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Million-Dollar Settlements of 2020

A products liability case involving a woman whose hair got caught in a glue machine at a furniture factory leads Virginia Lawyers Weekly’s compilation of Million-Dollar Settlements of 2020.

The woman’s scalp was degloved and attempts to replant her scalp were unsuccessful; she settled her claim for $8 million.

The second-largest settlement was a wrongful death case involving two children in Buckingham County.

The settlement stemmed from a 2017 accident where a tractor-trailer and a school bus were approaching a school bus stop. As the school bus stopped, the two children ran across the road. The tractor-trailer struck and killed them. The case settled for $7 million, all of the insurance coverage available to both defendants.

The third-largest settlement was for $6.5 million and involved a three-car auto accident that rendered the plaintiff quadriplegic. Those were the only settlements above $5 million.

The annual compilation, which appears below, covers the largest settlements reported from across the commonwealth during 2020. To make the list:

• The settlement must be for at least $1 million.

• The settlement had to have taken place in Virginia or had strong Virginia ties.

• The settlement must have been reached in 2020.

Forty-seven settlements met the criteria for this year’s edition. Most of the settlements were related to issues of medical malpractice, personal injury and wrongful death.

If you have a 2020 million-dollar settlement that is not listed here, please let us know. We will add it to the online version of the compilation so that it can be as complete as possible.

– Jason Boleman

EDIT (4/7/2021): Two settlements have been added to the online version of this story, including the largest reported settlement, an $8 million products liability case stemming from a severe injury suffered in a workplace accident. The article above has been revised to reflect this additional information.

1) $8 million

Woman’s scalp dislodged by machine lacking safety panels

Type of Action: Products liability

Name of Mediator: Retired U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Waugh Crigler

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Glenn W. Pulley, Lynchburg; Matthew W. Broughton, Roanoke; Evans G. Edwards, Roanoke; Amanda M. Morgan, Lynchburg; Abby M. Broughton, Roanoke

Case Summary: Plaintiff was working as an operator on a production line at a furniture plant. Her responsibilities included operating a glue spreader machine. The glue spreader was manufactured and sold by two of the defendants and was installed by the third defendant.

Manufacturer testified the glue spreader was designed to incorporate safety panels, calling them “essential safety devices.” The panels were removed at the point of manufacture and allegedly shipped with the machine. The operating manual did not mention the safety panels and the manufacturer was unable to establish the panels arrived at the plant.

A photo taken by the installer established there was never a safety panel at the location where plaintiff was standing. Plaintiff was following standard operating procedures by checking to see if glue had gotten onto the bottom roller. A piece of her restrained hair became dislodged and stuck to the glue-covered roller, which pulled her head to the machine, degloving plaintiff’s scalp from the base of her skull past her eyebrows.

Plaintiff underwent emergency surgery to replant her scalp. Replantation proved unsuccessful. Plaintiff eventually received skin grafts harvested from her lower abdomen and thigh, which are at constant risk of damage and infection. Plaintiff is completely disabled from work, has lifetime pain management, recurring bouts of debilitating depression and needs assistance maintaining her household and managing her care.

2) $7 million

Two children killed while crossing road to school bus

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Court: Circuit Court for the City of Richmond

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Michael Allen

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Donald J. Gee, Curtis M. Hairston Jr., Roger T. Creager and Edward E. Scher, Richmond

Case summary: On March 30, 2017 a tractor-trailer was being operated on a two-lane road in Buckingham County. A school bus was approaching from the opposite direction; both were approaching a school bus stop. As the school bus came to a stop, the plaintiffs’ decedents – both young children – crossed the road to board the school bus. As they ran across the road towards the bus, the tractor-trailer struck and killed them.

The tractor-trailer driver owned the tractor he was driving. The trailer was owned by a corporate entity. The driver and that entity alleged that they had an independent contractor relationship.

Both defendants denied that the driver was negligent. The corporate defendant also contended that it was not vicariously liable because the driver was an independent contractor.

Through discovery, plaintiffs’ counsel were able to establish that the driver was negligent and was not an independent contractor under Virginia law, notwithstanding claims to the contrary.

The case settled for all the insurance coverage available to both defendants.

3) $6.5 million

Three-car collision resulted in plaintiff’s becoming quadriplegic

Type of Action: Motor vehicle collision

Name of Mediator: Judge Thomas Shadrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: John M. Cooper, Norfolk; Ira Steingold, Suffolk; Judd Mendelson, Suffolk

Case summary: A three-car collision resulted in the plaintiff’s becoming quadriplegic. There were major contributory negligence issues that were hotly contested, as the plaintiff was alleged to be improperly stopped on the roadway. The case settled in mediation for $6,500,000.

4) $4.683 million

Driver awarded over $4.6 million after accident with tractor-trailer

Type of Action: Personal injury

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Jason W. Konvicka, Richmond

Case summary: Jane Doe was driving in the left travel lane of Interstate 81 North. The defendant was driving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 81 South. The defendant thought he missed his exit. Instead of taking the next exit, he stopped his tractor-trailer and attempted to make an illegal U-turn using an “authorized vehicle only” cut through in the median.

Ms. Doe had no recollection of the crash due to her injuries. There were no independent eyewitnesses to the crash.

Ms. Doe broke almost every bone in her face. She also sustained a traumatic brain injury with hemorrhages, cervical spine fractures, transverse process fractures, a left first rib fracture and a comminuted fracture of a bone in the right hand.

Ms. Doe is now legally blind in her right eye, has lost her sense of smell and taste, experiences constant tinnitus in her right ear and has daily headaches. She continues to experience memory changes, increased frustration, balance issues and decreased motivation.

The defendant admitted negligence, but claimed that Ms. Doe was contributorily negligent and could have avoided the crash if she had kept a proper lookout.

The case was mediated virtually on December 16, 2020 and settled one week later.

5) $4.5 million

Special needs adults raped, impregnated by employee

Type of Action: Negligence

Court: Fairfax Circuit Court

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Diane Strickland

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Scott Perry, Mike Charnoff, Anastasia Uzilevskaya, Arlington

Case summary: Doe 1 and Doe 2 are female adults with special needs who were enrolled in a sheltered workshop, which allowed them to have social interaction and perform meaningful labor.

Roe Inc. employed an individual who preyed upon Doe 1 and Doe 2. The employee was able to get both Doe 1 and Doe 2 alone at separate times at the sheltered workshop during which he raped and impregnated both. Neither Doe 1 nor Doe 2 had the ability to consent, as both Doe 1 and Doe 2 are mostly non-verbal in their communication.

The incidents with the employee were not discovered until Doe 1 and Doe 2 showed evidence of pregnancy, which triggered police investigation. The employee was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Doe 1 and Doe 2 sued Roe Inc., alleging gross negligence, negligence-special relationship, negligence-express assumption of duty, negligent hiring, negligent retention, constructive fraud and respondeat superior.

The parties agreed to private mediation, which occurred over a period of weeks.

5) $4.5 million

Man fell at waterfront industrial setting

Type of Action: Maritime

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Thomas Shadrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Adam Lotkin, Norfolk

Case summary: Plaintiff fell in a significant distance in a waterfront industrial setting, suffering life-altering injuries. The case settled after two mediation sessions and more than a year of litigation.

7) $4.25 million

Passenger in tractor-trailer wreck rendered quadriplegic

Type of Action: Personal injury

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Thomas Shadrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: John Newby, Richmond; Eric Speer, Richmond

Case summary: The plaintiff was a passenger in a tractor-trailer that overturned when the driver lost control. The driver was killed in the accident. The plaintiff suffered a spinal cord injury which rendered her quadriplegic and required extensive medical treatment and hospitalizations.

The driver had a blood alcohol level of .14. The defense claimed plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by riding with an intoxicated driver. However, plaintiff did not know the decedent had been drinking. No one that interacted with the decedent noticed any signs of impairment.

There was no insurance coverage for the tractor-trailer. The owner was a sole proprietor whose liability coverage had lapsed. Plaintiff filed suit against the shipper of the product being hauled and the broker that had arranged the shipment. Plaintiff alleged vicarious liability and negligent hiring of an independent contractor against both defendants. The defense vigorously contested both theories of liability.
The case settled at mediation with the settlement amount paid by the broker on behalf of all defendants.

7) $4.25 million

Driver crushed when tractor-trailer tried illegal U-turn

Type of Action: Personal injury

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) J. Michael Gamble

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Matthew W. Broughton, Andrew D. Finnicum and Andrew M. Bowman, Roanoke

Case summary: The plaintiff was traveling on a four-lane divided highway when he saw a tractor-trailer traveling at a reduced speed ahead in the right lane. The plaintiff merged into the left lane and began to pass the tractor-trailer. As his vehicle pulled alongside the tractor-trailer, the truck driver suddenly made a hard left turn. His purpose was to knowingly execute an illegal U-turn through the unauthorized section of road between the divided highway. He made this turn from the right lane, across the left lane, where he collided with the plaintiff.

The plaintiff was so badly injured he was not able to exit the vehicle. Because of the extensive damage and his inability to get out of the vehicle, the plaintiff believed he was about to die.

Plaintiff fractured both legs, which necessitated multiple surgeries. In addition he suffered multiple impacts to his head, resulting in the near amputation of one of his ears and a traumatic brain injury. The brain injury led to extensive mental-health treatment.

9) $3.8 million

Settlement for quadriplegic is third-largest reported to VLW

Type of Action: Workers’ compensation

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Andrew Reinhardt, Stephen Harper and Craig Davis, Richmond

Case summary: Claimant is a 30-year-old incomplete quadriplegic as a result of a fall to a concrete floor from the upper level of a home construction site. He filed a claim to obtain 24/7 home health care. As a result of mediation, the parties were able to successfully resolve the case for $3.8 million. Because the claimant is receiving Social Security Disability and Medicare, a portion of the settlement includes the funding of a CMS-approved Medicare Set Aside with a cost of $1.5M.  Following settlement, proceeds will be placed in a special needs trust, or SNT. Because of the SNT, claimant will become eligible for both SSI and Medicaid. Claimant will also receive monthly checks for life funded by an annuity to cover his ongoing personal needs. The settlement is believed to be the third-largest workers’ comp settlement ever reported to Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

10) $3.5 million

Student crushed by motorized partition

Type of Action: Products liability/wrongful death

Name of Mediator: Justice (Ret.) Jane Marum Roush

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Ben Glass and Brian Glass, Fairfax; Lee Livingston, Bryan Slaughter and Kyle McNew, Charlottesville

Case summary: Decedent was a 10-year-old student at a Northern Virginia public school. He was asked by a teacher to help operate a motorized partition that separated two rooms. To better hear the teacher on the other side of the sound-proof partition, the child placed his head close to the partition. When the partition was activated, it trapped his head. The child died of massive head trauma.

The child’s mother and father asserted claims of negligence against various employees of the school, as well as products liability claims against several companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of the motorized partition.

A pre-suit mediation in 2019 resulted in a partial settlement of $2 million with the potential school defendants.

The parties engaged in another round of mediation in April 2020. The mediation concluded with the plaintiffs’ agreement to accept a total of $3.5 million from the various defendants, bringing the total settlement for the child’s death to $5.5 million.

11) $3.05 million

Permanently disabled plaintiff settles for $3.05 million

Type of Action: Personal injury

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: James G. Harrison III, Richmond; Gregory S. Hooe and Tara A. Enix, Petersburg

Case summary: Client sustained injuries that rendered him permanently disabled.

12) $2.5 million

Man died after getting hit, wife and two adult children were survivors

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: W.F. Drewry “Drew” Gallalee, Richmond

Case summary: Decedent was operating a vehicle when they were struck by another vehicle. Decedent suffered multiple injuries and later died in the hospital. Decedent left behind a wife and two adult children. The case settled at mediation for $2.5 million.

12) $2.5 million

SUV slammed into back of tractor-trailer

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Court: Hampton Circuit Court

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Joseph A. Fried and Briant G. Mildenhall, Atlanta; A. Michele Cavanaugh, Hampton; Stephen L. Grobel, Hampton

Case summary: On July 31, 2018, a family from Hampton was motoring in the right-hand lane down Interstate 95 in Glynn County, Georgia.

Ahead a tractor-trailer with two ruptured tires was moving slowly in the right-hand lane. The driver may have been trying to reach an exit for repair services.

The SUV slammed into the back of the tractor-trailer. An adult front-seat passenger and a 6-year-old in the back seat were killed on impact. Three other children were injured; one required extensive hospitalization.

Investigation showed that the trailer was in unsuitable condition for use. Aside from the ruptured tires, other tires were determined to have severely diminished tread depths and excessive wear. Additionally, the tractor-trailer driver did not have current logs and was declared “out of service” by the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

The claims were settled for all the trucking company’s liability coverage plus the maximum underinsured coverage from the SUV driver’s policy.

12) $2.5 million

Boy, 15, riding on motorcycle killed in collision

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Thomas Shadrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: John E. Zydron and Robert Wegman, Chesapeake

Case summary: In June 2018, JR, a 15-year-old boy, came home from church with his family. Several friends had come, including a friend of JR’s father on his brand new motorcycle. JR asked the father’s friend if he would give him a motorcycle ride. The friend told him to ask his parents for permission. After some discussion, both parents agreed.

As the motorcycle came down a two-lane country road, CR, who was working for her employer at the time, turned left in front of the cycle whereupon the cycle could not stop and collided with her passenger side back door. The car was owned by her employer.

Both the driver of the motorcycle and JR were propelled over the car. The driver received major injuries. JR never regained consciousness and died two days later of massive injuries.

The parents felt guilt by allowing JR to go on the motorcycle ride. Each parent blamed the other for their son’s death and required psychiatric and grief counseling.

15) $2.4 million

Quadriplegic settles after years of fighting with comp carrier

Type of Action: Workers’ compensation

Court: Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Michelle S. Lewane, Richmond

Case summary: The claimant was a competitive professional ice skater prior to his accident. On April 2, 1990, he was working for Disney On Ice and supplemented his skating salary by driving the trucks between performances. He was injured when his truck was struck by another vehicle in icy road conditions. He is a quadriplegic, lives alone and has caregivers attend to him for approximately 12 hours a day.

The insurance carrier had paid prior to the settlement $936,376.22 in compensation and $2,580,697.52 in past medical treatment. Prior to representation, the carrier for years was late with his checks, did not pay him for cost of living adjustments and refused to timely reimburse him for wheelchair repairs and home health care. Routinely the insurance carrier would go months without paying him, usually owing him $50,000 to $60,000 before they would reimburse him. After their loss at the hearing, the carrier changed counsel and matters improved. It took several more years before a lump-sum settlement was reached.

16) $2.3 million

Woman seriously injured after being crushed between car and building

Type of Action: Personal injury

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Gary B. Mims and Matthew Perushek, Fairfax

Case summary: Plaintiff was standing on a sidewalk when the defendant inadvertently applied his accelerator instead of the brake causing the car to lurch onto the sidewalk, crushing plaintiff between the car and wall of a building.

The defendant driver paid his $250,000 policy limits prior to mediation as did plaintiff’s personal UIM carrier (additional $50,000). Plaintiff’s employer had an umbrella policy that provided significant UIM coverage. Mediation was against the employer’s UIM carrier.

A condition of the settlement was that the UIM carrier would waive subrogation to permit the plaintiff to proceed against the property owner for failure to install bollards or other barriers to prevent such an incident.

17) $2 million

Nine year old child crushed, killed by motorized partition at school

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Court: Circuit Court for Fairfax County

Name of Mediator: Justice (Ret.) Jane M. Roush

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Lee Livingston, Bryan Slaughter and Kyle McNew, Charlottesville;
Benjamin W. Glass III and James Abrenio, Arlington

Case summary: Nine-year-old Wesley Lipicky died in May 2018 when he was crushed by a motorized partition at Franconia Elementary School in Fairfax County. The soundproof partition, which opens and closes, separates the gym from a “music room.”

Wesley was invited by a teacher to operate the gym-side power control. As he did so, Wesley leaned his head into a gap in the partition. Unbeknownst to Wesley, when the partition begins to open, the last panel initially moves toward the wall, creating a deadly pinch-point.

Wesley’s death lead to claims against various county employees responsible for formulating and implementing safety policies and for supervising the children at the time and those responsible for designing, manufacturing, distributing and installing the motorized partition.

Claims for gross negligence and negligence in the performance of a ministerial duty were made against the county defendants. While no agreement could be reached at mediation, the case settled with the county defendants several weeks later.

17) $2 million

Newborn suffered brain injury during long labor

Type of Action: Medical malpractice

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Bellamy Stoneburner, Lewis Stoneburner and
Stephanie Grana, Richmond

Case summary: The injured plaintiff suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at birth after a delayed vacuum-assisted delivery. Following the induction of labor, initial fetal heart rate strips were reassuring. When labor failed to progress, Cytotec and Pitocin were administered in the face of fetal heart rate strip abnormalities.

Uterine contraction patterns of the mother showed persistent tachysystole. Numerous resuscitative measures taken by the nursing staff failed to achieve a return to a reassuring fetal heart rate.

Towards the end of the 38-hour labor, Category Three fetal heart rate tracings were indicative of a hypoxic risk to the fetus. The delivering obstetrician attempted a manual rotation of the fetus from the occiput posterior position. The obstetrician then employed a vacuum extractor and encountered shoulder dystocia.

At delivery, the neonate had no respiratory rate, muscle tone or reflex and was cyanotic. After resuscitation, he developed seizures. The infant was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, cystic encephalomalacia, microcephaly, spastic cerebral palsy, hemiparesis and cortical blindness.

17) $2 million

Jet ski exploded after shop performed repairs

Type of Action: Products liability/negligent repairs

Court: Circuit Court for the City of Richmond

Name of Mediator: Hon. Gerald Bruce Lee

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Robert Stoney, Chidi James, Julie Porto and Michael Kernbach, Fairfax

Case summary: On July 25, 2016, plaintiff picked up his jet ski from a marina near Lake Anna where he had taken it for repairs. When he attempted to start the jet ski, it exploded.

Unknown to plaintiff, the marina technician had attempted to drain the gasoline through an inspection cap inside the bilge of the jet ski. He cross-threaded the cap, preventing the tank from sealing and allowed gasoline to spill into the bilge. High temperatures caused fuel vapors to build up in the bilge, causing the ignition switch to spark a massive blast.

Eyewitnesses recounted that plaintiff was thrown more than 20 feet into the air and landed unconscious amid the burning debris in the lake. He was rescued by a passerby.

Plaintiff suffered an L1 burst fracture with damage to the nerves down his left leg. He also has hyperesthesia and impaired proprioception of his left foot, which makes it difficult for him to walk and maintain his balance.  The case settled just before trial.

17) $2 million

Boy, thrown from van despite seatbelt, suffers TBI in wreck

Type of Action: Negligence/auto collision

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Thomas S. Shadrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: John E. Zydron and Robert G. Byrum, Chesapeake

Case summary: In February 2016, plaintiff TM, who was 7 years old, was riding with JD, his 10-year-old classmate, in a van driven by JD’s mother, “Defendant One.” As the van entered a stoplight-controlled intersection, an employee of a contracting company, “Defendant Two,” collided with Defendant One while driving 35 mph.

The collision caused Defendant One’s van to strike a telephone pole. The impact was violent enough that both children were ejected from the van.

JD died at the scene. TM remained unconscious and was transported to the hospital; he regained consciousness several hours later.

Both Defendant One and Defendant Two alleged that the other had run the red light and caused the collision. Liability was heavily contested. An eyewitness who saw Defendant Two run through the red light and cause the collision was identified.

The parties agreed to mediate with no admission of liability from either defendant. An agreement was reached with Defendant Two to pay $2 million plus mediation costs.

21) $1.98 million

Driver ran off road, hurt passenger

Type of Action: Personal injury

Name of Mediator: Hon. Thomas D. Shadrick (Ret.)

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Emmet D. Alexander, Robert G. Maury and Michael R. Krol, Richmond

Case summary: The plaintiff was a passenger in a motor vehicle that ran off the road into the rear of a tractor-trailer parked illegally on the side of a highway. Defendants were the plaintiff’s driver and the tractor-trailer driver and carrier. Liability was vigorously contested.

22) $1.9 million

Pedestrian struck by delivery truck in marked crosswalk

Type of Action: Personal injury

Court: Alexandria Circuit Court

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Johanna Fitzpatrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Thomas J. Curcio, Sandra M. Rohrstaff, Rakin Hamad, and Justin Curcio, Alexandria

Case summary: In February 2017, the plaintiff was in a crosswalk walking across a street in Old Town Alexandria. At the same time, the defendant driver was driving his delivery truck approaching the intersection intending to turn right onto the street the plaintiff was crossing.

As the defendant was making the turn, he failed to see the plaintiff and struck her, knocking her to the ground. Unaware that he hit the plaintiff, the driver kept moving forward, wedging the plaintiff between the front tire and pavement until an eyewitness alerted the driver to stop. The driver was found not guilty of reckless driving at a traffic trial. Suit was filed against both the driver and his corporate employer.

Discovery included the production of a dash cam video which showed that the plaintiff was clearly in the crosswalk when the defendant approached the intersection. Plaintiff’s pelvic fractures resolved with surgery but the internal injuries required multiple surgeries and debridements. Permanent injuries include surgical scarring and lack of contour on plaintiff’s upper leg.

23) $1.7 million

Doctors misdiagnosed man with high risks for heart attack

Type of Action: Medical malpractice/wrongful death

Name of Mediator: Justice (Ret.) Jane Marum Roush

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Anthony M. “Tony” Russell, Roanoke; Les S. Bowers, Charlottesville

Case summary: A man presented to an urgent care clinic complaining of chest pain. His risk factors were highly suggestive of heart-related chest pain.

A mid-level provider performed two electrocardiograms, or EKGs, both of which were abnormal suggesting a potential developing heart attack. The computer interpreted and reported such.

The midlevel provider showed the EKG strip to her supervising doctor, who overruled the computer interpretation and concluded that the EKGs showed a normal variant.

The defendants “diagnosed” the man with “abdominal pain, epigastric,” and discharged him. The defendants also compounded their malpractice by prescribing Protonix even though it can potentiate heart attacks.

As a result of the defendants’ actions, the patient was not emergently transported for hospital admission. Instead, he went home thinking he had non-life-threatening abdominal pain. Two days later, he suffered a massive heart attack that led to his death.

Plaintiff filed suit and mediation was scheduled.

The first round of mediation ended in an impasse. After additional mediation, the case resolved confidentially for $1.7 million.

24) $1.69 million

Grad student struck in crosswalk by pickup truck

Type of Action: Personal injury

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Thomas S. Shadrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit, Virginia Beach; Stephanie Grana, Richmond; Kevin Biniazan, Virginia Beach

Case summary: On Sep. 25, 2018, plaintiff, a 25-year-old graduate student at the time of the accident, was a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk in Williamsburg. Defendant was driving a pickup truck and proceeded to make a left turn onto the street where plaintiff was crossing. Defendant struck plaintiff while she was in the crosswalk, causing her severe and permanent injuries including a fibular shaft fracture of her left ankle and a displaced medial malleolus fracture.

Future surgeries for her injuries are certain, as approximately a year after her initial surgery, her fibula broke again.

Plaintiff asserted that defendant negligently failed to keep his vehicle under proper control, failed to yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk and failed to keep a proper lookout. Defendant countered that plaintiff was negligent and failed to mitigate her damages.

The parties engaged in mediation on Feb. 28. After days of mediation discussion, the parties were able to resolve this case for $1,690,000.

25) $1.68 million

Condition of tractor-trailer at issue in crash killing mom, unborn child

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Court: Fairfax County, Warren County

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Johanna Fitzpatrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Robert J. Stoney and Juli M. Porto, Fairfax

Case summary: A family was driving outside Front Royal on Nov. 13, 2017. The father was driving with his pregnant wife next to him. Their four children were in the back seats. The father mistakenly thought he had the right of way for a left turn across a divided highway when the through-traffic light turned green. He turned into the path of a tractor-trailer, which struck the car at highway speeds. The mother and her unborn child were killed.

The car’s ECM indicated that the truck driver had enough time to avoid the collision. Post-crash inspection revealed a compromised ABS system and cracked brake linings on the truck. The trucking company insisted that these conditions were the result of the collision. Plaintiff believed that skid marks were consistent with defective ABS brakes. The braking system had been repaired prior to counsel’s involvement. The trucking company could not produce a pre-trip inspection form for the day of the crash.

The surviving children were the sole beneficiaries of the wrongful death claims.

26) $1.55 million

Baby died after failure to give antibiotics or test for meningitis

Type of Action: Medical malpractice

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Travis W. Markley, Richard L. Nagle, James N. Knaack and Benjamin M. Wengerd, Reston

Case summary: Plaintiff brought her 3-month-old son to his pediatrician after he awoke with a 103.9 degree fever.

The pediatrician noted the baby’s fever was over 103 degrees and contacted the nearby emergency department, which accepted the baby for transfer.

An emergency department evaluation confirmed the pediatrician’s findings. Labs revealed a white blood cell count consistent with a serious infection. The emergency department ordered a pediatric consult, but no lumbar puncture or empiric antibiotics.

A pediatric resident and the attending pediatric hospitalist also did not immediately order a lumbar puncture, empiric antibiotics or increased monitoring.

Despite early inclusion of meningitis on the differential diagnoses, a lumbar puncture was not performed for 11 hours. Further, antibiotics were not started until 12 hours after presentation.

Despite results that confirmed the infant had Group B strep meningitis, the family medicine resident never consulted the pediatric intensive care unit or increased monitoring of his vital signs. When plaintiff awoke in her son’s hospital room the next day, her baby was dead.

The case resolved before a five-day jury trial was scheduled to start.

27) $1.5 million

Plaintiff shot and killed while playing Pokémon GO in his car

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Name of Mediator: Judge B. Waugh Crigler

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: John R. Fletcher, Scott J. Flax and James O. Broccoletti, Norfolk

Case summary: An unarmed resident of a planned urban development was shot and killed by an armed security guard.

In January 2017, the decedent was seated in his vehicle in a parking lot of a common area of the development. The decedent was playing the mobile game Pokémon GO when the security guard confronted him, claiming the decedent had been barred from the area.

The security guard drove to the area where the decedent was parked, exited his vehicle, drew his firearm and demanded the decedent exit his vehicle. When the decedent, who did not speak English, attempted to leave, the security guard fired 10 gunshots through the driver’s side window and windshield. Five of the gunshots struck the decedent, who died at the scene.

The security guard claimed that he fired his gun in self-defense. A compilation of evidence belied that claim. All footage pointed to the security guard as the aggressor.

Suit was brought against the security guard, his employer and the community association.

27) $1.5 million

Woman killed in head-on collision

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: W.F. Drewry “Drew” Gallalee, Richmond

Case summary: A 56-year-old decedent was operating a vehicle when struck head-on by another vehicle. Decedent died at the scene and left behind a husband and five adult children. Defendant driver’s employer, a small business, had policy limits of $500,000 and a $1 million umbrella policy. The total policy limits were tendered by defense counsel shortly after suit was filed. The case against another defendant remains pending.

29) $1.3 million

Man lost leg, gets wages and care in settlement

Type of Action: Workers’ compensation

Court: Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Michele Lewane, Richmond

Case summary: The claimant suffered a traumatic amputation of his left leg while operating a “debarking” machine at a logging facility on Feb. 23, 2018.

The claimant had been released to full duty physically but was still having post-traumatic stress disorder issues and could not return to the logging company. The insurance carrier had begun vocational rehabilitation. He was eager to settle so that he could buy a modest home for his young family and find employment on his own.

The claimant had been paid approximately $34,651.27 in weekly benefits and had received $568,187.13 in medical care and treatment including a regular leg prosthesis and a running leg prosthesis.

The settlement provides the claimant with 100% of the remaining lost wage benefits plus in excess of $1 million for future medical care.

29) $1.3 million

Delivery delayed, infant dies at 25 hours of life

Type of Action: Medical malpractice

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Johanna Fitzpatrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Ann LaCroix Jones and Donna Miller, Fairfax

Case summary: The case was filed against three obstetricians and their practice group for malpractice in the co-management of a pregnancy resulting in the birth of a severely brain injured infant who died at 25 hours of life.

Three obstetricians on three successive appointments failed to offer the plaintiff delivery in the setting of hypertensive blood pressures.

When the plaintiff presented for her appointment at 38 6/7 weeks gestation, she had severe hypertension and decreased fetal movement. She was sent to the hospital.

Decreased fetal movement strongly suggested fetal acidemia, which warranted immediate resuscitation and prompt delivery.

However, one of the defendants ordered unnecessary diagnostic testing and delayed delivery by two hours. By the time the plaintiff was taken for C-section, the fetal heart rate had dropped to zero. The infant had no signs of life for 16 minutes. She was irreversibly brain injured and died after 25 hours.

The statutory beneficiaries were the infant’s parents, an older half-sister and two after-born younger sisters.

29) $1.3 million

Woman sued surgeon for injuring spine during operation

Type of Action: Medical malpractice

Court: State Court in Virginia

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Johanna Fitzpatrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Lee Livingston and Anthony Greene, Charlottesville

Case summary: Defendant permanently injured plaintiff’s spinal cord while performing spinal revision surgery.

Defendant suggested there was possible pseudarthrosis following an initial procedure and that plaintiff would require another surgery to fix it. Defendant also suggested that plaintiff would need to expand the fusion. Defendant performed a removal and revision of the previous fusion, even though radiology scans indicated no pseudarthrosis of the previous fusion.

Three months later, defendant indicated to plaintiff that she may require another revision surgery. Defendant suggested this even though radiology showed stable plate fixation and there was improvement in plaintiff’s pain.

Plaintiff alleged that defendant caused a spinal cord injury during that surgery. Plaintiff awoke following the procedure with a neurological deficit including signs of Brown-Sequard syndrome. Plaintiff experienced a post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leak, which defendant used as a basis to take plaintiff back to the OR for a third revision.

Plaintiff experiences severe neurological pain, numbness and weakness. Beyond her medical expenses, plaintiff alleged that she lost past and future earnings of $1.1 million.

The case resolved confidentially for $1,300,000.

32) $1.25 million

Man was crushed between two vehicles in sideswipe wreck

Type of Action: Personal injury

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Peter C. Burnett and Matthew E. Bass; Peter M. Sweeny, Leesburg

Case summary: Plaintiff, a multiple-time, non-violent, convicted felon and father of six, sought work at a townhouse construction site. During the first two hours of his first day at work, he stood next to a large flatbed truck as instructed to assist in the unloading of a crane. While doing so, a commercial trash truck failed to stay in its lane and side-swiped the flatbed, crushing plaintiff between the two vehicles.

Plaintiff sustained severe lower extremity injuries which were successfully treated with multiple surgeries to his foot and lower leg. He also suffered rib and non-displaced vertebral fractures. He is left with significant, permanent deformity and chronic lymphedema.

The workers’ compensation carrier initially contested the claim, which Peter Sweeny persuaded them to pay. The liability claim was settled near the statute of limitations while plaintiff was incarcerated for a period of years following post-accident probation violations. The workers’ comp claim settled shortly thereafter.

32) $1.25 million

Woman injured in head-on collision with driver who fell asleep

Type of Action: Auto accident

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Jonathan Rogers, Floyd

Case summary: Plaintiff was injured when the defendant fell asleep while driving on a highway at 55 mph, crossed the centerline and collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle head-on. The crash caused the plaintiff’s vehicle to flip and completely demolished the car. Both the plaintiff and the defendant were airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

The plaintiff suffered 14 broken ribs; several of the ribs had to be fused together. She also had comminuted fractures of her leg and arm and hand. The plaintiff was in the intensive care unit for several weeks, after which she was confined to a rehabilitation facility for several additional weeks.

The plaintiff incurred significant medical bills, permanent limitations on her ability to ambulate and was unable to perform her occupation as a computer programmer.

The case settled for $1,250,000.

34) $1.2 million

Passenger hurt when car struck by drunk

Type of Action: Personal injury

Name of Mediator: James Barkley

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: W.F. Drewry (“Drew”) Gallalee, Richmond

Case summary: Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which was struck by a drunken driver. Plaintiff suffered multiple injuries and her treatment is ongoing.

The value of the case exceeded the coverage. The defendant had only $25,000.00 of insurance. Plaintiff was able to receive a substantial part of the UIM coverage on the vehicle in which she was a passenger. She was also able to receive UIM coverage under four additional policies, with a mediation on a coverage issue under one of those policies.

James Barkley of The McCammon Group was the mediator on Zoom.

34) $1.2 million

Air bubble injected into artery caused stroke

Type of Action: Medical malpractice

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Johanna L. Fitzpatrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Anthony M. “Tony” Russell, Roanoke; Les S. Bowers; Charlottesville

Case summary: During a cardiac catheterization procedure, plaintiff’s cardiologist improperly attached an air-filled syringe to the wrong catheter. Thereafter, the cardiologist injected air into plaintiff’s radial artery. The air bubble traveled to plaintiff’s brain, resulting in a stroke, among other injuries.

Plaintiff required emergent hyperbaric oxygen, or HBO, therapy for his grave condition; however, the hospital did not have HBO services.

Instead of transferring plaintiff to the closest hospital with available HBO services, plaintiff was transferred by helicopter to an affiliated hospital in another part of the state. However, plaintiff could not undergo HBO therapy upon arrival because the hospital did not have a large enough HBO chamber. Plaintiff required another transfer via helicopter to an out-of-state medical center that had a large enough HBO chamber, further delaying treatment and worsening plaintiff’s life-threatening injuries.

Against all odds, plaintiff survived and recovered. He was able to return to his profession and prior life within a year of the malpractice, though he has some ongoing problems.

34) $1.2 million

70-year old plaintiff traumatically injured in car crash

Type of Action: Personal injury

Court: Rockingham County Circuit Court

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Michael Allen

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: David M. Williams, Stafford

Case summary: The plaintiff, a 70-year-old retired police officer/captain, was injured on July 13, 2018, in a motor vehicle collision in Rockingham County. The defendant failed to keep a reasonable lookout and yield the right of way when she pulled out in front of the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing the crash.

As a result of the crash, the plaintiff sustained multiple traumatic injuries and diagnoses, including a concussion/scalp hematoma, cervical facet fracture, thoracic spine fracture, sternal fracture, collapsed lung, oropharyngeal dysphagia, hypoxic respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation/intubation, wrist contusion, rib fracture, cervical strain and myofascial pain syndrome.

The vast majority of the plaintiff’s medical expenses were incurred during the first six weeks following the crash. Treatment thereafter was limited to a few follow-up visits with his physicians, physical therapy and pain management.

The case settled several weeks after an initial mediation. This coverage resulted from a minimum limits liability policy and multiple UIM policies and an umbrella.

37) $1.19 million

Plaintiff hurt while riding as passenger in company vehicle

Type of Action: Personal injury

Name of Mediator: Judge Richard Sothoron

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Howard B. Ackerman and W. David Falcon, Jr., Vienna

Case summary: The plaintiff was a passenger in a company vehicle on his way to work. As the plaintiff’s vehicle entered an intersection, the defendant traveling in the opposite direction made a left turn without yielding, causing the plaintiff to strike the defendant and collide with a steel traffic pole.

The plaintiff was pinned against the dashboard and had to be extricated from the vehicle. He subsequently spent two months in the hospital where surgeons performed 12 surgeries to reconstruct his ribcage and repair numerous damaged organs.

The three other occupants of the company vehicle sustained serious injuries and also asserted claims against the defendant driver. The total amount of insurance coverage available was $1.5 million.

The parties agreed to mediate all of the claims arising from the accident with the participation of the workers’ compensation carrier.

A settlement was ultimately achieved after the workers’ compensation carrier agreed to significantly compromise its lien.

38) $1.15 million

Patient injured back while being restrained

Type of Action: Civil assault

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Johanna Fitzpatrick

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Chidi James, Fairfax; Cory Ford, Leesburg

Case summary: While participating in an outpatient mental health program, a female patient got into an argument with two other program participants. A male employee intervened in an effort to de-escalate the argument. When the patient ignored the employee’s warnings to stop the argument, the employee attempted to place the plaintiff into a therapeutic hold. Unfortunately for all involved, that hold went wrong. It resulted in the plaintiff’s suffering several vertebral compression fractures to her thoracic spine and significant on-going post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the restraint was unnecessary, that it was not performed properly and that the restraint continued longer than necessary. After entering into a statute of limitations tolling agreement, the parties agreed to engage in a pre-suit mediation, which resulted in a $1.15 million settlement.

39) $1.113 million

Woman, sexually assaulted at age 6, gets civil settlement from attacker

Type of Action: Tort

Court: Prince William County Circuit Court

Name of Judge: Judge Angela Lemmon Horan

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: J. Michael Sharman, Culpepper; Timothy M. Olmstead, Manassas

Case summary: The sexual assault occurred approximately 20 years ago when the victim, plaintiff Tori Nonaka, was 6 years old. She was staying overnight at the home of a woman who was a close friend of Nonaka’s mother. The woman’s husband, Lawrence “Larry” Englert, sexually assaulted Nonaka. Soon after, Nonaka told Englert’s wife she was feeling sick, returned home and the following morning told her mother what had happened.

Englert was promptly arrested and entered a guilty plea to a felony charge of indecent liberties with a minor, in violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-370; he was sentenced to five years with all but 18 months suspended.

Englert’s first counsel died during the pendency of the case. His second counsel did not dispute Nonaka’s motion for partial summary judgment as to liability, and Englert’s third counsel neogtiated the amount of the agreed judgment order.

40) $1.1 million

Painter hurt, hearing damaged  when boiler exploded

Type of Action: Personal injury

Name of Mediator: Judge (Ret.) Michael C. Allen

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: John C. Shea and Louis D. Snesil, Richmond

Case summary: Plaintiff was injured on Oct. 19, 2017, while on the job as a commercial painter when a boiler exploded. He was hospitalized at VCU Medical Center for 12 days and underwent a lengthy convalescence. He made a good recovery but continues to have hearing issues and requires hearing aids.

Mediation held approximately four months before trial was not immediately successful. The case settled one week later with the continued services of Judge (Ret.) Michael C. Allen of The McCammon Group. Plaintiff received workers’ compensation benefits which were almost completely waived in conjunction with the settlement.

40) $1.1 million

Man suffered severe TBI, multiple injuries after falling from a ladder

Type of Action: Workers’ compensation

Court: Workers’ Compensation Commission

Name of Mediator: Judge R. Temple Mayo

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Craig Davis, Richmond 

Case summary: The claimant, who owned a company that provided maintenance services to commercial entities, suffered a traumatic brain injury, pelvic and clavicle fractures and a torn left rotator cuff following a fall from a ladder. The claimant was kept in an induced coma in the ICU for approximately four days, spent two weeks in the trauma unit and spent a month in a rehabilitation hospital.

Neuropsychological evaluations revealed a major neurocognitive disorder and significant neurobehavioral impairments related to his TBI. Experts provided reports indicating the claimant was permanently disabled from all gainful employment.

The claimant obtained an award and received weekly indemnity benefits for several years. The carrier then filed an application to terminate his benefits based on the allegation that he was capable of performing his full-duty job running the company. The claimant countered with a bad faith claim for attorney’s fees and costs and sought approximately five hours of daily attendant care.

The carrier had paid $1,060,000 in compensation and medical benefits prior to the settlement.

40) $1.1 million

50-year-old man dies of pulmonary embolism

Type of Action: Medical malpractice

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Donna Miller Rostant and Ann LaCroix Jones, Fairfax

Case summary: The plaintiff was a disabled 50-year-old husband and father of four adult children. He was unemployed at the time of his death.

In the fall of 2015, six weeks following knee surgery, the plaintiff began experiencing dyspnea on exertion. He sought care and treatment from the defendant practice group. A chest X-ray was negative, and a physician concluded that the plaintiff’s symptoms were likely due to deconditioning and mild anemia. The plaintiff was instructed to follow up in one month.

Two weeks later, the plaintiff returned with continued dyspnea on exertion, but with an added complaint of a “racing heart.” The physician examined him again and recommended the plaintiff see a cardiologist.

The plaintiff made an appointment with a cardiologist but collapsed and died before the appointment. The cause of death was a pulmonary embolism, or a blockage of an artery in the lungs.

The parties resolved the litigation at mediation for $1,100,000.

43) $1.07 million

Hernia case settled, dated to injury in 2005

Type of Action: Worker’s compensation

Court: Workers’ Compensation Commission

Attorney for Plaintiff: Stephen T. Harper, Richmond

Case summary: While lifting boxes at an out of state trade show in 2005, the claimant suffered a hernia. Due to nerve entrapment complications related to the hernia mesh repair, the claimant required multiple surgical procedures over the years. The wage portion of the claim was settled in 2012 for a combination of a lump sum and a structured annuity. The claimant has continued to require significant ongoing medical care ever since then.

The claim required repeated litigation with multiple hearings and appeals. The carrier eventually agreed to settle the medical portion of the claim as well which resulted in a total settlement valued at $1,070,878. In addition to the settlement payments, the carrier paid in excess of $990,000 in lost wage and medical payments over the life of the claim.

44) $1.05 million

Plaintiff underwent three surgeries after hip replacement complications

Type of Action: Medical malpractice

Name of Judge: Judge (Ret.) Joanne Alper

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Richard M. Reed, Manassas

Case summary: Defendant performed a hip arthroplasty on the plaintiff.

Plaintiff averred the defendant failed to communicate with the plaintiff concerning risk assessment and performed the surgery through an approach that increased the risk of complications. Defendant maintained the approach was within the standard of care.

Following the surgery, plaintiff suffered complications including subluxation of the prosthesis. Defendant maintained the loosening of the prosthesis was a known risk of surgery. Defendant performed a revision surgery on the plaintiff to replace the prosthesis.

Following his second surgery plaintiff suffered a deep wound infection. Plaintiff averred the defendant failed to either treat the infection or actively transfer the plaintiff for expedient care.

Defendant maintained the post-surgical management of the plaintiff was adequate.

Plaintiff’s new physician performed a revision that required the plaintiff to have a plastic spacer implanted in place of the previous prosthesis. The plaintiff ultimately required a fourth surgery to replace the removed prosthesis.

Defendant contested the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages as well as the cause for the alleged damages.

45) $1 million

Carrier pays $1 million limits to settle head-on wreck

Type of Action: Personal injury 

Attorneys for Plaintiff: Emmet D. Alexander and Michael R. Krol, Richmond

Case summary: This was an automobile accident case involving a head-on collision on Happy Hill Road in Chesterfield County. The crash happened Nov. 5, 2018. The carrier, USAA, paid its policy limits of $1,000,000 to settle the claim.

45) $1 million

Pedestrian died months after being hit by car

Type of Action: Personal injury

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Matthew W. Broughton, Andrew D. Finnicum and Abby M. Broughton, Roanoke

Case summary: Elderly pedestrian hit by vehicle died several months after initial injuries. Case defended on contributory negligence and cause of death grounds.

45) $1 million

Woman’s bowel injured during hysterectomy

Type of Action: Medical malpractice

Attorneys for Plaintiff: Michele Bartoli Cain and Wallace B. Wason Jr., Alexandria

Case summary: Plaintiff underwent a supracervical laparoscopic hysterectomy for excessive bleeding. During the procedure, defendant OB-GYN injured the bowel and right ureter without recognizing the injuries. Plaintiff was discharged and sent home the same day.

Over the next few days, plaintiff contacted the OB-GYN’s office multiple times with complaints of pain and feeling ill. Four days after the surgery, plaintiff returned to the emergency room. A CT scan showed a large pelvic fluid collection consistent with an abscess. The next day, plaintiff underwent laparotomy surgery which revealed a hole in plaintiff’s sigmoid colon. A colostomy was performed.

Plaintiff wore a colostomy bag and nephrostomy bag for 10 months. At that point, she underwent a surgery in which the ureter was repaired, the colostomy was reversed and the original laparotomy scar was revised. Since that time, she has undergone surgery to treat several incisional hernias that have developed.

The case settled following the presentation of plaintiff’s case.

45) $1 million

Global mediation covered more than 50 hurt passengers

Type of Action: Personal injury

Name of Judge: Retired federal judge, New York

Attorney for Plaintiff: Adam H. Lotkin, Norfolk

Case summary: Plaintiff, a 10-year-old girl, was traveling in an interstate bus with her mother when the driver lost control and drove off the highway. More than 50 passengers were injured, as well as several fatalities.

Plaintiff, who is not a Virginia resident, suffered a fractured thigh bone, which ultimately required surgery in her home state. Her recovery has been favorable and doctors expect a full recovery.

A global mediation was initiated with a set pool of insurance coverage to be divided by all claimants, including the wrongful death estates. Due to many claims – both life-altering and death claims – the total funds available were prorated at the conclusion of the series of five mediation dates in two states.

45) $1 million

3-year-old special needs child died on school bus

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Court: Fairfax Circuit Court

Name of Judge: Justice (Ret.) Jane Marum Roush

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Robert J. Surovell and Nathan Rozsa, Fairfax

Case summary: Second day of school for a 3-year-old special needs child on a school bus in a stroller. Neither attendant nor driver attended his crying for about 50 minutes. He expired before his stop which was the last one on the route.