$2,000,000 Pre-Trial Settlement
- $1,263,855.89 Net to clients
- $666,666.66 Attorney’s fees
- $55,371.73 Case expenses
While working “of counsel” to the RAMOS LAW FIRM (Denver, CO), Blake Brunkenhoefer prosecuted a trucking case in the state district court of Maricopa County, Arizona. In this case, a one-truck trucking company (owned and operated by its only driver) was hauling a load over the Rocky Mountains for a larger motor carrier (“Bradley Transportation”) when, as he descended the Western Slope, the truck driver burned up the brakes on the tractor-trailer, lost control, and ran off the roadway. The truck driver was killed, as were his wife and youngest son (who were passengers). The two surviving family members alleged that Bradley Transportation dispatched the truck driver and his truck on this trip, he was acting as the trucking company’s agent on this trip and, thus, Bradley Transportation was legally responsible for the fact that the truck driver may not have had experience with mountain driving, the brakes of the tractor and trailer were not properly inspected and maintained (i.e., the trailer belonged to the trucking company), and, to the extent the truck driver was at fault for the crash, Bradley Transportation was responsible for his actions. Bradley Transportation contended that it leased the trailer to the truck driver and brokered the load for him, it was not responsible for the condition of the brakes on the tractor or trailer, and it was not responsible for the truck driver’s actions in operating the tractor-trailer. However, after investigating the facts of the case and analyzing the relevant trucking regulations, we were able to establish that Bradley Transportation was the “motor carrier” of the load and not a “broker.” As a result, the insurers for both trucking companies tendered the limits of all available insurance prior to trial.
TRUCKING CRASH / DEFECTIVE TIRE
$33,000,000 Jury Verdict
Confidential Post-Trial Settlement
After a multi-week trial, we obtained a jury verdict on behalf of the wife, adult children and estate of an elderly man who was killed when the front, left tire on a loaded concrete truck failed as it was traveling at highway speed on a Texas state highway. The tire failed when its tread peeled off the body of the tire (“carcass”). The sudden failure of the tire caused the truck to veer into our client’s traffic lane. When the truck driver tried to steer back into his lane, the truck rolled over onto its side and began to slide down the road. Our deceased client tried to steer away from the truck as it slid toward him, but he could not avoid the impact and he sustained massive and, ultimately, fatal injuries when the truck struck his vehicle. Our clients alleged that the tire failed due to the fact that, when the tire was manufactured, moisture in the tire and/or the use of overaged rubber prevented the layers of the tire from properly bonding to one another, and the belts were not properly placed in the tire. Our clients also alleged that the truck driver failed to properly inspect and control the concrete truck, and that the trucking company failed to properly inspect and maintain its vehicle. With the help of former factory workers to describe the tire plant conditions, and expert witnesses to explain how the tire plant conditions caused or contributed to the defects seen in the tire, we were able to achieve this large jury verdict against both the tire manufacturer and the trucking company.
- $4,033,037.24 Client
- $2,800,000 Attorney’s Fees
- $166,962.76 Case Expenses
A mother and her family anchored their bay fishing boat in the shallow waters next to Pelican Island, which is one of the “spoil islands” created by the dredging of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. While they were playing on the beach and looking for shells, a large, heavily-loaded oil tanker passed the island. Through the process of “bank suction,” the shallow water in which our client anchored next to the island was pulled off the island by the heavy ship’s passage. This left the family’s fishing boat temporarily beached. However, when the water rushed back after the ship had passed, the wave picked up the family’s fishing boat and slammed it into our client’s head, resulting in her permanent blindness. We alleged that the wake was created by the ship moving through the ship channel at an excess rate of speed given her weight and draft, and that, if the ship wanted to transit the ship channel at such a speed, it should have maintained a lookout on the bow of the vessel to spot our clients and then reduce speed as needed to avoid creating such a large wake. With the aid of experts in shipping operations, the psychological and vocational effects of blindness, and an economist to quantify our client’s damages, we were able to secure a settlement which allowed our client to live independently and assure her children were able to attend college.
AUTO ACCIDENT / CLAIM AGAINST COUNTY
We represented a client who was injured while passing through an intersection on a green light. He was struck by a Deputy Sheriff who was displaying her overhead lights, but not using her siren when she ran a red light and struck our client. The County claimed it was not liable for the crash because it alleged that its Deputy was engaged in an “emergency response” and, thus, the County claimed it had immunity from our client’s lawsuit. After the case was initially dismissed by the trial court, we prevailed on appeal and the case was returned to the trial court. During trial, we claimed that the Deputy was not engaged in an emergency response call at the time of the crash and, in any event, she did not comply with all the rules and regulations pertaining to how officers are supposed to properly respond to an emergency call. After several years of litigation, the case settled during trial.
AUTO ACCIDENT / INSURANCE “BAD FAITH”
While serving “of counsel” to the RAMOS LAW FIRM (Denver, CO), Blake Brunkenhoefer and his colleague, Rick Eddington, obtained a substantial, excess verdict in the State District Court of Weld County, CO. In that case, the client was an off-duty police officer who was rear-ended while waiting for an over-sized load to clear a bridge. The defendant driver’s policy limits were timely demanded and, in fact, on multiple occasions, but they were not timely paid. As a result of Rick’s efforts setting up the “bad faith” of the insurer (i.e., for its failure to timely pay limits), Blake and Rick were able to collect more than 3 times the available insurance for their client.
Brunkenhoefer recently obtained a jury verdict in the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Arizona. Although it was alleged that our client suffered from multiple pre-existing conditions and that his treatment was not related to this crash, we were able to obtain an excellent result for our client by establishing that the offending truck driver was not paying attention to the road in front of him and, instead, he was adjusting his radio when he happened upon our client. We also claimed that the trucking company was negligent in hiring this truck driver, and that it should not have allowed him to operate the tractor-trailer at the time. However, we abandoned these claims when it became clear that they were not necessary to the outcome.
Plaintiff was the captain of a shrimp boat that collided (allided) with an unlit, unmanned platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Our client suffered a neck injury when he was thrown forward into the windshield of the wheelhouse of his shrimp boat. Through our investigation, we were able to determine that the voltage regulators for the solar panels that power the platform’s lights had failed, and that the batteries powering the warning horn had also failed. We sued the owner of the production platform for its negligence in failing to inspect and maintain the warning equipment on this platform, and for failing to require its personnel to visually monitor the unmanned platform from its nearby, manned platform. Please read more on our Maritime Injury practice page.
$810,000 Verdict (Post Trial Settlement)
- $376,326 Client
- $300,000 Fees
- $73,674 Expenses
We obtained an $810,000 verdict in Hidalgo County, Texas on behalf of a pedestrian who was struck in a crosswalk by a passenger transportation company van. He sustained severe head injury. We alleged that the van was speeding and, if the driver had been driving the speed limit, our client would have had time to clear the intersection. Defendant alleged that he could not see our client because the street lights were out, our client was wearing dark clothing, and there was glare from oncoming vehicles. In addition, Defendant alleged that our client was negligent for failing to pay attention to vehicles as he crossed, such that he could have stopped or otherwise avoided being struck by the van. We alleged that he experienced conscious pain and suffering for 3-1/2 hours while the defense contended he was brain dead from the initial impact and, therefore, had no conscious pain and suffering. Since there were no wrongful death beneficiaries, the only recoverable damage was our client’s conscious pain and suffering prior to his death.
Our client, a Vietnam veteran who was working for an oilfield, environmental services company, suffered tetraplegia (incomplete quadriplegia) and serious burns when he was blown off the top of of vacuum truck. Our client was washing out the vacuum truck using a pressure washer and a halogen light that had been provided by his employer. Overspray from the pressure washer caused the hot bulb on the lamp to burst, thus igniting explosive vapors in the vacuum truck. We alleged that the employer provided the wrong equipment to safely perform the job and the vacuum truck was negligent for describing its prior cargo as nonflammable when, in fact, it was capable of producing explosive fumes. Please read more on our Workplace Injury practice page.
We represented a deckhand who suffered a shoulder injury while attempting to secure the face wires between a tug and barge. Our case alleged that the employer was negligent for failing to provide appropriate equipment to do the job (i.e., the ratchet was defective) or enough personnel to do the job safely. Please read more on Maritime Injury practice page.Maritime Injury practice page.
Plaintiff suffered a neck injury when a tractor trailer collided with his truck. The motorist became wedged between the tractor trailer and another vehicle.
Trucking Crash / Road Construction Negligence
$19,566,610 Verdict (Post-Trial Settlement)
- $7,414,494 Client
- $6,440,000 Fees
- $745,506 Expenses
We obtained a $19,566,610 verdict against a trucking company and a road contractor in a Dimmit County, Texas case in which our client suffered a significant head injury. The 18-wheeler was operated by one of the nation’s largest interstate trucking companies and its driver rear-ended a passenger van driven by our client. After the initial impact, our client’s vehicle was propelled down the road and off to the right where it struck the back of a parked passenger car belonging to the flagman for the roadway contractor. We alleged that the truck driver’s fatigue or distraction started the crash sequence, and the secondary impact with the flagman’s car was due to him being improperly parked within the 30 foot “clear zone” that is supposed to extend from the edge of the roadway. After a lengthy trial, the jury found both defendants liable for our client’s injuries and damages. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
The captain of a crewboat sustained an injury when the “captain’s chair” in the wheelhouse unexpectedly broke from its mount. With the help of a maritime engineer, we were able to show that the design of the captain’s chair was defective and this defect, rather than our client’s weight or his actions, caused his chair to collapse. Please read more on our Maritime Injury practice page.
The driver of a tractor-trailer jack-knifed his rig and caused the tractor-trailer to move into our client’s lane. As a result, our client’s vehicle slammed into the corner of the trailer. We alleged that the truck driver’s failure to properly operate his vehicle in wet conditions was the result of his inexperience and lack of training, and the driver’s employer was negligent for hiring this untrained and incompetent driver, resulting in our client’s death. The case was settled for the full policy limits of the available insurance. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
Our client was a deckhand on a linehandling boat tasked with taking the cables and ropes from a ship, running them to the dock, and securing the ship to the dock. Plaintiff was injured when his back became overloaded by the weight of the shackle and cable passed down to him from a foreign vessel he and his crew were assisting. We alleged that the failure to provide adequate means of communication between the Korean crew and our client’s crew caused the ship’s crew to act inappropriately under the circumstances, thus leading to our client’s injury. Please read more on our Maritime Injury practice page.
Our clients were two sheriff deputies who were in pursuit of a fleeing felon when they collided with a large valve in the middle of the road. Each one of these deputies suffered back injuries. Apparently, a driver for an oilfield services company failed to secure the valve and, as he turned into his jobsite, the valve slid off the bed of his truck and landed in the road. We sued the oilfield company for its employee’s actions and obtained very satisfactory settlements for the deputies. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
We represented a man who suffered a serious back injury when he was rear-ended by a delivery truck. Our lawsuit against the trucking company alleged that its driver was inattentive and failed to control his speed. Please read more on ourMotor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
Trucking Crash / Road Construction Negligence
- $2,054,792 Client
- $1,600,000 Fees
- $345,208 Expenses
Our clients were passengers in a van that was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler in a construction zone. They sustained severe back, shoulder and facial injury. Prior to the trial of our van driver’s case, we were able to settle the claims of the other van occupants. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
Plaintiffs were seven laborers who were driving to a construction site in Ohio where they were going to build concrete silos. As they were passing through San Antonio, Texas, the van in which they were riding came in contact with an 18-wheel tractor-trailer being operated by a large, interstate carrier. Two men died in the crash, and the other 5 van occupants were significantly injured. We represented the family of one of the deceased passengers, and one of the injured passengers as well. With respect to the truck, we noted that, as the crash occurred in a construction zone, the traffic lanes were narrowed such that the truck only had a foot of clearance on either side of its trailer, so it was more likely that the truck was unable to maintain its lane. Information from the truck’s on-board computer provided evidence that the truck was also speeding through the construction zone, which further impaired the truck driver’s ability to maintain his traffic lane. As for the employer of the van driver, we noted that the driver of the van had a poor driving history, he was unlicensed, and it appeared that he was traveling even faster than the speeding 18-wheeler when the initial contact occurred. In the end, we were able to achieve a large and fair settlement on behalf of our clients. Please read more on our Trucking Accident practice page.
Three crew members of a shrimp boat were forced to abandon their vessel when it caught on fire in the Gulf of Mexico. Before jumping into the cold winter waters, the crew threw the vessel’s life raft overboard. However, the life raft failed to deploy and, after days at sea, two crew members died and only one was rescued. We represented the survivor and pursued his claims under the Jones Act and the General Maritime Law, while we assisted co-counsel with the “Death on the High Seas Act” claims of their clients. It turned out that the company which inspected and repacked the life raft had used unskilled workers who had failed to properly repack the life raft, thus leading to its failure. The combined efforts of Plaintiffs’ counsel secured this result on behalf of our clients and their families. Please read more on our Maritime Injury practice page.
- $526,445 Client
- $400,000 Fees
- $73,555 Expenses
Our client was sideswiped by an 18-wheeler in rural Texas. As a result of spinning off the road and striking a tree, she suffered back and head injuries. After filing suit, following the trucking company into bankruptcy, extricating the case from the bankruptcy court, and uncovering some damaging evidence against the trucking company, the case settled for $1,000,000. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
Plaintiff was a cargo inspector checking the contents of a petrochemical tank trailer when the truck driver drove off with the inspector hanging from the trailer. As a result of the truck driver’s failure to conduct a walkaround inspection and the terminal’s failure to have a Spanish-speaking representative to ensure that the truck driver followed terminal procedures, including the walkaround inspection, our client suffered injuries to his knee and back. You may wish to read more on our Trucking Accident practice page.
We represented the crew of a shrimp boat that, at the time, was serving as a “chase” boat for another vessel that was surveying the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The shrimp boat caught fire one night and, before the survey vessel could get to them, the crew of the shrimp boat jumped into the water and disappeared. We sued the owner of the shrimp boat for the wrongful death of our clients, and alleged that the deaths were caused by a defect in the air conditioning system and the defendant’s failure to provide sufficient fire suppression and life-saving equipment. The claims were eventually settled and the families of the deceased received compensation for the deaths of their loved ones. Please read more on our Maritime Injury practice page.
We represented a husband and wife who were traveling down the highway when they were violently struck from behind by an 18-wheeler that was driven by a fatigued driver. The collision killed the man and injured his wife. The case was settled for the full policy limits of the available insurance. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
Plaintiff was residential concrete finisher. The chute on a concrete truck swung and struck our client as he was smoothing out the concrete being poured, causing him to sustain a neck injury. Please read more on our Workplace injury practice page..
Our client was a barge “leaderman” in Nigeria. He and his co-workers were attempting to set up a floating platform off the coast of Africa, so that the Nigerian oil could be transferred to tankships. As the barge crew was setting one of the massive chains (used to secure the huge barge to the ocean floor) over the side, the cable broke on one of the winches used to hold the chain and control its movement, and our client was hit in the ankle and elbow with the chain as it flew across the deck. After several years, and a trip to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, we were able to achieve a resolution that was satisfactory to our client. Please read more on our Workplace injury practice page.
- $835,060.34 Client
- $596,000 Fees
- $58,939.66 Expensess
The driver of an 18-wheeler was rear-ended by another 18-wheeler being driven by a distracted or inattentive driver. Our client required back surgery as a result of this crash. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
We represented a floorhand on a drilling crew. As he and the rest of the drilling crew were “tripping” pipe, the wind picked up and the pipe began to smash against the side of the derrick. The crew attempted to shut the operations down, but the company man for the well operator refused their requests. Shortly thereafter, as a section of the pipe was being lifted in the derrick, the pipe “hung up” under one of the cross-members of the derrick and then snapped back under pressure, as it broke free from the beam, causing serious personal injuries to our client’s arm and head. Please read more on our Workplace Accidents practice page.
Maritime Passenger Injury
- $756,456.23 Client
- $440,000 Fees
- $48,274.14 Expenses
Plaintiff was an offshore oilfield worker being transported on a crewboat in rough weather. Due to the captain’s operation of the vessel (too fast for the sea conditions) and the vessel’s lack of a seatbelt to secure him, our client was catapulted from his seat and thrown to the deck of the passenger compartment. He suffered a back injury that required surgery. Please read more on our Maritime Injury practice page.
In this case, the Plaintiff was a truck driver who was offloading wet, sticky dirt. Because his trailer had not been equipped with an appropriately slick bed liner, the load did not slide when the bed was raised, the piston on the trailer failed, the trailer came crashing down on the “fifth wheel” (back end) of the Plaintiff’s truck, and the force of the impact threw Plaintiff up in the air inside the cab, thereby causing him to sustain head and back injuries. The case was settled prior to trial for the policy limits of the available insurance. See more about our Workplace Negligence practice page.
Motor Vehicle Crash
We represented the victims and family of a crash in which the distracted employee of an oilfield lease services company disregarded a stop sign while engaged in a telephone call. A father and son died, and the surviving mother was injured. The case was settled prior to trial for the policy limits of the available insurance. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
Trucking Accident (Back / Shoulder Injuries)
- $879,955 Net to client
- $660,000 Attorney’s Fees
- $110,045 Expenses
We represented an oil field worker who was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler in South Texas. Our client suffered back and shoulder injuries that required surgery. As a result of our efforts, we were able to show that the truck driver was distracted or fatigued at the time of the crash, and that his claimed “medical emergency” did not actually occur. This led to an early, efficient and successful resolution of our client’s case.
Our client was a welder who had been hired by a pipeline operator to change a meter on an old pipeline that was being brought back on line. While the old meter was being removed, residual gas from inside the pipeline migrated out of the pipeline and caused an explosion or flash fire, even though our client had been assured by the consultant hired by the pipeline operator that the line had been purged. Just prior to jury selection, the defendants settled our client’s case. Please read more on our Workplace Accidents practice page.
Motor Vehicle Crash / Road Construction Negligence
$9,421,898.44 Verdict (Post Trial Settlement)
- $391,385.00 Client Recovery in multi-party lawsuit
- $452,500.00 Fees
- $231,115.00 Expenses
We obtained, by settlement, the above portion of a multi-party lawsuit where there was a jury verdict of $9,421,898.44 in a motor vehicle/road construction negligence case in Nueces County, Texas. Our client worked for a subcontractor setting barrels in a highway construction zone. An elderly driver swerved to avoid another vehicle, ran off the road and struck our client in the construction zone. We alleged that the driver was negligent for his inattentive driving, and we alleged that the general contractor overseeing the construction project was negligent for failing to maintain a proper “clear zone” (i.e., keeping construction workers and subcontractors a safe distance from the roadway to protect against dangers like run-off-the-road vehicles). After a multi-week trial, the jury determined that the driver, our client’s employer and the general contractor were all negligent in causing our client’s paralysis and partial blindness. Due to the limited insurance of the elderly driver and the presence of workers’ compensation insurance to protect the employer from the verdict, we were only able to collect the portion attributed to the general contractor, which was 10%. This was appealed by the general contractor and was only settled after years of appeal. Please read more on our Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
In this Dallas County, Texas case, our Louisiana resident client was traveling on a freeway in Dallas, Texas when a trucking company’s inexperienced driver crossed into our client’s lane, crashed into our client and his family, and then propelled our client’s vehicle into the concrete center divider. Our client’s injuries resulted in a back surgery. The case was settled prior to the beginning of trial. See more on Motor Vehicle Accidents practice page.
$6,250,000 Settlement by Retailer
- $4,144,341 Client
- $2,900,000 Fees
- $180,659 Case Expenses
We represented a 74-year-old Vietnam veteran in Iowa who suffered third-degree burns to 14% of his body when his neighbor was refilling a decorative firepot that burned gel fuel and flaming gel fuel unexpectedly ejected from the bottle. The gel fuel manufacturer settled for a confidential amount and the retailer paid $6,250,000 to settle our client’s claims. Please read more on our Products Liability practice page.
We filed suit on behalf of the family of a young woman who was killed when the tire on her family’s SUV blew out. Through diligent work and expert testimony, we were able to show that the tire failed due to a catastrophic tread separation caused by defects in the design and construction of the tire. As a result, we were to able to obtain a satisfactory settlement for the young woman’s family. Please read more on our Products Liability practice page.
Plaintiff was part of a drilling crew that was assisting a fishing tool contractor and a wireline operator that the lease operator had brought in to help free a joint of pipe that had become stuck downhole. While Plaintiff and the other members of the drilling crew were preparing to send a “string shot” of explosives down to help break the pipe loose, the wireline operator detonated the string shot on the rig floor, thus causing our client to sustain a serious chest injury. We alleged that the fishing tool contractor and the wireline operator it brought in were negligent in failing to stay on the rig floor to oversee operations, and in failing to ensure the explosives were downhole before detonating them. Please read more on our Workplace Injury practice page.
Two children were injured when an American Bulldog attacked a little girl, and her twin brother came to her rescue. The little girl was severely injured, and her brother had defensive wounds.
As a member of the drilling crew, our client was standing by while a pressure-testing crew set up its equipment. Unbeknownst to our client, the pressure-testing crew pressured up the well before it was ready and caused an explosion that propelled the pressure testing equipment into the air. Our client sustained serious injuries when he fell down some stairs while fleeing the blowout and the equipment that had been blown into the air. Please read more on our Workplace Injury practice page.
Our client purchased a day trip on a “party boat” that struck an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico. A review of the available records indicated that the vessel had previously lost its reverse gear, it was this inability to go in reverse as the vessel approached the platform that caused the vessel to strike the platform, and the defective condition of the vessel was known to the owner before the vessel left the dock that day. Please read more on our Maritime Injury practice page.