Monday, November 17, 2008

Top Interest Cases In Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois For 2008

Say what you want about Kentucky family trees, but when it comes to civil law, Kentucky juries understand what to do. A jury awarded $2.5 million to a Kentucky teenager who was severely beaten by members of a Ku Klux Klan group. The Defendants apparently mistakenly thought the victim was an illegal Latino immigrant. The plaintiff, Jordan Gruver, then 16, was mistakenly targeted and beaten by the defendants. Specifically, the civil jury found that the Imperial Klans of America and its founder wrongfully beat 16-year-old Jordan Gruver. Gruver is an American citizen of Panamanian and is of Native-American descent. $1.5 million was for compensatory damages. $1 million was for punitive damages against "Imperial Wizard" Ron Edwards.

This verdict, if it stands on appeal, could break the Klan group, allowing the teen and the law center to seize the group's assets. The Imperial Klans of America is apparently the owner of a headquarters on a 15-acre compound in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. The Plaintiff was represented by SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) founder and chief trial attorney Morris Dees. The suit was tried against the Imperial Klans of America and two of its leaders, Ron Edwards and "Grant Titan" Jarred R. Hensley. The jury deliberated for five hours after three days of testimony. As a result of the attack, Gruver suffered a broken jaw, broken left forearm, two cracked ribs and some cuts and bruises. He may have some nerve damage and some psychological trauma. "The people of Meade County, Kentucky, have spoken loudly and clearly. And what they've said is that ethnic violence has no place in our society, that those who promote hate and violence will be held accountable and made to pay a steep price," Dees said.

In Indiana, Peggy Sue White's surviving Spouse, David White brought a wrongful death law suit against Dr. Dennis Cavanaugh and Pathology Associates. Peggy White, a known asthmatic, was a 52 year old woman who went into Pathology Associates for an elective stress test. The Terre Haute Medical Lab technician took her medical history. Dr. Cavanaugh then underwent an adenosine stress test. Approximately three minutes into the test the Mrs. White developed extreme shortness of breath and shortly there after, died. Plaintiff's alleged that the Physician's Desk Reference says that adenosine is strictly contraindicated in patients with known or suspected asthma. The matter was submitted to a medical review panel which unanimously found that both Dennis Cavanaugh and Pathology Associates failed to meet the requisite standard of care and that as a result Peggy Sue White died. After a five day trial involving 11 expert witnesses, the jury returned a defendant's verdict for both Dr. Cavanaugh and Pathology Associates. Plaintiff was represented by Michael Miller of Indianapolis and both defendants were represented by Scott M. Kyrouac of Terre Haute. The Plaintiff's estate filed a motion to correct errors which was denied.

Also in Indiana, Roger Vuckovich, age 45, went to the ER where he was diagnosed with Kidney stones. He was discharged from the ER. He wnt home to bed and died from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. His surviving spouse, Cynthia, was critical of Dr. Sareen, Dr. El-Naggar and the staff of St. Catherine Hospital for failing to properly diagnosis her husband. The medical review panel unanimously concluded that Dr. El-Naggar, Dr. Sareen, and the hospital did not breach the standard of care. Plaintiff proceeded to trial against Dr. Sareen. Dr. Sareen denied that he was negligent and that a CT scan in the ER was necessary. The jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiff and against the defendant, Dr. Sareen, in the amount of $4,450,000. The parties stipulated to a remittitur down to $1,250,000 which was the applicable statutory cap. Plaintiff was represented by Barry D. Rooth and Holly S.C. Wojcik. Defendant was represented by John M. McCrum and Kirk D. Bagrowski.

In Illinois, a judge recently denied a motion by attorneys for the Catholic Diocese of Belleville to set aside a $5 million civil jury verdict against the church for damages suffered by a former altar boy. St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto issued his one-sentence order that may trigger an appeal. St. Louis attorney David Wells represents the diocese. Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton will make the final decision on an appeal. He could not be reached.
On Aug. 27, after an 8 day trial, a jury awarded James Wisniewski, 47, of Champaign, $5 million in damages and medical costs. Wisniewki alleged that the Rev. Raymond Kownacki sexually abused him for five years beginning when he was a 13 year old altar boy at St. Theresa's Church in Salem. Kownacki, 73, of Dupo, does not wish to comment. He remains a priest and receives retirement pay but cannot wear a priestly collar or perform any church duties.
Belleville attorneys Mike Weilmuenster and Steve Wigginton presented diocesan documents obtained during discovery that allegedly showed that former Belleville Bishop James Keleher and others knew that Kownacki was a child rapist. Nevertheless, he was apparently repeatedly reassigned to unsuspecting parishes. The Illinois Supreme Court refused to stop the trial on grounds that the lawsuit was barred by statute of limitations and other legal time limits. The damages include $2.4 million for compensatory damages including medical costs and $2.6 million in punitive damages.


Old Timer said...

Great coverage. These were all really big cases in these three states.

Old Timer.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the defense verdict in Indiana was a rose sandwiched between thorns!

Holly P.

Anonymous said...

What a selection of cases. The lawyer in me really enjoyed these!

How could that White case have been lost? Must have done a heck of a job lawyering in that case.

delores said...

Catholic priest deserved a lot worse then the diocese having to pay money, in my opinion!


Not Hating said...

I can't get over the beating! The KKK needs to be put out of its misery for good with a few more such verdicts.

Not Hating

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the real lawyer stuff like this that you give us now and then.

Anonymous said...

Who ever said justice was blind?

Anonymous said...

Well its blind in that if this priest is guilty he ought to be in jail.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the K.K.K. take it on the chin.

Anonymous said...

Will you select a top case for Ohio too?

Joe the Plumber said...

All of these serious cases reminds me of what deep do do we are in under the Obama plan. Consider:

Barack Obama discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Joe the Plumber to
come and fix it.

Joe drives to Obama's house, which is located in a very nice neighborhood
and where it's clear that all the residents make more than $250,000 per year.

Joe arrives and takes his tools into the house. Joe is led to the room that
contains the leaky pipe under a sink. Joe assesses the problem and tells
Obama, who is standing near the door, that it's an easy repair that will
take less than 10 minutes.

Obama asks Joe how much it will cost. Joe immediately says, "$9,500."

"$9,500?" Obama asks, stunned. "But you said it's an easy repair!"

"Yes, but what I do is charge a lot more to my clients who make more than
$250,000 per year so I can fix the plumbing of everybody who makes less than
that for free," explains Joe. "It's always been my philosophy. As a matter
of fact, I lobbied government to pass this philosophy as law, and it did
pass earlier this year, so now /all/ plumbers have to do business this way.
It's known as 'Joe's Fair Plumbing Act of 2008.' Surprised you haven't heard
of it, senator."

In spite of that, Obama tells Joe there's no way he's paying that much for a
small plumbing repair, so Joe leaves. Obama spends the next hour flipping
through the phone book looking for another plumber, but he finds that all
other plumbing businesses listed have gone out of business. Not wanting to
pay Joe's price, Obama does nothing. The leak under Obama's sink goes
unrepaired for the next several days.

A week later the leak is so bad that Obama has had to put a bucket under the
sink. The bucket fills up quickly and has to be emptied every hour, and
there's a risk that the room will flood, so Obama calls Joe and pleads with
him to return. Joe goes back to Obama's house, looks at the leaky pipe, and
says "Let's see - this will cost you about $21,000."

"A few days ago you told me it would cost $9,500!" Obama quickly fires back.

Joe explains the reason for the dramatic increase. "Well, because of
the 'Joe's Fair Plumbing Act,' a lot of rich people are learning how to fix
their own plumbing, so there are fewer of you paying for all the free
plumbing I'm doing for the people who make less than $250,000. As a result,
the rate I have to charge my wealthy paying customers rises every day.

"Not only that, but for some reason the demand for plumbing work from the
group of people who get it for free has skyrocketed, and there's a long
waiting list of those who need repairs. This has put a lot of my fellow
plumbers out of business, and they're not being replaced - nobody is going
into the plumbing business because they know they won't make any money. I'm
hurting now too - all thanks to greedy rich people like you who won't pay
their fair share."

Obama tries to straighten out the plumber: "Of course you're hurting, Joe!
Don't you get it? If all the rich people learn how to fix their own plumbing
and you refuse to charge the poorer people for your services, you'll be
broke, and then what will you do?"

Joe immediately replies, "Run for president, apparently."

Anonymous said...

Obama- Plumber story is longer than the article!

Anonymous said...

Nice summary of some big cases.

dollar bill said...

I rank em as the Illinois case number 1. The Defendant's verdict in Indiana #2 and the Kentucky verdict #3. Still waiting for Ohio nominee.

Dollar Bill

Obama Mama said...

That Joe the Plumber story is awesome, and so true about Obama's spread the wealth philosophy. It's amazing people don't see through idealistic socialism ideas like that. They don't work any better than the plumbing laws!

Those cases were ok, but I can't believe the doctor that killed the asthmatic got off! That defense lawyer must be brilliant in that case!

Anonymous said...

I rank the Indiana defense verdict as number one. Mike Miller is probably the top plaintiff medical malpractice lawyer in the state. He had a 3-0 panel decision against each defendant. The defense attorney was up against a solid wall and brick by brick he crumbled each obstacle into sand stone. After the defense attorney got a defendant's verdict, Miller wrote a motion to correct errors that emphasized just how shocking it was that Kyrouac obtained a defendant's verdict. Then the defense attorney filed a show stopping response which prevented the reversal of the defendant's verdicts. Game over.

Anonymous said...

The Indiana defense lawyer is pretty good. In fact, he was selected as defense lawyer of the year for the state of Indiana.

Legal Eagle 7 said...

Question to forum: How much money is spent on a typical malpractice trail by both sides?

Legal Eagle 7: Malpractice cases are expensive. On average, the defense may spend $50,000 trying a substatial case.

Plaintiffs typically spend between $25,000 to $35,000 on a case.

Anonymous said...

That White case was a big win for the defense!The defense attorney did a heck of a job.