Judgment against Uninsured Motorist
In April, 2021 Pam was exiting I-55 at Arsenal when she was hit by a driver who did not have auto insurance. The collision caused Pam to suffer injuries to her neck and back, headaches and anxiety following the crash. On behalf of his client Pam, Tim presented a claim to Pam’s insurance company, Allstate, for uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. When the Allstate adjuster lowballed Pam in the negotiations, Tim filed a lawsuit against the uninsured driver in September 2022, and obtained a judgment. Allstate unsuccessfully tried to set aside the judgment and ended up paying the full amount of the UM coverage that Pam had with Allstate. Case 2222-CC09588
Judgment against driver and UIM carrier
In August 2020 Gilbert was driving on westbound 370, in St. Charles County between Harry S Truman Blvd. and Salt River Rd., when his vehicle was struck from behind by a vehicle that did not stop at the scene. Gilbert’s truck was totaled, and his wrist was broken. Gilbert’s family did excellent detective work to identify the driver of the vehicle that fled the scene. There were questions about available coverage, so Gilbert authorized Tim to file a lawsuit, which ultimately resulted in a judgment being entered against the driver and State Farm for underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits. Case 2111-CC00374
Judgment for Employee Injured at Work
Joseph was an employee of a temporary staffing agency. The agency sent him to a food processing plant in St. Louis County, as a temporary worker to meet short-term workload conditions. While Joseph was helping clean equipment at the plant, a permanent employee caused boiling sticky water to be released into the area where Joseph was working. Joseph suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns over approximately 30% of his body that required extensive surgeries and skin grafts. Tim litigated the case for over five years through changes in Missouri statutes and Supreme Court decisions on co-employee liability, eventually obtaining a five million dollar judgment in 2017. Case 12SL-CC03280
Made precedent for excluding medical bills.
Randy was rear-ended by another driver on I-70 near the airport during his evening commute home. Following the crash, he went to see his primary care physician for treatment. He also had some chiropractic treatment and physical therapy. His injuries lingered. Eventually he saw a neurosurgeon at Washington University who recommended surgery. Randy was nervous about the surgery, so he put it off.
Because he knew how badly the crash changed his quality of life, he was unwilling to accept the low offer from State Farm and decided to go to trial.
What Randy didn’t know was that his case was going to set a national precedent for combating an auto insurance industry tactic.
Anybody who has been to a health care provider and received a bill knows that the medical bills are difficult to understand. If you have health insurance, there is normally a negotiated rate that the health insurance company reimburses the medical provider and some of the charges are discounted. Most people work for their health insurance, which means that they have jobs and receive health insurance as a benefit through work. For decades Missouri Courts, through case law, recognized that wrongdoers should not get a discount on medical bills in an injury lawsuit that were incurred due to a negligent act because the “discount” was paid for by the injured party. This is what the Courts called the “Collateral Source Rule.”
Auto insurance industry lobbyists got the Missouri legislature to change the law in 2005 to allow insurance lawyers in personal injury trials to introduce evidence of the amount of medical bills that were discounted because the injured person (like Randy) worked to have health insurance. In some cases, like Randy’s, the medical bills can be artificially low for the harm suffered as a result of negligence.
Over Tim’s objection, the trial judge let the State Farm lawyer use the 2005 statute to introduce evidence as to the amount of the medical bills paid by Randy’s health insurance company. The jury award reflected that number. Tim successfully appealed the judge’s decision to the Court of Appeals in a case that is now used as legal precedent by lawyers throughout the country to keep the jury’s focus on the harm suffered by the injured person and not an artificially low dollar amount paid by health insurance. Schieffer v. Decleene, 539 S.W.3d 798 (Mo. App. E.D. 2017)
St. Charles County Jury Verdict
An electrophysiologist who was driving home from his pharmaceutical research job in the Missouri Research Park in Weldon Spring was hit head on when a teenage driver crossed the double yellow line on Highway 94 in St. Charles County. Luckily, first responders from the Cottleville Fire Protection District and St. Charles County Ambulance District were just minutes away. Their efforts saved the scientist’s life. After several surgeries, months of rehab and extraordinary hard work, he was able to return to his job developing lifesaving medicines. The scientist’s doctors and therapists testified that he was one of the hardest working and smartest patients they’ve ever treated. The teenager’s insurance company tried to use the scientist’s hard work and good recovery against him and get a discount for the harm that the teenager caused. In a weeklong trial, Tim faced four defense lawyers in a hard-fought battle for justice for the injured scientist and his wife, resulting in a jury verdict in their favor in July, 2016. After the Jury returned their verdict, the trial Judge told the clients that it was the largest personal injury verdict that he ever had in his 26 years as a Judge. Case 1311-CC01096
Fight for children orphaned by car crash.
In July of 2010, young parents Trenton and Casey were killed when an Enterprise rental car Trenton was driving on I-55 went off the road and overturned down an embankment in Ste. Genevieve County, leaving three young children. When Trenton and Casey originally rented the car from Enterprise, they took out all of the additional insurance coverage that Enterprise offered. When Tim made a claim for the children for the $1 million in supplemental liability protection, Empire Fire & Marine Insurance Company denied the claim because of exclusionary language that was buried deep within the policy that the parents never saw. Tim argued that the Enterprise promotional language that came with the rental agreement promised coverage. Tim lost that fight in an appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals. Affirmative Ins. Co. v. Broker, 412 S.W.3d 314 (Mo. App. E.D. 2013) Not stopping there, Tim investigated the cause of the crash and pursued a claim against the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission because the length of the guardrail on the side of the highway was too short according to Federal Highway Safety standards. Tim presented the case against the MHTC to a panel of arbitrators that agreed with his theory and awarded damages for the orphans. Case 11SG-CC00196
Jury Verdict for Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In November of 2009 Terran was hit by a driver who did not stop , causing him to hit another car that was parked. The collision caused Terran to suffer injuries to his back and shoulder that caused him significant pain. He continued to have back problems for years following the accident, and a doctor testified that Terran’s injuries would be lifelong. Tim took the case to trial against Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois and a St. Louis jury awarded Terran $100,000. Terran’s case included several complicated issues and Tim filed successful motions that were pivotal to the case.
Judgment for Hit and Run by Drunk Driver
A man was seriously injured on his way to his job in July of 2012 when his motorcycle was traveling north on Interstate 170 near Delmar Boulevard. The motorcycle was struck from behind by a vehicle that was speeding before swerving into the far-right lane and striking the motorcycle. The force of the collision was such that the driver’s license plate wedged in the back of the motorcycle. Police identified the driver of the vehicle and found she had been drinking and was underaged. The man had to undergo shoulder surgery due to the collision and missed nine months of work. The injury and time off forced him to find a new job. The driver of the vehicle was twenty years old and was charged with fleeing the scene of the accident. Tim filed suit against the driver in 2012 and added the Saint Louis City bar that served her alcohol that night as a defendant five months later. Tim successfully negotiated a settlement with the insurance carrier for the driver and was awarded a judgment against the bar that served the driver. Case 12SL-CC04585
Verdict for patient in claim for perforated bowel
Gary M. went to the hospital Emergency Room in the middle of the night because he could not urinate. The urologist on call initially told the ER doctors to send Gary home to take a warm bath. Gary returned to the ER in severe pain because he could not empty his bladder. This time the on-call urologist did come into the hospital and while trying to inspect Gary’s bladder with a rigid urethroscope punctured through Gary’s urethra and his bowel. Gary had to wear a colostomy bag for 5 months to give his bowel time to heal. Tim prepared and took the case to trial and a jury in the City of St. Louis returned a verdict in favor of Gary awarding him his medical bills, lost wages and non-economic damages. Case 22002-08357
Settlement reached in fireworks explosion case
On July 2, 2003, a trailer full of fireworks exploded in Bonita Springs, FL killing 5 people. The surviving children and the mother of two brothers who died were referred to Tim by out of state lawyers. The case was filed in Missouri because the main defendants were a fireworks manufacturer and pyrotechnic show producer located in the St. Louis area. Tim represented the family through 3 years of complex litigation that included dozens of depositions, a variety of expert witnesses and procedurals challenges that took the case all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court. The case settled a few weeks before trial in June, 2008. Case 22052-01877
CIGNA forced to pay benefits of $498,000 plus interest and fees after Court Ruling
Before he won the largest verdict in Missouri in 2008, the same client had to go Federal Court to force CIGNA to pay him money he was owed under a Disability Policy that he had through work. CIGNA Insurance Company said that because the man had slight residual movement in his shoulders and lower limbs he had not lost complete use of his limbs within the meaning of its disability policy. CIGNA claimed that a Federal law known as ERISA gave it discretion to deny the benefits that he had paid for through payroll deductions. Tim sued CIGNA in Federal Court. The Judge found that CIGNA “committed a procedural irregularity by failing to use proper judgment in reviewing (the) claim result(ing) in a total lack of faith in the integrity of the decision making process.” CIGNA didn’t even appeal the ruling, but instead paid the full amount of benefits in the amount of $498,000 plus interest and attorneys’ fees. Case No. 4:06CV1677 CDP
Largest personal injury verdict in Saint Louis County History
Tim along with Co-counsel Robert M.N. Palmer of Springfield, MO, represented a 48-year-old man and his wife in a trial against a motorist who caused a crash in Wentzville, MO in December, 2004, that left the man a quadriplegic. On May 9, 2008, after a week-long trial, a St. Louis County jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs in the amount of 21 Million Dollars. After the verdict the Judge assessed pre judgment interest to bring the total judgment to just under 25 Million Dollars. The Missouri Lawyers Weekly reported the verdict as both the largest personal injury verdict in the history of St. Louis County and the largest verdict in a personal injury case in the State of Missouri in 2008. Case 2105CC-04215
Settlement for former pitcher for St. Louis Cardinals
In September of 1994 Joe Magrane and his wife Renee were driving on Wild Horse Creek Road, returning home from dinner when their car fell into a ditch on the roadway. The developer of a subdivision and its excavation contractor were in the process of creating an entrance way to a new subdivision and had cut 8 inches into the asphalt roadway. The tires on the right side of Joe’s car drove into the 6 inch deep ditch. When Joe reacted, he pulled his car back across the roadway and into a tree. The airbag on his steering wheel deployed and sent his left elbow crashing through the driver’s side window. Joe sustained a laceration a tendon in his left elbow. Not a major injury unless you are a Major League pitcher. Joe’s career was not the same after the accident. He did not play in the Major League in 1995 and made a brief comeback with the Chicago White Sox in 1996. Tim represented Joe and Renee in a personal injury lawsuit filed in St. Louis County. Tim aggressively pursued the case and achieved a favorable settlement the week before trial in December, 1997. Case 21686173
Case that reversed 150 years of legal precedence
As a young lawyer, Tim, defended a cardiologist in the St. Louis area who admitted to having an affair with one of his patients. The husband of the patient sued the doctor for alienation of affections and criminal conversation. The case went to trial in December, 1992 after the doctor had left the country to return to his native Pakistan. At trial Tim convinced the jury that his client was not responsible for alienating the affections of the wife, but the jury found for the husband on his claim for criminal conversation and awarded one dollar in damages. Criminal conversation is an ancient claim for damages that could be asserted by a husband for the trespass on his wife’s body against anyone who had sexual intercourse with her.
Initially the husband appealed his loss on the alienation of affections claim to the Missouri Court of Appeals. On behalf of his client Tim cross – appealed the $1 verdict for the husband and convinced the Missouri Supreme Court to invoke a seldom used rule to hear the case for the purpose of reexamining the existing law before an opinion of the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court agreed with Tim’s position and changed the law in the State of Missouri. Thomas v. Siddiqui, 869 S.W.2d 740 (Mo. 1994)
Largest personal injury verdict in Saint Charles County History
Unfortunately, this verdict came when Tim was representing the defendant. Tim represented a local Fraternity at Southwest Missouri State University in a claim bought by a young lady who was a guest at their spring dance. Following the dance the young lady dove into the shallow end of a pool and sustained a catastrophic injury that left her a quadriplegic. She claimed that the members of the fraternity served her beer in violation of the National Fraternity’s policies. The jury agreed and awarded the plaintiff $7.65 Million in actual and punitive damages. Tim represented the local chapter of the fraternity through the appeal, and following a successful oral argument the case was settled for an amount that was offered before trial. Though the amount of the November 1995, verdict was not collected, it was at the time the largest personal injury verdict in the history of Saint Charles County. Case 11V019107721