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Two Wrongful Death Defense Verdicts In One Week

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 4:52am

Two unrelated cases involving charges of wrongful death recently ended within days of each other with the same result: a jury verdict for the defense. In each case,the Segal McCambridge team led its clients through to victory.

The first case to reach verdict involved issues of professional liability and medical malpractice. A 76-year-old patient underwent hip revision surgery (replacement of a previously installed artificial hip) at Chicago's Weiss Memorial Hospital. The patient died approximately 48 hours after the surgery was complete. His family brought suit against the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and the hospital, on the theory that the CRNA was an apparent agent of the hospital. The plaintiffs sought $10.6M.

Trial ran June 8-20, 2012, in Judge Thomas Hogan's courtroom. Robert O'Malley and Kimberly Kayiwa represented Weiss. The jury delivered a defense verdict in less than two hours. The second case involved products liability issues in the death of a young man who died retrieving golf balls from a water hazard. He worked for a company that removes and re-sells the balls as used equipment. Retrieving the balls, he used a mechanical breathing device called a "hookah." Our client, Gardner Denver, manufactured a compressor that was used in the device (although almost certainly not an original component).

In June, 2009, the man was found dead in the water. A medical examination attributed his death to an elevated level of carbon monoxide in his body. His survivors sued, alleging defective component parts and failure to warn by each of the three product manufacturers, including Gardner Denver. They sought nearly $13M (including $6.7M in punitive damages).

But the hookah had other issues. It had been heavily used, and worn-out parts had been replaced. The Honda motor had been replaced shortly before the accident and had been installed improperly, shooting exhaust into the compressor.

After four-and-a-half days of trial in Dallas, the case went to the jury. Their verdict, announced June 25, found the company's boss 77 percent responsible and the decedent 23% responsible. No fault was assigned to the three manufacturers.

The Gardner Denver team: attorneys Timothy Krippner, John LaBoon, Christina Denmark and J.R. Skrabanek, and paralegal April Mitchell. Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Ltd. (www.smsm.com) has approximately 150 attorneys and offices in seven cities.

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