I was local counsel for employees of a North Missouri plant. Referred to as a “donning and doffing” claim, the employees were required to spend time before and after their shifts preparing for work without pay, which is illegal under Federal law. After several years of litigation, the plant settled with the class for $4,500,000.00.
My client was charged with Murder in the 1st Degree and Armed Criminal Action as a result of a shooting in rural Scotland County, Missouri. Many of the facts were undisputed, with my client acknowledging that he shot the individual multiple times. After a three day trial and four hours of deliberation, my client was acquitted of Murder 1st, Murder 2nd, and Involuntary Manslaughter 1st, being convicted of only a Class D Felony of Involuntary Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree and the Armed Criminal Action Charge. This was an exceptional victory and relief for my client who was only 22 years old at the time.
Wrongful death comes under the umbrella term of personal injury. When the act of someone else results in death, Missouri Statute RSMo. 537.080 allows certain relatives to file a lawsuit. If the defendant is determined to be liable for the death, the judge or jury may award such damages for the wrongful death as they “may deem fair and just for the death and loss thus occasioned, having regard to the pecuniary losses suffered by reason of the death, funeral expenses, and the reasonable value of the services, consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support of which those on whose behalf suit may be brought have been deprived by reason of such death.”
The Court actually awarded this judgment following a Motion to Enforce Judgment we filed along with a Motion for Sanctions. This case is a reminder to anyone who hunts or owns a gun that any mistake with a weapon is always serious and has the potential to be fatal. My client in this case was merely turkey hunting when another hunter on an adjoining piece of property shot him because he “thought he was a turkey.”
Two Sheriff’s Deputies accused my client of trying to kill them by allegedly grabbing one of the deputy’s service pistol and “attempting to dislodge it from the holster in order to shoot them.” The two (2) felonies were Class A Felony charges, carrying a range of punishment of up to 30 years or life in prison on each charge, a grim outlook for a 26 year old man with a fiancé and a six week old baby at the time of trial. Unwilling to accept any plea offer, my client wanted a jury trial. After two days of jury trial and having heard 15 witnesses testify for the State and for my client, the jury acquitted my client of the felonies. He went home to his family that night, and ultimately received misdemeanor probation.
My client was charged with these two counts and was facing life in prison. Notably the complaining witness made similar allegations against another individual a year earlier, and I was able to bring that evidence in under a recent appellate case ruling. After cross-examination of her concerning this and inconsistencies in her story, my client was acquitted. Because the only punishment was a prison term, the Court ordered the State of Missouri to pay my client thousands of dollars in court and deposition costs. The Missouri Attorney General's office prosecuted this case.
My client was bitten by a neighbor’s dog. According to my client’s statements, the dog’s owner failed to maintain the dog as required by the city ordinance in the town where this occurred. Though not one of the more significant settlements I have reached for a client, it was very significant for the fact that the actual medical bills were only $800.00.
This was my first jury trial, and it was over about $4,000.00. I represented a company that owned a truck that was insured by the partner that drove the truck. The partner was driving down the highway during a storm when a power line pole fell across the truck. The insurance company offered to pay $4,000.00 to settle the claim originally, then decided that it would not for various reasons, claiming my client was trying to pull one on them by insuring the vehicle under a different name than the owner. In pursuing this case, we sued for “vexatious refusal” damages – essentially punitive damages against an insured’s insurance company – for the damage to the truck, and for attorney fees. The jury awarded my client close to $9,000.00, finding that the insurance company had wrongfully denied the claim without a justifiable reason. My client would have settled for less than the original offer.
The State had alleged that my client had ridden to another individual’s house, got out of the car, and damaged one of the vehicles sitting on the property. He was charged with destruction of property and trespassing. The State actually dismissed one of these charges before trial and tried to prove my client was an accomplice on the other charge, and therefore should be convicted. The jury acquitted him after an hour of deliberation.
A trooper stopped my client on his motorcycle as a result of speeding. He then asked my client to consent to a search of the saddle bags, finding various narcotics and contraband as a result. After having a hearing on the motion to suppress, the court found that the “voluntary consent” was, in fact, involuntary. The drug charges were dismissed, avoiding a trial and looming felony conviction for my client.
My client was accused of a felony DWI resulting in the death of an alleged passenger. However, the methods used by the trooper to obtain “confessions”, as well as his testimony, were suspect. Further, the State had released the vehicle to the insurance company, which resulted in it being turned into scrap metal before we had an opportunity to evaluate the evidence obtained from the vehicle. After hearing, the Court suppressed my client’s alleged confessions and found the trooper’s testimony to be not credible, and made favorable rulings as to other evidentiary matters. Ultimately, the client was placed on probation following the sentencing hearing.
My client was stopped with 191 grams of marijuana in the vehicle. As a result of cross-examination of the trooper regarding the audio/video of the stop and arrest, which showed the officer violating my client’s 4th Amendment and 5th Amendment rights, all evidence was suppressed and the case was dismissed.
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