About 30 to 40 minutes later, the woman suffered an acute heart attack that ultimately led to her death.
Wound Care – Confidential Settlement in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
David Marsh, Ty Brown and Dylan Marsh represented an older woman who was critically injured while recovering from abdominal surgery. Our client was a patient at a long-term care facility. Her abdominal wound was healing well when the nurses improperly applied our client’s wound vacuum after changing a wound dressing. The improper application of the wound vacuum destroyed the skin graft on our client’s abdomen. As a result, our client’s bowels were sucked into the wound vacuum sponge causing more than a dozen holes in her bowels that now continuously leak stomach acid onto her skin. Her abdominal wound can never be closed. She is completely bedbound and can no longer eat.
Surgical Mishap – Confidential Settlement in Jefferson County, Alabama
David Marsh, Ben Ford, and Susan Silvernail resolved a case on behalf of a 23-year-old woman who emerged from neck surgery catastrophically injured. The case against a Birmingham doctor and his employer grew out of the misplacement of a surgical screw, which resulted in serious damage to the young woman’s brain stem. Our client was hospitalized for months, forced to re-learn how to walk and talk. She was left with life-long impairments to her motor skills and her cognitive abilities.
Broken Pledge – Confidential Settlement in Lee County, Alabama
Jeff Rickard represented two college students who were seriously injured as a result of fraternity hazing. The lawsuits against a national fraternity organization came about after the students went through an initiation ritual known as “Hell Night”. During the event, the young men, who were blind-folded, were struck by various objects about their bodies. Both required lengthy hospitalization for their internal injuries. The lawsuits settled short of trial for a confidential sum.
Brain Injury Case – $30 Million Verdict in Jefferson County, Alabama
In May 2018, a Jefferson County jury awarded more than $30 million to a young boy who was badly hurt while he rested at a Birmingham daycare, Ressurection of Life. Attorneys David Marsh and Dylan Marsh tried the case for the little boy, Christian Dailey, and his parents, Mark and Valerie Dailey. The case grows out of a tragic event on September 25, 2015. Christian, who was 23 months old then, was sleeping in a room with other children. He was lying on the floor directly in front of a television set up on a dresser. There was no daycare worker in the room when something caused the television to fall nearly four feet and land on Christian’s head. Christian was taken to Children’s Hospital of Alabama where he was treated for a skull fracture, a brain bleed and respiratory failure with hypoxia. Christian has not, and will not, ever fully recover from the trauma to his brain. His injuries are permanent and catastrophic. Resurrection of Life Inc. fell into an exception in Alabama law that allows religious-affiliated daycares to operate without typical licensing and safeguards. It is David’s hope that this verdict can be used to change the law so that all daycares in Alabama are held to the same safe standards. David says “all child care facilities should be required to have an appropriate child-to-staff ratio, undergo safety inspections, and have insurance”.
Verdicts & Settlements
Construction Site Fall/Wrongful Death – Baldwin County, Alabama
Mike Beard settled a case for the family of an immigrant who died while working on a crew of day laborers who were framing a house under construction in Baldwin County. On the day he died, the laborer was standing on the top plates of the wall framing, erecting the last few trusses. The trusses started to collapse like dominos and he was thrown to the ground, where he suffered a fatal head injury. The collapse occurred because the temporary bracing that was required by the plans, specifications and city codes was not installed. Also our client was not provided with platforms to stand on or fall protection equipment as required by OSHA. Our client had worked in the flooring trade before this but he had no experience working above ground. The case was brought against the owner, developer and general contractor, who were one and the same for the construction of all houses within this subdivision, and showed a total disregard for worker safety.
Automobile Death – $4.5 Million Verdict In Cullman County, Alabama
A Cullman County jury returned a $4.5 million verdict against the city of Hanceville and one of its police officers. David Marsh and Rip Andrews tried this case involving a police officer who failed to follow the rules of the road.
One winter night, a 77-year-old Hanceville woman was on her way home from work when her car was struck broadside by a Hanceville police vehicle. The officer was not in pursuit or responding to an emergency call at the time of the wreck.
David and Rip told the jury that our client could not see the police car because the officer did not turn on his vehicle’s siren or blue lights, in violation of both state law and the policies and procedures of Hanceville Police Department. They also presented expert testimony that the police officer was traveling at approximately 90 miles per hour at the time of the wreck; the speed limit on this stretch of Highway 91 was 45 miles per hour. Defense counsel blamed the wreck on our client.
Verdict Against Tuscaloosa Doctors And Hospital
A Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court jury today returned a verdict against Dr. Bradley Bilton; his practice group University Surgical Associates; Dr. George Nunn; Dr. Kenneth Aldridge; and DCH Health Care Authority. The jury awarded $30 million in damages to the family of Johnny Terrell Sledge, who died at DCH Regional Medical Center six years ago.
The case was tried for the past two weeks by Marsh Rickard & Bryan attorneys David Marsh, Derrick Mills and Jane Mauzy.
On December 27, 2013, Mr. Sledge was injured by a gunshot wound to his back. He arrived by EMS at the emergency room at DCH Regional Medical Center at 2:15 in the afternoon. He was treated by the emergency department physician, who recognized that Mr. Sledge needed surgery. Dr. Bilton, a general surgeon and the “on call” trauma surgeon that day, was paged repeatedly to come to the emergency room. Dr. Bilton returned the page stating that he was in surgery and to “call someone else”. No available surgeons were found. Instead of coming to the emergency room, Dr. Bilton started a second elective surgery. Mr. Sledge continue to lay in the emergency room bleeding from an abdominal injury. Approximately 10 minutes before Mr. Sledge’s death, Dr. Bilton advised the emergency room that he was coming down from the operating room. However, Mr. Sledge died in the emergency room while waiting for a surgical consult. Dr. Bilton never arrived.
One of the main issues in the case was the hospital’s policies and procedures for trauma calls. The hospital’s policies allowed the “on call” trauma surgeon to schedule elective surgical procedures on their “on call” days. This created a situation where the “on call” trauma surgeon might be unavailable. In that situation, the hospital policy provided that the “on call” trauma surgeon was responsible for locating another surgeon to take his place. That procedure wasn’t followed here. Dr. Nunn is DCH’s Director of Trauma Services. Dr. Aldridge is DCH’s Chief Medical Officer.
Attorney Derrick Mills says “Mr. Sledge was victimized twice. First, he was an innocent bystander struck by a stray bullet. Then, he was left to die in an emergency room because the general surgeon who was at the hospital and called to provide the life-saving surgery he needed, never showed up”.
Trade Secrets – Confidential Settlement In Birmingham Federal Court
Mike Beard, Rip Andrews, Derrick Mills, David Marsh and Jane Mauzy settled an intellectual property case for an Alabama-based small business against a national corporation recognized as one of the world’s largest makers and suppliers of professional audio equipment.
The Alabama business came up with a unique design for a wakeboard tower speaker. The allegation was that the national corporation wrongfully used the design in violation of a confidentiality agreement entered into between the parties. Once its trade secret was misappropriated, the Alabama business found it impossible to exercise its ownership rights and locate a new manufacturer capable of bringing the product to market. As a result, the Alabama business was forced to file a lawsuit in order to recover the value of the trade secret and right this wrong.
Automobile Injury – $833,709 Verdict In Jefferson County
A Birmingham police officer who was hurt while working an accident on Interstate 65 North was awarded $833,709 by a Jefferson County jury. The injured police officer was represented by MRB attorneys Rip Andrews and Ben Ford.
Sergeant Demus Smith was standing on the roadway at the scene of a wreck when a drunk driver hit his parked patrol car, which then struck Sergeant Smith. The drunk driver was said to have been traveling at about 65 mph when he crashed into the line of four patrol cars, all of which had emergency lights activated. Sergeant Smith suffered a crush injury to his right foot and ankle. He was out of work for about six months. The lawsuit was brought against the driver, the owner of the car and Sergeant Smith’s uninsured motorist insurance carrier, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. The driver and the owner of the car were never found again, so the trial proceeded to verdict against State Farm. The jury awarded $33,709.21 in compensatory damages and $800,000 in punitive damages.
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