Wrongful Death Cases
Verdict – Lauderdale County
In February 2022, a jury returned a verdict in the amount of $9 million for plaintiff Herschel Green, the husband of a woman killed at the end of her driveway in Lauderdale County. The case was tried by Marsh Rickard & Bryan attorneys Rip Andrews and Ty Brown.
Margaret Green died following an explosive collision between her SUV and a tractor trailer on July 7, 2015. Margaret was pulling out of her driveway onto Alabama Highway 64 – an act she had previously performed safely tens of thousands of times during the decades she had lived at the house – when her SUV was struck on the driver’s side by a tractor trailer. Margaret never saw the truck because her view was blocked by a four-by-four foot moveable construction sign that Joe Keenum Excavation & Construction Inc. employees placed at highway level and right next to her driveway. The Keenum company was performing road work nearby the Green home, where the crash occurred, and so, were responsible for temporary traffic control in the area. During the trial, the Lexington Police Chief, Agustin Hendershot, who arrived at the scene shortly after the collision, testified that the temporary sign that was placed near Margaret’s driveway would have, in his opinion, obstructed Margaret’s view of oncoming traffic. There was extensive testimony that the sign should have been elevated, which would have increased the visual clearance. The sign was not in the right spot given the location of the road work. Moreover, there was testimony that the sign should not even have been up at all that particular day because Keenum was not working in that area that day but rather, was working on the other end of the paving project.
Rip stated, “The bottom line is that Keenum put a temporary construction sign WHERE it should not have been, left it up WHEN it should not have been, and set it up HOW it should not have been set up”.
Fatal Head Injury – 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 Deaths – Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
David Marsh settled a case on behalf of a mother who lost both of her daughters in a horrific car wreck that occurred in rural Tuscaloosa County. The girls were 11- and 13-years-old at the time of their deaths. They were rear seat passengers in a car riding on a rural stretch of U.S. Hwy 82, when the car was rear-ended by another vehicle. The impact was so great that the girls’ car flipped and rolled twice. The driver who hit them was estimated to be traveling at a speed of more than 85 mph. The driver, a retired Challenger space shuttle astronaut, admitted to drinking before he got in his car but refused to consent for an alcohol/drug test. He has been charged with two counts of reckless murder and awaits trial. At the time of this wreck, the driver was on probation for a DUI to which he had pled guilty after rear-ending another victim in California.
Trucking Death – Confidential Settlement In Lowndes County, Alabama
David Marsh settled a case on behalf of the family of a woman who was killed in a collision with a log truck in Lowndes County. The wreck happened on a dark stretch of a rural two-lane highway.
Our 41-year-old client was traveling 83 mph in a 55 mph zone in an effort to get to work. The top of her sedan was sheared off when it went under the trailer of the log truck. The log truck was blocking her lane of travel because the driver was illegally backing it on the highway into a side driveway. The log trailer had only one working side lamp and its reflective tape was worn and very dirty. David argued that no matter how fast our client was traveling, our client could not have possibly seen the trailer across the roadway and in the darkness, struck the trailer. She left behind a husband and two teenage sons.
Dram Shop – Confidential Settlement In Jefferson County, Alabama
David Marsh and Mike Beard settled a case for a woman severely injured in a collision with a drunk driver on Highway 280 in Birmingham. The drunk driver’s blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit. A thorough investigation by MRB revealed that the young man had been drinking alcohol with friends at three different establishments though the entire night and into the early morning hours until the wreck occurred. Arguably, he was visibly intoxicated at all three places but he was still served more alcohol. Our client suffered pelvic and rib fractures and serious internal injuries. She underwent multiple surgeries but was left with permanent nerve damage. She has difficulty walking and is constantly in pain.
Scaffold Collapse – Confidential Settlement In DeKalb County, Alabama
Jeff Rickard settled a case on behalf of the family of a man who was killed and another man who was seriously injured when the scaffold upon which they were working collapsed. The incident occurred in DeKalb County, Alabama, during the construction of a new elementary school. The deceased block mason and the injured laborer were working at a height of about 30 feet when the scaffold collapsed. The scaffolding was of a type commonly referred to as a “crank up” or “mast climber” and was owned and erected by their employer. Immediately prior to the scaffold’s collapse, it was struck by a piece of mobile lifting equipment operated by their boss. Jeff argued and proved that a properly erected scaffold would have withstood the equipment’s impact. Suit was brought against the job site general contractor who, pursuant to its contract with the property owners, had significant responsibility for job site safety.
Road Defect – Confidential Settlement In Clarke County, Alabama
Ty Brown settled a case on behalf of the family of a 16-year-old who was killed in a traffic accident near Grove Hill, Alabama. The young man’s SUV struck a pool of surface water that had accumulated from rainfall, causing the SUV to hydroplane, cross into oncoming traffic and collide with another car. The SUV continued off the road and struck a tree; the 16-year-old was killed on impact. The case focused on the hazardous condition of the roadway and why water collected on the surface of that particular section of U.S. 84. It was undisputed that there were ruts in the roadway; the ruts channelized the rain water and allowed it to pool and stand. The lawsuit blamed the asphalt company that had resurfaced that stretch of roadway seven years earlier, long past the time the state accepted the work.
Faulty Wall Heater – Confidential Settlement In Winston County, Alabama
Rip Andrews settled a case on behalf of a couple who lost their only son, age 7, in a house fire started by a faulty wall heater, and the couple was severely injured in the fire, as well. The fire marshal concluded the fire was caused by an in-wall radiant electric heater igniting a couch. The heater was made in 1974 and it had no independent off switch, and it could not be unplugged. It included no fire warnings. There was also no indicator light to let the users know it was powered on. The couple, who were living in the family home temporarily, thought the heater was no longer working. It is believed that when temperatures dropped, near 40° F, the heater kicked on during the middle of the night.
Automobile Death And Injury – Confidential Settlement In Limestone County, Alabama
Jeff Rickard settled a significant car wreck case in which an elderly man died and his daughter was seriously injured. She suffered fractures of the hip, pelvis, ribs and neck. The accident occurred in northeast Alabama when another vehicle crashed into the rear of their vehicle knocking it off the road and into a culvert headwall.
The driver who hit our client’s car was a cable technician; the cable company claimed he was an independent contractor and refused to accept responsibility for his actions. Jeff was able to win the legal argument on this issue. He also secured a cellular data analysis expert who opined that the driver was using his smartphone to access the cable company’s web-based data before and during the time of the collision.
Medical Malpractice Case – $4.5 Million Verdict In Mobile County, Alabama
A Mobile state court jury returned a $4.5 million verdict against Coastal Neurological Institute for the wrongful death of a 56-year-old man. The man died on June 18, 2008, after he suffered a serious allergic reaction to an MRI contrast agent that was administered during a routine outpatient MRI. The case was brought on behalf of the estate of the patient, Cecil Roy Thomas. Ty Brown represented the plaintiff. He was assisted by local counsel during the one-week trial.
The case focused on the medical clinic staff’s failure to respond quickly enough to Mr. Thomas’ reaction and to administer the drug epinephrine – the well-established first-line treatment for any serious allergic reactions – and also the medical clinic’s failure to have basic emergency equipment and medications available to manage the worst kind of reactions known to occur with contrast agents.
Construction Site Death – Confidential Settlement In Madison County, Alabama
David Marsh settled a case where a man died from an on-the-job fall through a rooftop. The laborer, who was an undocumented immigrant, was helping to put up a metal building in Huntsville when he fell through an opening for a skylight, landing on concrete 14 feet below. He did not know the opening was there; moreover, the opening was covered by a roofing membrane so it created a trap-door effect. The key issue in the case was the lack of fall protection equipment provided at the job site.
Wrongful Death Case – $10 Million Verdict In Jefferson County, Alabama
A Jefferson County jury held a motorcycle racing school accountable for the death of a female racing. In a case tried by David Marsh and Rip Andrews, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $10 million in favor of the plaintiff.
The 33-year-old motorcyclist was killed while training on the Barber motorsports race track in Leeds, Alabama, on May 22, 2009. She was participating in an amateur event known as “Track Day” when a corner marshal ran onto the track into her path. The event was organized and run by Ed Bargy Racing, LLC, and the corner marshal worked for the Bargy company. He apparently ran onto the track to remove some debris but the evidence showed that race control had ordered him to stay off the track until there was a break or a gap in the line of motorcyclists. David and Rip proved that the cardinal rule for all workers on and around the race track is “never enter a hot track without permission from race control.”
Medical Malpractice – $2.5 Million Verdict In Jefferson County, Alabama
The jury returned a $2.5 million verdict in favor of the mother of a 23-month-old boy who died shortly after being treated and released by the emergency room at Medical Center East (now St. Vincent’s East) in Birmingham. When the toddler accidentally ingested a methadone tablet, Poison Control was called and he was immediately taken to the hospital’s emergency room. There, the attending physician examined the child, observed him and discharged him within 3.5 hours of admission and four hours of ingestion.
David Marsh and Rip Andrews proved that the effects of methadone are delayed and that the child should have been admitted and observed for a period of at least 8 to 12 hours. In fact, within three hours of discharge, the toddler stopped breathing and aspirated. Paramedics rushed him back to the hospital, but he died later that day of methadone ingestion.
Medical Malpractice – $2.5 Million verdict in Marion County, Alabama
A Marion County jury returned a $2.5 million verdict against a nursing home in Winfield, Alabama. David Marsh and Derrick Mills represented the plaintiff and tried the case. The case grew out of the wrongful death of Norman Rhodes, a 62-year-old man who was admitted to the Golden Living Nursing Home for care and therapy following two strokes.
Mr. Rhodes suffered a traumatic catheter injury, which resulted in a loss of blood that led to his death. There was evidence that the catheter injury happened when Mr. Rhodes was improperly turned by nursing home personnel. The jury considered evidence that Mr. Rhodes was unable to turn himself and could not have pulled out his catheter by himself. Also, there was evidence that the risk of injury was substantially increased when the nursing home employees failed to use a leg strap to hold Mr. Rhodes’ catheter in place.
These recoveries and testimonials are not an indication of future results. Every case is different, and regardless of what friends, family or other individuals may say about what a case is worth, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances as they apply to the law. The valuation of a case depends on the facts, the injuries, the jurisdiction, the venue, the witnesses, the parties, and the testimony, among other factors. Furthermore, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.