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VLW’s Million-Dollar Settlements of 2021

Lawyers negotiating settlement

Click here to view VLW’s Million-Dollar Jury Verdicts of 2021.

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1) $18.7 million

Multiple mediations resolve claims of ­manipulated accounts, embezzlement

Type of action: Insurance coverage

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Name of mediator: Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Robert F. Redmond Jr., Matthew D. Fender and Matthew T. Butler, Richmond

Case summary: Brink’s suffered losses due to the misconduct of a senior collections manager in its New York City office. The manager manipulated Brink’s accounts receivable over a course of years to hide problem accounts and make himself look better. His actions included embezzlement of $ 1.2 million dollars. Brink’s filed suit in Henrico Circuit Court in April 2020 seeking to recover for losses attributable to the manipulated accounts receivable. The insurer defendants removed the case to the Eastern District of Virginia. The parties litigated intensely for several months in the EDVA. In sum, Brink’s recovered $ 18,779,921.73 as a result of its insurance coverage lawsuit through multiple rounds of mediation throughout 2021.

 

2) $12.7 million

Internet provider to pay over $12.7M in False Claims Act case

Type of action: Qui tam action under the federal False Claims Act

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Name of mediator: Judge Anthony Trenga

Attorneys for plaintiff: Zachary Kitts, Fairfax; Greg Habeeb, Richmond

Case summary: This case arose under the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act and was filed in 2013.

The defendant in this partial civil settlement, Level 3 Communications Inc., is a “tier-one internet provider.” During his employment with Level 3, Stephen Bishop learned that his supervisors had paid (and received) bribes and kickbacks and had conspired with several non-Level 3 employees to submit false claims to the United States. When Mr. Bishop’s efforts to stop these frauds internally failed, he resigned his employment and hired counsel for this qui tam lawsuit.

The lion share of this $12.7 million settlement is for claims tainted by bribes or kickbacks, but part of the settlement also covers fraud related to contracts which were supposed to be awarded only to a woman-owned small business but were not. Finally, part of the settlement covers violations of the Procurement Integrity Act. Mr. Bishop will receive 23% of this settlement with Level 3, or $2,937,753.96.

 

3) $5.3 million

Comp settlement believed to be second-largest in state history

Type of action: Workers’ compensation

Court: Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission

Attorney for plaintiff: Stephen T. Harper, Richmond

Case summary: Claimant suffered a slip and fall at work in 2014. As a result of the fall, the claimant suffered injuries including but not limited to head, brain and back injuries. Eventually the claimant’s medical issues included chronic pain and inflammation. As a result of the claimant’s injuries, the claimant required home health care 16 hours per day and extensive medical care. Ultimately the case settled for a total of $5.3 million. Of that, $2.3 million was used to fund a Medicare set-aside in the form of an annuity. In addition to the settlement proceeds, the carrier had previously paid a total of $371,568.92 in indemnity and $2,924,389.37 in medical. Total value to the claimant between the settlement and accrued proceeds exceeded $8,500,000.

 

4) $5 million

Driver killed after being hit from behind by another vehicle

Type of action: Wrongful death, motor vehicle collision

Name of mediator: Judge Thomas Shadrick (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: John Newby, Wiley Latham, Jay Tronfeld and Elizabeth West, Richmond

Case summary: The decedent was operating a motor vehicle when he was struck from behind by another vehicle. Decedent died at the scene. The beneficiaries were his widow and two minor children.

 

4) $5 million

Plaintiff ‘catastrophically injured’ in auto accident

Type of action: Personal injury

Attorney for plaintiff: Adam H. Lotkin, Norfolk

Case summary: The plaintiff was catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle collision and required multiple surgeries following the incident. The case settled at the second round of mediation.

 

6) $4.725 million

Adolescent auto accident victim awarded $4.725 million

Type of action: Automobile-related accident

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Michael Allen (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: John M. Cooper, Bill O’Mara and Charles B. Lustig, Norfolk

Case summary: An adolescent girl was hurt as a passenger in a car on a highway in Hampton Roads.  The complex liability issues were highly contested and technical.

The injuries included vision impairment in one eye and multiple fractures. A life care plan by Sharon Reavis was done to estimate future medical costs. There was a dispute as to whether the child’s ongoing symptoms were the result of the moderate traumatic brain injury (skull fracture) or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The case resolved approximately two months before trial after nearly two years of litigation. Alan Michaelis of Alcar Multimedia assisted in the mediation and trial preparation.

 

7) $4.6 million

Mother killed, father injured in T-bone auto accident

Type of action: Wrongful death, personal injury

Court: Loudoun County Circuit Court

Attorneys for plaintiff: Peter C. Burnett, Donald S. Culkin and Seth R. Lindberg, Leesburg

Case summary: These claims arise out of a two-car crash in which the defendant was alleged to have run a red light at an intersection through which husband and wife were passing.

Decedent driver was a modestly employed mother of three sons. Her injured husband was a front-seat passenger in the vehicle.

The surviving husband suffered pelvic fractures that required hardware for fixation. He underwent two surgeries to address his pelvic injuries. Prior to the accident, he was employed as a store clerk for 18 years. Now, he is unable to work. He continues to struggle with activities of daily living including climbing stairs, showering and preparing the kids’ lunches. Despite his best efforts, a return to gainful employment and being able to care for his family is speculative, at best.

The settlement amount was likely enhanced by the extensive use of structured settlements for the four wrongful death settlement recipients.

 

8) $4.2 million

Plaintiff sustained moderate TBI in auto collision

Type of action: Automobile wreck, personal injury

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Michael C. Allen (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: John C. Shea, Roger R. Creager and Edward E. Scher, Richmond; Mark S. Lindensmith, Staunton; Ryan T. Walker, Chesterfield; Steven G. Friedman, Charlottesville

Case summary: The defendant’s vehicle crossed the median and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle in its lane. The defendant driver claimed a sudden medical emergency and that he was an independent contractor. The 61-year-old plaintiff was alone in her vehicle at the time of the collision. The defense claimed that much of her medical care was caused by pre-existing problems as well as a brain injury sustained after this crash.

The case settled with the assistance of the Hon. Michael C. Allen of The McCammon Group approximately two months after mediation.

 

9) $3.75 million

Man killed instantly in crash involving two tractor-trailers

Type of action: Wrongful death

Name of mediator: Judge B. Waugh Crigler (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: James Mick Kessel and Robert C.T. Reed, Richmond; G. Bradley McConnell, Blacksburg

Case summary: The decedent was a 60-year-old man who was killed instantly when he was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and pushed into the rear of another tractor-trailer causing his vehicle to combust. An ECM download revealed that the defendant was traveling 65 mph at impact and made no attempt to brake for slowing traffic. The decedent is survived by his wife of nine years and a 45-year-old son from a previous marriage. There were no medical bills and he intended to retire the year after the collision, so there was no claim for loss of future earnings. The case resolved at mediation prior to depositions. Plaintiff’s counsel produced an impact video to demonstrate the sorrow and grief suffered by the beneficiaries.

 

10) $3.7 million

Motorcyclist suffered severe leg injuries in accident

Type of action: Personal injury

Attorneys for plaintiff: Lawson D. Spivey III, Edward L. Weiner and Eugene C. Miller, Fairfax

Case summary: Claimant was driving through an intersection on a green signal, and tortfeasor, approaching from the opposite direction, attempted a left turn in front of him. Claimant was thrown from the bike and received severe leg injuries. Tortfeasor pleaded guilty to failure to yield the right of way.

The claimant suffered comminuted displaced fractures of the tibial and fibular diaphysis with an open displaced fracture of the left tibial shaft with compartment syndrome. The claimant underwent a compartment fasciotomy and arterial bypass surgery due to the damage to the tibial arteries.

The case ultimately settled for $3.7 million in direct negotiation with the adjuster, and no lawsuit filed. One of the most important aspects to the injuries was the severe scarring and leg disfigurement as a result of the compartment syndrome and multiple surgeries. The disfigurement injuries were so graphic that policy limits demand was never in serious question.

 

11) $3.5 million

Woman fractured knee after slip in retail store

Type of action: Personal injury

Attorney for plaintiff: Thomas A. Fitzgerald II, Norfolk

Case summary: At the same instant the plaintiff exited the far end of the checkout lane at a retail establishment, another customer spilled a drink on the floor at the entrance to the checkout area. The spill was reported to the cashier and despite actual notice of the spill, no action was taken to clean up the spill other than a radio call to an employee.

The plaintiff returned to the register and slipped and fell in the spilled liquid, suffering a fractured knee cap. Unfortunately, the plaintiff acquired a MRSA infection during the surgery to repair her fractured knee cap. Despite multiple surgeries and extensive antibiotics, the plaintiff was ultimately forced to undergo a knee fusion which left her with a permanent peg leg. The plaintiff incurred medical special damages of approximately $550,000. There was no lost wage claim as the plaintiff was already disabled. The matter was resolved at mediation for $3.5 million.

 

12) $3 million

Man struck in crosswalk by pickup truck making left turn

Type of action: Personal injury

Attorneys for plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Kevin Biniazan, Virginia Beach

Case summary: The plaintiff was a pedestrian in a crosswalk in Virginia Beach. The defendant was driving a pickup truck and made a left turn onto the street where the plaintiff was crossing. When the defendant turned left, the A truck pillar temporarily blocked the defendant driver from seeing the plaintiff crossing the street.

The defendant struck the plaintiff with his vehicle while he was crossing, causing him severe and permanent injuries, including traumatic brain injury. The plaintiff will be unable to return to work. He has recovered significantly since the accident and has mild deficits remaining.

The defendant had $1 million of liability coverage and $2 million of excess coverage. A bad faith letter was sent to the insurance carrier and a drop-dead deadline was given to the carrier to pay full coverage or suit would be filed seeking an excess judgment. Five days before the drop-dead deadline, the carrier offered full coverage.

 

13) $2.5 million

Woman killed in chain reaction tractor-trailer crash

Type of action: Wrongful death

Name of mediator: Judge Diane Strickland (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Paul R. Thomson III and Bettina Altizer, Roanoke

Case summary: Decedent was a 61-year-old woman who was killed instantly when she was rear-ended by another vehicle that was struck and pushed into her by a tractor-trailer. She was divorced and was survived by her five adult children. There were no economic damages other than the funeral bill. Defendant driver claimed to have been blinded by the sun.

 

13) $2.5 million

Plaintiff claimed to be functionally disabled after accident

Type of action: Personal injury

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

Attorneys for plaintiff: Jeremiah A. Denton III, Virginia Beach; Bill O’Mara Jr., Norfolk

Case summary: Plaintiff was stopped at a red light when struck from the rear by a minibus. Liability was admitted, but damages and prognosis were strongly contested. Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to a local emergency room, which diagnosed sprains and strains. After conservative care failed, plaintiff underwent a C5-C7 discectomy. The first neck surgery was unsuccessful, so the plaintiff subsequently required a C5-C7 laminectomy, posterior cervical fusion and bone graft. Plaintiff developed blood clotting and deep vein thrombosis complications following the second neck surgery. Plaintiff also claimed a right shoulder arthroscopy as accident related. Plaintiff claimed to be functionally disabled with a 20-pound lift restriction. Defense argued the plaintiff recovered well and contested the plaintiff’s future claims with medical and vocational experts, along with surveillance footage.

 

13) $2.5 million

Two passengers severely injured in single car crash

Type of action: Personal injury

Name of mediator: Judge Johanna Fitzpatrick (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Robert Stoney, Juli Porto and David Haynes, Fairfax

Case summary: Three young men were driving in Northern Virginia and were in a single car crash. The driver was relatively unscathed. The two passengers in his car, however, suffered serious injuries. Blankingship & Keith represented one passenger and The Cochran Firm represented the other. Working in concert, the firms obtained tender of insurance limits of $2,500,000 from the driver’s insurers. The passengers successfully mediated a confidential division of the insurance limits between them.

 

16) $2.1 million

Man killed after crashing into box trailer

Type of action: Wrongful death

Name of mediator: James Barkley

Attorneys for plaintiff: Bryan Slaughter and Kyle McNew, Charlottesville

Case summary: This tractor-trailer versus automobile crash occurred late at night on a rural, two-lane road. The truck driver had stopped in his lane and backed up to give himself space to swing out to complete a narrow turn into a driveway.

Plaintiff’s decedent was driving in the opposite direction. He crashed into and under-rode the trailer angled across his lane of travel at approximately 60 mph and died at the scene.

The driver and his employer defended on the basis of contributory negligence. Plaintiff developed expert testimony to explain both the truck driver’s negligence in blocking the roadway and why the decedent likely could not see and appreciate the trailer stretched across his lane of travel.

Suit had been filed and trial was set for fall 2021. The case settled after mediation facilitated by James Barkley of The McCammon Group.

 

17) $2 million

Plaintiff awarded $2M after kidney inadvertently removed

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Attorney for plaintiff: Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman Jr., Williamsburg

Case summary: Medical malpractice personal injury case for removal of 59-year-old’s kidney instead of spleen.

 

17) $2 million

Plaintiff suffered permanent injury after fall in hospital

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Name of mediator: Judge Lawrence Leonard (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Brewster S. Rawls and David A. Tierney, Richmond

Case summary: The case involved a patient who presented to the emergency department complaining of shortness of breath and leg swelling The ICU nursing staff noted that the patient had a high risk of falling.

The nurse heard a thump and noted that the patient had an unwitnessed fall. She was transported to the CT scanner and the CT scan was negative for an acute head bleed.

Throughout the night, the patient reported nausea, headache, blurred vision in her left eye, a decreased level of consciousness.

She was later sent for an emergent CT scan, which demonstrated a large left subdural hematoma. Neurosurgery was consulted and she was taken to the operating room for a decompression. Surgery was not able to reverse the damage that was done.

The life care plan estimated the expenses of care at over $2,700,000. The patient is now confined to a nursing home, where it is expected she will remain for the rest of her life.

 

19) $1.85 million

Delayed treatment alleged to have led to permanent neurological deficits

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Name of mediator: Judge B. Waugh Crigler (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: M. Bryan Slaughter and Les S. Bowers, Charlottesville

Case summary: Plaintiff presented to the hospital emergency department on Saturday afternoon with a complaint of severe pain. He was evaluated by a physician’s assistant who determined that he needed an MRI because of neurological symptoms. The MRI could not be performed because the plaintiff could not fit into the machine. On Sunday morning, a hospitalist ordered a “STAT” case management consult for the purpose of obtaining an MRI “today” at an outside facility.

Plaintiff did not receive an MRI until Monday evening. The neurosurgeon reviewed the images and confirmed a diagnosis of CES.

By the time the neurosurgeon took the plaintiff to the operating room, plaintiff had suffered permanent and irreversible injuries.

The case was litigated against the hospital for its administrative negligence in failing to act upon the STAT case management order, and against the neurosurgeon for his failure to take charge of a patient with a neurosurgical emergency. The case settled confidentially at a second mediation for $1,850,000.

 

19) $1.85 million

Wife killed, husband injured in head-on collision

Type of action: Combined wrongful death and personal injury

Attorneys for plaintiff: Matthew W. Broughton, Andrew D. Finnicum and Abby M. Broughton, Roanoke

Case summary: In May 2021, the plaintiffs, a husband and wife, were travelling home from Lynchburg to Bedford County, Virginia in the middle of the night when the defendant crossed into the oncoming lane while attempting to pass in a passing zone, crashing his vehicle head-on into the plaintiffs’ vehicle. Both vehicles were travelling 55 mph at the point of impact. The wife was transported by helicopter, but died shortly after transport. The husband was discharged to his home following emergency orthopedic surgery and obtained minimal post-surgical medical care. Both husband and wife were retired at the time of the crash. Despite the plaintiffs’ combined past specials of less than $200,000 and the existence of a third plaintiff with a traumatic brain injury claim, plaintiffs’ counsel obtained $1.85 million of the available $2 million in coverage on behalf of the husband and wife. This result was obtained through mediation less than seven months after the crash.

 

21) $1.821 million

Woman injured after defendant driver allegedly ran red light

Type of action: Auto accident

Court: Prince William County Circuit Court

Attorney for plaintiff: John D. Whittington, Manassas

Case summary: Plaintiff was driving a Jeep Patriot traveling southbound in the left turn lane at an intersection in Loudoun County. The defendant was driving a Ford F550 towing a trailer, traveling west while in the scope of his employment with a local landscaping company. The plaintiff’s left turn arrow turned green, and she began to make her turn. Defendant failed to stop at his red light and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle on the driver’s side, pushing it sideways into the vehicle traveling to her right. Police responded to the scene, noting the plaintiff was injured and charged the defendant with reckless driving. The defendant later denied that he caused the collision and stated that he had a green light when he went through the intersection. However, he pled guilty to reckless driving at the traffic hearing while being represented by counsel.

 

22) $1.815 million

Husband killed, wife injured after semi collided with stopped vehicle

Type of action: Combined wrongful death and personal injury

Attorneys for plaintiff: Matthew W. Broughton, Andrew D. Finnicum, Evans G. Edwards and Abby M. Broughton, Roanoke

Case summary: In March 2021, the plaintiffs, a husband and wife, were traveling home to Pennsylvania from their vacation along the Gulf of Mexico when they encountered heavy traffic on Interstate 81 in Roanoke County. The husband brought their vehicle to a complete stop behind a passenger bus. The defendant then drove a fully loaded tractor-trailer into the rear of the plaintiffs’ vehicle at more than 55 mph, causing a chain reaction crash involving multiple plaintiffs. The husband died instantly; the wife, despite her multiple fractures, recovered from her injuries and returned to her regular employment.

The plaintiff’s law firm was contacted while the wife was still treating in a local trauma center. Matt Broughton, a licensed truck driver and his commercial trucking team immediately investigated the case. The firm was able to obtain $1,815,000 of the available $2 million in coverage despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims by multiple other plaintiffs.

 

23) $1.8 million

Construction foreman medically disabled after suffering TBI

Type of action: Auto accident

Attorney for plaintiff: Andrew K. Thomas, Warrenton

Case summary: Plaintiff motorist was struck nearly head-on at moderate speed. Initial CT scans showed temporal bone fracture and subarachnoid hemorrhage. One year post-injury, a brain CT scan showed extensive damage to both frontal lobes resulting in profound psychiatric illness (delusions, manic behavior, paranoia). Plaintiff was a heavy construction foreman, and is medically disabled from any form of work.

This is a UM case, and coverage was notable. In addition to two personal auto policies, plaintiff had a $1 million liability umbrella that featured matching UM coverage.

 

23) $1.8 million

Man permanently injured after truck struck stopped vehicle

Type of action: Auto accident

Name of mediator: James W. Barkley

Attorneys for plaintiff: Kevin W. Mottley and Benjamin P. Kyber, Richmond

Case summary: The firm’s client was a passenger in a friend’s pickup truck that stopped for a school bus. A construction truck was rapidly approaching from behind. The company truck slammed into the back of the plaintiff’s truck at approximately 60-65 mph. At the emergency room, only the driver received attention. No medical records revealed any sort of examination of our client by anyone on the day of the crash.

Over the ensuing days, our client’s coworkers and his family noticed he was having problems focusing and that he was not acting like himself. The client went to see his primary care physician three days after the crash. She immediately diagnosed him as having suffered a concussion, otherwise known as a mild traumatic brain injury, in the crash. After a year of treatment, his medical providers felt his post-concussion syndrome was permanent.

After more than a year of litigation, the case settled several weeks before the scheduled trial for $1,800,000.

 

25)$1.65 million

15-year-old suffered complications from kidney stone removal

Type of action: Medical malpractice

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

Attorneys for plaintiff: Malcolm P. McConnell III and Derrick L. Walker, Richmond

Case summary: The plaintiff, a 15-year-old girl, was diagnosed with kidney stones in 2017. She underwent ureteroscopy for stone removal, during which she suffered an iatrogenic injury to her ureter. Attempts to repair the ureter were unsuccessful and the patient required a nephrostomy tube and multiple surgeries. Eventually, an autotransplant of the right kidney was attempted, but at the completion of that procedure, the kidney failed to perfuse and nephrectomy was required. Thus, as a result of the allegedly negligent damage to the ureter, this 15-year-old female with a propensity toward kidney stone formation was left with a single kidney. The plaintiff’s standard of care experts testified that specific decisions made during the surgery were negligent and led directly to the ureteral injury. The plaintiff’s causation expert, a pediatric nephrologist, testified that, although kidney failure was not probable, the plaintiff was at an elevated risk for kidney issues, including end-stage renal disease, over her lifetime. No significant future damages were claimed.

 

26) $1.6 million

Insulin-dependent patient died after being given wrong dosage

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Name of mediator: Judge B. Waugh Crigler (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Michael W. Lantz and W. Randolph Robins Jr., Richmond

Case summary: Plaintiff was an insulin-dependent diabetic with end stage renal disease who administered too much insulin to herself at home.

During her hospitalization, it was determined that she was extremely sensitive to insulin. Her attending physician felt that plaintiff would benefit from rehabilitation and discharged her to a health and rehabilitation center.

The attending physician dictated a very specific and detailed discharge summary noting that plaintiff could not tolerate more than four to six units of insulin at one time and that she should not get insulin at bedtime.

The on-call physician told the nurse to administer insulin pursuant to the facility’s house scale and plaintiff was administered 17 units of insulin and another six units before bedtime.

Early the next morning, plaintiff was found unresponsive due to severe hypoglycemia. Plaintiff suffered a metabolic brain injury with extensive complications.

Plaintiff was hospitalized until her death approximately 10 months after receiving excessive insulin.

 

27) $1.5 million

Independent contractor loses right hand after being electrocuted

Type of action: Workers’ compensation

Court: Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission

Name of mediator: Brooke Anne Hunter

Attorney for plaintiff: Michele S. Lewane, Richmond

Case summary: Claimant was 19 when the 40-foot ladder he was holding along with three other employees touched a power line and he was electrocuted. His right hand and half of his left foot were amputated. His left hand is extremely crippled and is basically useless.

The employer denied the claim, alleging willful misconduct and that he was an independent contractor. The case was also complicated by the fact that he is an undocumented worker and his treating physician released him to light duty of no lifting over one pound with his left hand which prevents him from getting temporary total disability benefits.

Counsel chose to put a portion of settlement funds into a professionally administered medical account, which allowed for several benefits for the claimant.

Since he had been in the hospital for months, his total past medical bills were about $347,000. Counsel negotiated with the providers to reduce their liens to approximately $95,000, which was a 74% reduction.

 

27) $1.5 million

Man died in workplace incident caused by contractor negligence

Type of action: Wrongful death

Name of mediator: Judge Pamela S. Baskervill (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Kyle McNew, Charlottesville; Brent Brown, Roanoke; Ed Fisher, Beaumont, Texas

Case summary: Plaintiff’s decedent died in a workplace incident at a paper mill. His estate filed suit alleging that his death was caused by work negligently performed by a contractor on one of the mill’s machines approximately one week prior to the incident.

The contractor filed a plea in bar alleging that the estate’s claim was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, Virginia Code § 65.2-307(A). The estate opposed on the grounds that the contractor was an “other party” against which its remedy in tort remained because, with regard to its work on the machine, the contractor was a stranger to the paper mill’s particular business of manufacturing paper products.

The matter was resolved by settlement approximately three weeks before the trial set for the plea in bar.

 

27) $1.5 million

Plaintiff treated for infection for months following surgery

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Attorney for plaintiff: Robert J. Haddad, Virginia Beach

Case summary: Plaintiff went into the hospital for a prophylactic procedure because of a genetic marker indicating she had a high probability of developing cancer. The surgery went well. Unfortunately, she was released from the hospital with worrisome vital signs. On her way back to her home state, she continued to worsen and ultimately was hospitalized with an infection and treated over the next several months. The claim in the case was that the infection was not properly diagnosed prior to her release from the hospital; had it been, she would have been successfully treated before her release.

 

30) $1.4 million

Patient required mandibular reconstruction after post-op infection

Type of action: Dental malpractice

Name of mediator: Judge Johanna M. Fitzpatrick (Ret.)

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

Case summary: Plaintiff underwent an all-on-four procedure performed by an oral surgeon working in collaboration with a general dentist. The all-on-four is a procedure in which implants are placed to support a fixed denture. Plaintiff was a 42-year-old married woman with a history of Sjogren’s Syndrome, a genetic autoimmune disorder that causes dry mouth and predisposes a patient to cavities. Plaintiff developed a post-operative infection and the implants were removed. Replacement implants were placed, but the infection was not fully controlled. As a result of the dental infection, plaintiff lost all of the implants, suffered multiple hospitalizations and required extensive treatment. Plaintiff underwent an unsuccessful anterior iliac crest bone graft reconstruction of the right mandible. Eventually, plaintiff was required to undergo mandibular reconstruction using plate/implant fibula graft and vascular skin flap. Plaintiff had significant liens for the medical care. The case was settled through mediation prior to designation of experts.

 

30) $1.4 million

81-year-old man died after heart attack allegedly misdiagnosed

Type of action: Wrongful death

Attorney for plaintiff: Stephanie E. Grana, Richmond

Case summary: Plaintiff’s decedent, an 81-year-old business owner, died after suffering a heart attack for which he sought treatment at a Virginia hospital. It was alleged that his heart attack was improperly diagnosed and that his cardiac telemetry was not properly monitored. He was survived by his wife of 30 years and his adult son.

 

32) $1.3 million

Man suffered leg amputation after motorcycle accident

Type of action: Personal injury motorcycle claim

Court: Prince William County Circuit Court

Attorney for plaintiff: Dickson Young, Fairfax

Case summary: On June 27, 2020 the plaintiff, a 21-year-old male, was traveling southbound on Jefferson Davis Highway on his motorcycle. The defendant was proceeding northbound in the left turn lane of Jefferson Davis Highway. Both the plaintiff and defendant had a green traffic signal. The defendant failed to yield the right of way to the plaintiff and entered his path, striking his motorcycle. Plaintiff was medevac’d from the scene to Fairfax Shock Trauma Unit. Prince William County accident reconstruction responded as a potential fatality and interviewed all potential witnesses on scene as to the occurrence of the crash. Plaintiff suffered leg amputation and related life-changing events.

32) $1.3 million

Plaintiff suffered permanent injuries after vehicle struck by semi

Type of action: Personal injury

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Attorneys for plaintiff: Stephen M. Smith, David B. Holt and C. Stewart Gill Jr., Hampton; Kevin Mottley and Ben Kyber, Richmond

Case summary: Plaintiff was stopped on I-64 when she was suddenly struck from behind by a tractor-trailer with such force that her vehicle had to be pried from the front fender of the tractor-trailer. The impact forced plaintiff to strike her head on the steering wheel. As a result of the crash, plaintiff suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, facial contusion with bruising and swelling, neck pain and permanent back injuries which required surgery. Plaintiff also suffers from PTSD, which requires ongoing ­psychotherapy.

 

32) $1.3 million

Teen died in gym class from a cardiac condition

Type of action: Wrongful death

Attorneys for plaintiff: Lee Livingston and Anthony Greene, Charlottesville; Robert O’Neal, Richmond

Case summary: This case involved the unexpected death of a 15-year-old high school student in Central Virginia, from a cardiac condition, while in the middle of his high school gym class. Decedent’s mother brought a claim against the School Board of the Central Virginia school district for a delay by school employees in contacting emergency medical services and in failing to provide emergent life-saving interventions.
One afternoon while playing basketball at the end of the school day in his gym class, the student collapsed and passed out in the middle of the floor.

Counsel’s investigation suggested that 911 was not called until the student stopped breathing, a delay of as much as five minutes from the time that he collapsed.
Counsel for the student’s estate made a pre-suit demand of the School Board and the case was mediated before filing a complaint, where it was resolved confidentially for $1,300,000.00.

 

35) $1.275 million

Patient’s gallbladder surgery led to bowel perforation

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Court: Newport News Circuit Court

Attorney for plaintiff: Robert J. Haddad, Virginia Beach

Case summary: Plaintiff had gallbladder surgery which resulted in a bowel perforation that led to a significant hospitalization and infection. The case was aggressively defended on the perforation being a recognized risk of the procedure that was appropriately treated with no delay.

 

35) $1.275 million

Patient died after sustaining vascular injuries during procedure

Type of action: Medical malpractice; wrongful death

Name of mediator: McCammon Mediation Group

Attorneys for plaintiff: Richard N. Shapiro and Eric K. Washburn, Virginia Beach

Case summary: Patient with serious decompensated congestive heart failure underwent a right heart catheterization and sustained vascular injuries, which led to severe bleeding, hemodynamic instability and death. She is survived by her husband and two minor children. The parties resolved the matter for $1.275 million in favor of the statutory beneficiaries with all other terms remaining confidential.

 

37) $1.263 million

Landscaper suffered major injuries in crash involving tractor-trailer

Type of action: Motor vehicle accident

Name of mediator: Judge Diane McQ. Strickland (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Anthony M. “Tony” Russell, Roanoke; Les S. Bowers, Charlottesville

Case summary: A truck driver allowed his tractor-trailer to cross the center line into the opposing lane of traffic. The tractor-trailer struck the plaintiff’s vehicle head on, causing a horrific crash. After the vehicle came to a rest, plaintiff was partially hanging outside the driver’s side door of his truck with no ability to get out because he was trapped.

Plaintiff was transported to the hospital by helicopter, where he was diagnosed with multiple traumas.

Before the collision, plaintiff was in good health working full-time as a landscaper. Though plaintiff ultimately achieved a good recovery given the extent of his injuries, his injuries will limit or preclude his ability to work in the future.

The trucking company, which had a $1 million combined single limit policy and no satisfiable assets, mediated the case pre-suit and the case was resolved for $993,265 after a daylong mediation involving the workers’ compensation carrier (which waived any lien) and four other claimants for the liability insurance.

 

38) $1.25 million

Plaintiff suffered femoral nerve injury during medical procedure

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Attorneys for plaintiff: Russell W. Updike and Jennifer K.M. Crawford, Covington; Kendall O. Clay and Ashley L. Wright, Radford

Case summary: Plaintiff, age 21, failed conservative therapy for right-sided femoral acetabular impingement and agreed to undergo a right hip arthroscopy and iliopsoas release in November 2018. Unfortunately, plaintiff suffered an injury to the femoral nerve during the procedure. Subsequent EMG studies confirmed a femoral nerve palsy. After several months with little to no recovery, plaintiff was referred to an orthopedist who specialized in nerve grafting procedures.

In July 2019, eight months after the initial surgery, the specialist performed an exploratory surgery, identified the insult to the femoral nerve and performed multiple nerve grafts over a period of hours. Initially, there was little improvement but over the past year the plaintiff has regained substantial sensation and strength in her lower extremity. She is able to walk with essentially a normal gait and has returned to an internship to become a full-time school counselor.

 

38) $1.25 million

Woman’s leg amputated after delayed infection diagnosis

Type of action: Medical malpractice

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

Attorneys for plaintiff: Lee Livingston, Charlottesville; Heather E. Zaug, Ashburn

Case summary: In her lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant, an emergency medicine physician, failed to timely recognize and respond to her necrotizing fasciitis and sepsis during her visit to the emergency department. The defendant denied the allegations.

The plaintiff presented to the emergency department with right knee pain, reporting that the pain was 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. The plaintiff’s lab studies were abnormal, revealing poor kidney function.

The defendant failed to include infection on his differential diagnosis. Instead, he diagnosed the plaintiff with knee effusion, a knee sprain and leg edema.

The plaintiff returned to the hospital via ambulance the following morning. She was diagnosed with severe sepsis, necrotizing fasciitis and septic shock. Serial debridements that were performed to attempt to salvage her limb were unsuccessful and the plaintiff had to undergo amputation of her right leg and hip joint.

The parties reached a confidential settlement in the amount of $1,250,000.

 

38) $1.25 million

Plaintiff suffered TBI, right eye blindness after crash

Type of action: Personal injury

Name of mediator: Judge Jane M. Roush (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Jeremiah A. Denton III, Virginia Beach; Bill O’Mara Jr., Norfolk

Case summary: The plaintiff was traveling along a rural highway when a large motor vehicle pulled from a stop sign. The plaintiff’s vehicle slid underneath the defendant’s vehicle, and the plaintiff had to be extracted. The plaintiff had no recollection of the accident or moments prior. The defense argued, using onboard camera footage and a witness, that the plaintiff exceeded the speed limit prior to the collision.

It was uncontested that the plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury and subarachnoid hemorrhage. The plaintiff’s claim of ongoing memory issues was strongly contested by the defense. The plaintiff also suffered an eye injury and resulting traumatic glaucoma which has caused near total blindness of the right eye. The right eye may need to be removed in the future. The plaintiff presented two life care plans. One included lifetime medication to regulate pressure in the eye, the other included costs for future eye removal.

 

41) $1.2 million

Plaintiff underwent spinal surgery after being injured in auto accident

Type of action: Personal injury

Court: Norfolk Circuit Court

Name of mediator: Judge Thomas B. Hoover (Ret.)

Attorney for plaintiff: Kevin Biniazan, Virginia Beach

Case summary: Plaintiff’s vehicle was rear-ended at the mouth of the Downtown Tunnel. Plaintiff did not seek immediate treatment after the collision.

Two days after the crash, plaintiff presented to his pain management doctor for a prescheduled appointment. At this visit, the plaintiff reported a new onset of neck pain since the collision. Approximately a week later, the plaintiff presented to the hospital for further evaluation of his neck pain. Plaintiff’s next medical appointment was with his primary care doctor, where the plaintiff complained of persistent neck pain and radiculopathy into his left ring and pinky fingers. Plaintiff was referred to a neurosurgeon that ultimately referred plaintiff for an ulnar decompression.

The parties engaged in in-person mediation with Thomas B. Hoover. The parties did not reach a settlement on the day of mediation. Hoover continued to engage with the parties to find a resolution after the failed in-person mediation. The parties reached a settlement within three weeks of their trial date.

 

41) $1.2 million

Man died after possible complications from drug

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Attorneys for plaintiff: Travis W. Markley, Richard L. Nagle, James N. Knaack and Benjamin M. Wengerd, Reston

Case summary: A 41-year-old male patient was under the care of a medical oncology practice that prescribed him the chemotherapy pharmaceutical, Capecitabine, for recently diagnosed rectal cancer.

A few days after starting the Capecitabine chemotherapy regimen, the patient experienced periodic, severe chest pains that radiated to his neck and shoulders, as well as shortness of breath.

The patient and his wife met with the oncologist and explained his symptoms and recent history. The treating oncologist nonetheless decided that the patient was suffering from mucositis and muscle tension, prescribed medications for those conditions, and sent him home.

The next morning, his wife found him unresponsive and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. An autopsy could not rule out the death as having been precipitated by the chemotherapy regimen prescribed by the oncologist.

The case settled several days prior to the deposition of the first defense expert.

 

43) $1.153 million

Minor passenger killed after vehicle was rear-ended by semi

Type of action: Personal injury, wrongful death

Attorneys for plaintiff: Kelly B. Martin and Eric Speer, Richmond

Case summary: The plaintiffs were stopped on a Virginia interstate when they were rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer struck several other vehicles. The mother sustained a broken neck that required two surgeries. The adult son, who was driving, had soft tissue injuries. The minor son was killed in the collision and was survived by his parents and several siblings.

The driver was a solo owner-operator who had a $1 million single limit liability policy for bodily injury and property damage.

Shortly after the crash, the plaintiffs filed suit against the driver and a second company that the plaintiffs alleged was the driver’s principal. A global mediation was held with the tractor trailer driver’s carrier whereby the plaintiffs received 80% of the available coverage.

As there were concerns about the availability of insurance coverage for the second defendant, the plaintiffs settled with the alleged principal for an additional $300,000.

 

44) $1.05 million

Overgrown vegetation obstructed cyclist’s view, leading to collision

Type of action: Personal injury

Court: Virginia Beach Circuit Court

Attorney for plaintiff: Kevin Biniazan, Virginia Beach

Case summary: Plaintiff was riding his bicycle on a shared-use path along Dam Neck Road where he attempted to cross the roadway in a marked crosswalk and was struck by a vehicle operated by the defendant. Plaintiff testified he was looking for oncoming traffic to his left but that overgrown vegetation on the side of the shared-use path obstructed his view of oncoming traffic until he was in the crosswalk.

The plaintiff was transported to the hospital where he was treated for injuries to his leg.

Plaintiff and the defendant driver agreed to a settlement and covenant not to sue for her policy limits of $50,000, and then resolved his claim against his UIM carrier for an additional $50,000.

Plaintiff’s action continued against the City of Virginia Beach under theories of negligent maintenance of the shared-use path and adjacent vegetation obstructing plaintiff’s sight line of the defendant’s oncoming vehicle.

Plaintiff and the City of Virginia Beach settled for $950,000 weeks before trial.

 

44) $1.05 million

Baby sustained permanent arm injury during birth

Type of action: Medical malpractice, birth injury

Attorneys for plaintiff: Charles J. Zauzig and Melissa G. Ray, Woodbridge

Case summary: During delivery, a shoulder dystocia was encountered where plaintiff’s shoulder got stuck behind her mother’s pubic bone. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant OB/GYN violated the standard of care during delivery by applying lateral traction to the baby’s head while the baby’s shoulder was still stuck. As a result, plaintiff alleged that her entire brachial plexus was permanently injured, including an avulsion at C7. Plaintiff has limited range of motion and function in her injured arm.

The defendants argued it was the maternal forces of labor that caused plaintiff’s injuries.

 

46) $1.002 million

Child dies after anesthetic at dentist’s visit

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Name of mediator: Judge Diane McQ. Strickland (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: T. Daniel Frith III and Thomas “Bo” Frith IV, Roanoke; David R. Tiller and Linda Tiller, Lebanon

Case summary: Plaintiff’s decedent was a 2-year-old boy who received dental care from defendant dentist and defendant anesthesiologist.

 

The child exhibited wheezing during the administration of anesthesia. As the child began to wake from anesthesia, he experienced significant oxygen desaturation and his breathing became compromised. Defendant anesthesiologist refused to intubate the child multiple times, despite recommendations from the dentist and EMTs.

Upon arrival to the emergency department at a local hospital, the child was promptly and successfully intubated and stabilized.

The child’s condition continued to worsen and was pronounced brain dead four days after the procedure.

The allegations against the dentist alleged a failure to obtain informed consent and failure to promptly call for emergency services when the decedent’s oxygen saturations dropped to dangerous levels. The case against the anesthesiologist asserted lack of informed consent, failure to timely intubate and failure to promptly call for emergency services.

Judge Diane Strickland successfully mediated the case after the disclosure of plaintiff’s experts.

 

47) $1 million

Woman suffered skull fractures after being struck in crosswalk

Type of action: Personal injury

Attorney for plaintiff: Joseph A. Blaszkow, Alexandria

Case summary: A 58-year-old homemaker was walking from her condo to a CVS drug store in Arlington to obtain some medical supplies for her husband. She was attempting to cross a street in a marked crosswalk when she was struck by an automobile that was proceeding into the intersection.

The woman was knocked to the ground, striking her head and losing consciousness. She had to have an emergency craniotomy to evacuate multiple hematomas. She was also diagnosed with fractures of the left temporal bone, left parietal bone, a non-displaced fracture of the mastoid roof, a base of skull fracture, left periorbital edema, traumatic rupture of ear drum, 1st rib fracture, a displaced 2nd cervical vertebral fracture and related soft-tissue injuries and abrasions. Neurologic and cognitive issues included communication deficits, amnesia, photosensitivity, balance issues, memory issues, fatigue, impaired visual acuity, vertigo, anxiety/depression, hearing loss and loss of taste and smell.

 

47) $1 million

Elderly man killed after being struck by commercial vehicle

Type of action: Personal injury

Attorney for plaintiff: Adam H. Lotkin, Norfolk

Case summary: Plaintiff was an elderly retired Virginia Tidewater resident out for his daily walk close by his house. As he crossed a busy street in a marked crosswalk, in broad daylight and while pushing his shopping basket, he was struck by a commercial vehicle.

The defendant vehicle had numerous cameras to document the incident. Further present were many eyewitnesses who watched the incident unfold. The deceased was crushed by the vehicle, causing his untimely death. He left behind a wife, eight children and stepchildren and multiple grandchildren. The case settled for $1 million after pre-filing negotiations took place before suit was to be filed.

 

47) $1 million

Motorist suffered TBI after driver crashed into back of car

Type of action: Personal injury

Court: Williamsburg/James City County Circuit Court

Attorneys for plaintiff: Stephen M. Smith, David B. Holt and C. Stewart Gill Jr., Hampton; C. Jerry Franklin, Williamsburg

Case summary: Plaintiff was waiting to make a left turn into a restaurant on 2nd Street in Williamsburg, Virginia. Defendant crashed into the back of plaintiff resulting in a traumatic brain injury, PTSD and neck and back injuries. Plaintiff was a waiter at a local tavern.

 

47) $1 million

Man crushed in accident while addressing disabled vehicle

Type of action: Personal injury

Court: Virginia Beach Circuit Court

Name of mediator: Judge Thomas Shadrick (Ret.)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Griffin O’Hanlon and Bill O’Mara Jr., Norfolk; John Rasmussen, Richmond

Case summary: Employer requested that the plaintiff assist in delivering a work van with mechanical issues to a nearby salvage yard. The plaintiff drove the work van while the employer drove a separate vehicle to give the plaintiff a ride back. While stopped at a red light, the work van stalled. The plaintiff and his employer decided to tow the disabled van out of the roadway, so the employer grabbed tow straps from his vehicle. While the plaintiff was attaching the tow straps, the defendant collided with the rear of the disabled vehicle, crushing the plaintiff underneath. The plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury and was unable to work for an extended period of time.

Coverage counsel for the plaintiff successfully argued at mediation that while the plaintiff never occupied the employer’s vehicle, the underinsured motorist coverage was available to the plaintiff because the employer’s vehicle was part of the “shared mission” in accompanying the work van to the salvage yard.

 

47) $1 million

Catheter removal allegedly caused stroke, death of 80-year-old

Type of action: Wrongful death; medical malpractice

Attorneys for plaintiff: Gary B. Mims and Benjamin C. Charlton, Fairfax

Case summary: Decedent, an 80-year-old woman, was taken to the hospital with complaints of shortness of breath. She was admitted for observation because of co-morbidities. A triple-lumen catheter was placed and positioning was verified. Subsequent chest x-ray showed the catheter was in the left internal carotid artery. Upon removal of the catheter, a clot was released and stroke ensued. tPA was administered, which resulted in hemorrhagic stroke and death.