Thomas Law Offices has successfully represented clients across the country in a wide range of wrongful death and personal injury cases achieving top verdicts and settlements.
Negligent Security/Club Ownership – $19.3 Million
David Barber, working with his wife, attorney Elizabeth Barber, recently won a verdict of $19.35 million for the Estate of a man stabbed to death at an Elks club in western Kentucky. Trial testimony showed that the Elks repeatedly chose not to discipline or terminate a bartender/member who assaulted and threatened others over several months. The bar manager testified that the Elks instructed her to “sweep it under the rug” when she told club leaders about her concerns, which included a fight at the club one month before the stabbing. The club also chose to have no safety program or alcohol cutoff procedures.
Witnesses said that the off-duty bartender came into the Elks club in April, 2017, and was obviously intoxicated and belligerent. He verbally abused and/or threatened others for over an hour and a half. The bar manager testified that both she and the female bartender on duty were afraid to ask him to leave, and that an Elks officer declined their request to help them. Testimony showed that the Elks discouraged its bartenders from calling the police for help in such situations. The off-duty Elks bartender ultimately stabbed Grant Beckner to death in an outside area at the Elks which was so dark that onlookers could not see what was happening. An Elks corporate witness admitted that a local ordinance required sufficient outdoor lighting to make the Elks property safe. Beckner died before he arrived at a hospital.
The $19.35M verdict included Beckner’s lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and punitive damages against the Elks. According to a post-trial filing by the Elks, the verdict included the 12th highest punitive damage award in Kentucky this century.
Railroad Car Explosion – $18 Million
Tad Thomas, serving as local counsel for Clifford Law Offices of Chicago, recently settled a lawsuit against several parties involved in a train derailment that took place in 2013. Plaintiffs Leonard Carrillo and Gregory Powers were severely burned in flash fires that occurred during a train derailment cleanup. A derailed train car spilled butadiene, a chemical used in synthetic rubber production. The plaintiffs were instructed to use a cutting torch in order to separate two train cars. A worker for one of the defendants inspected the area and gave the plaintiffs a thumbs up to separate the train cars, failing to notice a chemical leak. One of the train cars was carrying the hazardous chemical butadiene and instantly started two flash fires.
Both men were severely burned. Carrillo suffered second and third degree burns to 80% of his body, and a shoulder injury that inhibits him from performing most manual labor. Powers also had second and third degree burns on 50% of his body and suffers from neuropathy in his hands. The case was mediated several times before reaching a settlement on December 12, 2016 for $18.5 million.
Consumer Protection Settlement – Risperdal – $15.5 Million
On December 22, 2015, a Circuit Court Judge in Louisville, Kentucky, entered an Agreed Judgment and Consent Decree between the Office of the Kentucky Attorney General and Janssen Pharmaceuticals resolving the litigation between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the maker of the drug. (Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Janssen et. al. 13-CI-002488, Jefferson County Circuit Court Division 3). Thomas Law Offices served as co-counsel to the Office of the Attorney General in representing the Commonwealth. To resolve the claims, Janssen will be making a payment to the Commonwealth of $15.5 million and has agreed to cease its promotion of Risperdal for non-FDA approved uses. In addition, the company has agreed to adequately disclose known risks associated with the use of the drug. For more information see our blog entry here.
Wrongful Death Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Verdict – $5 Million
A $5M verdict against a nursing home in Paducah, Kentucky was reached in January 2020 for the wrongful death of Regina Tallent. Tallent, 84, was a resident at the nursing home, where they failed to implement a medically required mechanical soft diet. Because of a number of medical conditions, Tallent was susceptible to choking. She suffered two choking incidents within the same month. Only two months later, she suffered a third incident – that one being fatal. Tallent’s family brought a lawsuit against the facility for failing to provide proper care and an appropriate diet. A unanimous decision by the jury awarded the family $1,000,000 in pain and suffering damages and $4,000,000 in punitive damages.
Fiery Car Crash – Wrongful Death – Loss of Parental Consortium – $3.65 Million Settlement
On Christmas Eve, 2018 Louisville Metro Police Officer Deidre Mengedoht died in a fiery three-vehicle collision during a traffic stop on the side of I-64 in downtown Louisville, Kentucky when her police car was struck from behind by a sewage tanker truck. She survived the initial impact and may have been conscious as smoke and flames consumed the vehicle. Roger Burdette, an employee of Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District, was the truck’s driver. He tested positive post-collision for two non-prescribed controlled substances and is currently under indictment for murder and other related criminal charges. It was suspected Mr. Burdette was distracted by his cell phone at the time of the collision. Ofcr. Mengedoht left behind a minor child on whose behalf a loss of parental consortium claim was asserted. The decedent’s estate pursued a separate set of claims for survivorship and wrongful death. A third set of claims for personal injuries were asserted by the four occupants of the third vehicle involved in the initial traffic stop.
Direct claims were asserted by all plaintiffs against the driver for negligent operation of the vehicle and violation of traffic statutes, and against L&JCMSD for negligent training and supervision as well as vicarious liability as the employer. Punitive damages were also claimed, however, the employer asserted governmental immunity under the Claims Against Local Governments Act. Due to pending criminal charges, Burdette successfully sought a stay of discovery under the privileges afforded by the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Kentucky Constitution. Discovery proceeded against L&JCMSD. Multiple motions were filed by the plaintiffs seeking to obtain the criminal prosecutor’s file which was available to Burdette, but not available to the general public or press under rules of criminal procedure. Due to the high-profile nature of the case, significant media interest resulted.
The matter was mediated for fourteen hours on a Saturday with the loss of parental consortium claim yielding a $3.65 million settlement, on par with some of the largest jury verdicts ever obtained for such a claim in Kentucky.
Child Sexual Abuse by Police Officers – $3.65 Million Settlement
The Louisville Metro Police Department’s Explorer’s Program was intended to be a program that allowed teens to learn what it was like to be a police officer. Unfortunately, for some of the participants, the program became a way for police officers to identify youth for sexual exploitation. Thomas Law Offices and Tad Thomas represented seven victims of the Explorer program against officers involved and the City of Louisville. See Tad Thomas interviewed here.
Nursing Home Negligence Verdict for Wrongful Discharge – $2.2 Million
In 2014, an elderly woman suffering from dementia entered into the Superior Care Home nursing home in Paducah, KY. The home’s new memory care facility believed they could help. While living there, however, the resident did not receive proper care and was kicked out without adequate justification. Less than one month later she died. The nursing home’s negligence was believed to be a contributing factor in her death. After her passing, surviving family members filed a lawsuit to hold the facility accountable for their negligence. Jurors ordered Superior Care Home to pay over $2 million in damages, including $580,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $1,625,000 in punitive damages.
Wrongful Death Semi-Truck Accident – $1.75 Million
On December 24, 2016, a married couple was headed to Des Moines, Iowa to visit their adult son for Christmas. It was a foggy day, so they were driving carefully along a two-lane highway, when, suddenly, a semi-truck hit them head on, traveling approximately 50 mph on the wrong side of the highway. Tragically, the wife was killed instantly and the husband was severely injured. Thomas Law Offices pursued claims against the driver, the trucking company, and the broker who hired the trucking company. It was discovered during litigation that the driver had been driving for less than three months and had received only 36 hours of training, the truck company had been in business only four months, and the broker had done little to nothing to vet the truck company. The case resulted in settlements from all parties for $1.75 million.
College Campus Sexual Assault – $400,000
Thomas Law Offices obtained over $400,000 for a victim of sexual assault at a fraternity house. The victim had been drinking with friends at a fraternity party when she was sexually assaulted by a fraternity member who took advantage of the victim when she passed out at the house. The perpetrator videoed the assault and shared the video with his friends and it quickly spread through the campus community. The fraternity had already been warned about excessively serving alcohol at its parties and was supposed to have had procedures in place to protect guests.
Title IX Sexual Assault Settlement – $300,000
Thomas Law Offices obtained a $300,000 settlement on behalf of a sexual assault victim against Murray State University. The victim asserted MSU failed to reasonably respond to her complaints after she reported the sexual assault, resulting in her withdrawing from MSU because she no longer felt safe.
Hospital Negligence Verdict – $134,000
At age 78 a gentleman with back pain was admitted to the hospital for several nights. The hospital’s policies and procedures required that any admitted patient be evaluated to determine whether or not they were at risk of falling. Once assessed, it was determined that the Plaintiff was a high fall risk and required the placement of a bed alarm which warns staff when a patient is trying to get out of bed. The night before he was scheduled to be discharged the Plaintiff fell at 4:50 a.m. and broke his hip. The hospital defended the case arguing that the patient had disabled the bed alarm himself and even admitted as much to his doctor. However, at trial it was proven that this statement was unreliable because it was made while the patient was under the influence of pain medications and that it was impossible for the alarm to be disabled if it was properly installed. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for $134,000 including medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Wrongful Death Trucking Accident – Confidential Settlement
A 32-year old software developer was on his way home from work on a March afternoon in northern Kentucky. As he crossed the bridge into Ohio, traffic was slowing due to accidents farther up the bridge. Our client also slowed, but, tragically, a commercial tow truck towing a semi-truck did not. The tow truck plowed into our client at approximately 55 m.p.h., colliding with the side of his car and pushing him over the side of the bridge into the Ohio River where he perished. Mr. Thomas was hired by the man’s family to pursue the trucking company for the loss of their son. Over the course of litigation, Mr. Thomas discovered that the trucking company provided little to no training for its tow truck drivers and that the defendant driver was woefully inexperienced. The case resulted in a confidential settlement with the trucking company days before trial.
Serious Car Accident – Confidential Settlement
A salesman was traveling the roads of Bullitt County, Kentucky when an oncoming car crossed the centerline hitting him virtually head-on. Suffering two herniated discs in his neck and nerve damage, the Plaintiff was forced to undergo a difficult surgery to relieve his pain. Mr. Thomas was hired to pursue compensation for his client’s pain, suffering, and lost income. After settling for the policy limits of the opposing driver, Mr. Thomas filed suit in federal court against the Plaintiff’s own insurance company whose policy contained “underinsured coverage.” After some litigation the case was resolved at mediation in a confidential settlement.
A couple out on their Harley for a summer’s drive were shocked when a car turned directly in front of them. Both suffered broken bones and were off work for several weeks after they collided with the car and were thrown from the bike. The couple hired Mr. Thomas to pursue compensation for their injuries and their lost wages. Early in the case Mr. Thomas was able to help arrange for insurance to pay for many of their medical bills and recover some of their lost wages. After filing suit the case was settled against both the opposing driver’s insurance as well as the couple’s own policy which had “underinsured motorists coverage.”
Negligent Highway Design and Maintenance
On her way to sell her motorcycle a young lady was killed while changing lanes on the Gene Snyder Freeway in Louisville, Kentucky. Because the road had settled unevenly there was a break in the pavement between the fast and slow lanes. In some places the fast lane was three to six inches higher than the slow lane. Mr. Thomas was hired to represent the motorcyclist’s estate after she was killed attempting to change lanes. A claim was filed on behalf of the estate against the Commonwealth of Kentucky which settled for the $200,000 maximum under state law.
Dump Truck v. Pedestrian – Confidential Settlement
A young child was riding her bike in west Louisville when she started to cross the street. The driver of a dump truck turned into her path despite the fact he had a red light. The young girl was seriously injured when the wheels of the truck ran over her pelvic area. After months of recovery the insurance carrier for the company settled the case. Because the Plaintiff was a young child Mr. Thomas was able to work with Forge Consulting, an expert in structured settlements, to spread the payments out over time and earn money for the young girl. She will now have the money to pay for her own college.
Only a few blocks away from his home, a high school senior suffered severe injuries in a head-on collision when the opposing vehicle crossed the centerline. As a result of his injuries, he lost an entire year of sports and a substantial amount of school. Mr. Thomas was again able to secure a confidential settlement which will make payments to the young man at the same time bills for college tuition are due and another lump sum near the time of his graduation.
In July of 2007, two employees of a contractor were working at a lead battery plant in Richmond, Kentucky when they were exposed to large doses of toxic lead particulate which is used in the battery manufacturing process. In the 1970s the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”) estimated that more that 1 million workers were occupationally exposed to lead and that some of the highest exposures come from lead battery operations. It has long been known that over-exposure to lead can cause accumulation in the body, which can result in high blood lead levels. This hazardous condition, diagnosed by blood testing, may cause permanent damage to an individual’s nervous, renal, reproductive and cardiovascular systems and may even cause death. Individuals with lead poisoning may see symptoms such as:
- loss of appetite
- a metallic taste in their mouth
- muscle and joint pains
Both of Mr. Thomas’ clients claimed in their suit that they suffered severe adverse health affects as a result of this exposure which left them permanently disabled and unable to work. They also claimed that their exposure was partially the result of the failure of their employer and the battery manufacturing plant to train them properly as required by OSHA. Because lead is inherently ultra-hazardous in nature it is specifically covered under federal Occupational and Safety and Health laws. 29 CFR § 1910.1025. In 1979 NIOSH expanded the code to provide for medical monitoring, record keeping, employee education and training, medical removal protection, hygiene facilities and practices, respiratory protection, protective clothing and equipment.
The workers filed suit in 2008, but after two years of little activity to move the case forward, Mr. Thomas was asked to join the suit in 2010. Once involved, he aggressively litigated the case for less than a year and resolved the matter in a confidential settlement.
Airline Crash – Confidential Settlement
On August 27, 2006, Comair Flight 5191 crashed in Lexington, Kentucky taking the lives of 47 passengers and two crew members. The aircraft was given permission to taxi and take off from the only runway open to commercial jets. Unfortunately, the pilots attempted to take off from a second, unlit runway intended for only small, general aviation aircraft. The runway was too short for the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet and the pilots were unable to get the jet airborne before it crashed into a tree line just past the airfield. Tad Thomas was hired to represent the estate of a young lady killed in the crash while on her way to get married. This case resulted in a confidential settlement with the airline.
Accounting and Auditing Malpractice – Confidential Settlement
Most anyone would know that the CEO of a business should not use the company’s money for personal purchases without permission. Unfortunately, a small, rapidly growing company suffered at the hands of a CEO who chose to pay for his daily living with the company’s credit card. The card was used to pay for trips and flowers for his girlfriend and even day care for his pets. Tad Thomas was hired by this Fast 50 company to file suit against the accounting and auditing firms who failed to detect and prevent this malfeasance. The company was able to recover a substantial portion of its losses in a confidential settlement with the accounting firms.
Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse – Pressure Wound – Confidential Settlement
A man in his thirties, who had recently suffered catastrophic injuries rendering him paraplegic, entered a nursing home in southern Kentucky. When the man was admitted to the nursing home, he was already suffering from a small pressure sore on his lower back and was completely unable to control his bowel movements or turn and reposition himself. Despite knowing the condition of the man, the nursing home failed to care for his wounds, allowed a separate stage four pressure sore to develop, and failed to change his bandages. The man subsequently developed an E-coli infection as a result of the nursing home’s failure to properly care for his wounds. The care was so poor at the nursing home that the man was worried he would die in their care and called his family to remove him from the nursing home. After taking the case, Mr. Thomas discovered that, along with failing to care for its patients, the nursing home improperly charted the medical records of its patients and lied to the federal government in its Medicare and Medicaid reports. After early stages in the litigation process, the case was settled in a confidential agreement.
*Disclaimer: We are proud of the results we have obtained over the years for our clients. But, it is important to note that the facts of every case are different and your case may or may not result in the same outcome of any other particular case. Factors such as changes in law, location of your case, the effectiveness of witnesses and many other factors may positively or negatively affect your case.