Notable Cases and Results:
Bergfeld v County of Effingham,
Effingham County, Illinois
Plaintiff worked for a construction company.
He had gone to the County garage to perform repairs in the ceiling insulation.
While Bergfeld was working in one of the bays, a County driver was attempting to reenter the building and opened the overhead door.
Plaintiff was forced to retreat, hand-over-hand, along the door rail.
Unfortunately, the door was quicker, crushing plaintiff’s hand and leaving him hanging 15 feet in the air until rescuers could reach him.
Plaintiff alleged that the County should have instructed drivers not to open the doors and/or warned plaintiff that trucks would be returning soon.
Mr. Pierce assumed the defense from another law firm after the close of discovery.
The jury reached a unanimous verdict in favor of the County and its driver.
Puklich v Vambaketes,
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
The plaintiff runs a tattoo parlor in Alton.
He was a potential witness in a criminal investigation.
Officer Vambaketes went to the plaintiff’s business to serve Plaintiff with a subpoena.
Plaintiff alleged that, after a heated discussion between the officer, plaintiff’s wife and others, Vambaketes struck Puklich in the face.
The jury exonerated the police officer.
Huddleston v City of Alton, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
Plaintiff was a 57 year old man with no prior police interaction. In December of 2008, his wife collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. He became distraught upon being advised of her death. Hospital personnel tried to restrain him from going to see his wife, and ultimately called the Alton Police. The police were advised that a family was fighting, not that a man was grieving. Plaintiff was eventually Tased, cuffed and arrested, within minutes of his wife's death. The Jury exonerated the officers, finding that that acted appropriately given the information available to him. The Court had earlier, on motion of the defense, excluded evidence that the plaintiff had suffered from rhabdomylosis as a result of the tasing, finding that the causal connection was speculative.
Adelsbach v City of Alton, Madison County, Illinois
The Plaintiff was a 29 year old medical equipment salesman, earning over $100,000 a year. While traveling through Alton, he was T-boned at an intersection. He suffered extensive injuries, including traumatic brain damage. Since the accident, he has been unemployable. Plaintiff cited to a history of wrecks at this intersection and argued that the City should have left it a 4-way stop, which it had been for a period of time. The jury rejected plaintiff's argument and his request for $15.2 million in damages.
Kahrig v Illinois Southwest Orthopedics, Ltd, Madison County, Illinois
Plaintiff, a 29 year old contractor, presented with knee pain. After a workup failed to identify the source, the surgeon did a diagnostic athroscopy. During this procedure, he elected to perform a lateral retinacular release, a procedure which is somewhat controversial in the field of orthopedics. The plaintiff became disillusioned during his rehab, expecting to be back to full strength quicker and claimed that he did not consent to this procedure. By the time of trial 5 years post-surgery, he continued to have weakness and pain. He claimed that it impacted his earning ability to the tune of about $1.5 million, past and future. Mr. Pierce obtained a defense verdict for the physician, despite the defendant's expert conceding that he wouldn't have done what the defendant did.
Pollack v City of West Frankfort, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
The plaintiff was turned down for a job with the city. He filed an age discrimination claim with the EEOC. The city settled the claim by giving him the job plus a cash payout. He worked 11 days before being fired. He again filed an age discrimination claim and also alleged that his termination was in retaliation for the first claim. Mr. Pierce persuaded the jury that plaintiff simply wasn't cut out for the job, regardless of his age. The jury reached a defense verdict in 30 minutes.
v City of Lebanon, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
The plaintiff was the administrative assistant to the Police Chief. After she was fired, she claimed that she was sexually harassed and had been told that she'd get better evaluations if she provided sexual favors to the Chief. Mr. Pierce convinced the jury otherwise, resulting in a defense verdict.
v City Of Collinsville, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
A Taser was used on the plaintiff during his arrest. He sued, alleging that the force was excessive. The case was surrounded by much publicity over the use of
by police in general. Despite an amateur video of the arrest which seemed to support plaintiff's version of events, the jury found in favor of the police officer.
Owens v. Village of Irving, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
The plaintiff claimed that he had been subjected to excessive force during a field sobriety test administered by an Irving police officer. Mr. Pierce obtained summary judgment for the Village and its officials,
subsequently obtained a jury verdict in favor of the police officer.
v. Stein, Madison County, Illinois
In this case, the plaintiff was severely injured when his car struck the defendant's truck which had stalled on the road. The stalled truck was not licensed to be on the road and was not equipped with any type of flares or other warning devices. Additionally, the flashers were broken. After the truck stalled, the driver left the vehicle unattended to go get help. Mr. Pierce assumed the defense of this case from another firm shortly before trial. At trial, the plaintiff asked the jury for a total of $9,000,000 in punitive and compensatory damages. Mr. Pierce, however, successfully convinced the jury to award only $560,000 which was an amount virtually identical to the offer which was on the table when trial started.
Kite v. Kroger
The plaintiff claims to have slipped and fallen on a grape at defendant's store. Plaintiff denied having ever suffered similar injuries. Through discovery, defendant found that plaintiff had a longstanding history of prior medical problems and greatly impeached the plaintiff's credibility with these facts at trial. The jury quickly returned a defendant's verdict.
Mr. Pierce represented a prominent local plaintiff's attorney in this premises liability claim. The plaintiff was a sole practitioner who tripped and fell over a clear glass table in the defendant's offices, breaking his hip. He sued for $500,000 in medical costs and lost wages. Despite testimony by the plaintiff's expert witnesses that the size and location of the table were improper for the office environment and interfered with delineated traffic patterns, Mr. Pierce secured a jury verdict for his client.