Personal Injury Cases
Synopsis: In October, 2014, our client was on her way to work at in the intensive care unit at a New Orleans area hospital. Then, a 70,000 pound cement mixer truck hit her broadside and caused her to suffer a herniated disc in her neck. In April 2015, she had a discectomy and fusion to repair her injury, but she remained in pain and could no longer perform her duties as a certified ICU nurse. As a young person, she faced an enormous future economic loss.
After filing suit in federal court, Richard Martin and Lamothe Law Firm’s litigation team promptly retained the experts needed to effectively present our client’s case to a jury: her operating neurosurgeon, an economist, and a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Then, when faced with the threat of a motion for summary judgment, the defendant stipulated to liability.
Settlement: This set the stage for a settlement conference before a U.S. Magistrate Judge and a successful settlement for $850,000. Only nine months elapsed from the day the suit was filed until a very favorable plaintiff’s settlement.
Synopsis: Our client was a drill crew employee aboard a semi-submersible vessel when a drag block fell 4 to 5 feet onto his neck. He sustained significant injuries to his neck and required a single level cervical discectomy and fusion. We filed a Jones Act lawsuit in federal court on his behalf. The Judge agreed the vessel was unseaworthy and that the unseaworthiness was a cause of our client’s injury. Defendants conceded that our client played no role in the causation of the incident or his injury.
Settlement: A settlement conference before the Magistrate resulted in a successful negotiation of $650,000 for our client.
Synopsis: Frank Lamothe, in association with the Jack Bailey Law Firm, recently concluded a case involving a high pressure gas release in an oil and gas field in North Louisiana.
A workover crew hired as an independent contractor was preparing to extract the tubing from a production well and in doing so was removing tubing hangar pins to release the tubing from the tubing hanger, when there was a sudden and powerful gas release which caused catastrophic injuries to three crew members. It was discovered that a valve removal plug was installed in the casing valve, which prevented the casing valve pressure gauge from reflecting the actual pressure present in the casing. The valve removal plug had been installed by a prior owner of the field, who forgot to remove it following adjacent drilling operations. The prior owner of the field had also recorded the installation of the VR plug in the wrong well file. An employee of the new owner of the field was overseeing the workover crew.
Obstacles: The defendants contended that the third party workover crew had failed to follow proper procedures by failing to pump into the casing to determine if there was any pressure as well as failing to install a blowout preventer stack on the wellhead prior to backing out the tubing hanger pins.
Mr. Lamothe took the lead in establishing the liability case, which involved the production of over 300,000 documents, and taking numerous depositions as well as working with expert petroleum engineers. Mr. Lamothe has an in depth knowledge of oilfield technology, which he was able to utilize in establishing the liability claim against multiple defendants.
Mr. Lamothe was also instrumental in hiring all the damage witnesses who were able to document the serious injuries of the injured parties.
Settlement: After a lengthy litigation process involving numerous motions, including Motions for Summary Judgment, the parties settled at a second mediation session for a substantial sum. The amounts paid, terms and conditions of the settlement cannot be disclosed under the terms of the confidentiality provisions of the settlement agreement but we submit that the settlement has a present value in excess of 15 million dollars. Most of the settlement proceeds are being paid through structured payments. The settlement will allow for 24-hour care for one client, who is brain injured, and lifetime income and care for another who suffered severe orthopedic injuries and a minor brain injury.
Synopsis: This claim concerned a class action claim in which the Defendant negligently released a cloud of nitrogen tetroxide. A railroad tank car began leaking the chemical at the Gaylord Chemical plant in Bogalusa, Louisiana and lasted for twenty-four hours. Area individuals developed eye, ear, nose and throat irritation, pulmonary distress, skin rashes and other injuries due to chemical exposure.
Settlement: After many years of litigation, the case settled for a multi-million dollar figure.
Synopsis: A volunteer firefighter was struck and killed by a motorist at the site of a hazardous material spill. The firefighter’s widow, our client, and their minor children filed a wrongful death survival action against the State of Louisiana, alleging it was liable because it failed to secure the initial accident site. This failure led to a motorist striking our client’s husband, a responder working at the scene. The matter proceeded to trial and the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of plaintiffs and against the State of Louisiana holding the State 80 percent at fault for causing the death of our client’s husband.
Award: Judgment was rendered in a total amount of $2,075,520.07.
Synopsis: Our client, as the personal representative and surviving widow of the deceased, brought this cause of action for wrongful death under the Death on the High Seas Act. Our client’s husband was killed while providing consulting services as a drilling consultant/foreman aboard a jack-up drilling barge/special purpose vessel. A gas blowout occurred, requiring an emergency evacuation of the vessel. Our client’s husband was helping other crew members evacuate the vessel just prior to his death.
Obstacles: He was not counted among the survivors and his body was never found.
Settlement: The case settled for a substantial sum.
Synopsis: Our clients sued in the wrongful death of their five-year-old son. The child was belly surfing on a skateboard across the street from his home and was subsequently struck and killed by a pizza delivery person.
Obstacles: The Defendant’s position was that the driver of the car could not see our client’s son. The Defendants also claimed contributory negligence on the part of the child for his actions and his parents for inadequate supervision. We successfully asserted that at five years old, the child was incapable of contributory negligence. We hired an accident reconstruction expert who demonstrated through computer analysis that the driver had ample time to see the child prior to striking him.
Settlement: This case settled for a substantial amount of money just prior to a scheduled jury trial.
Synopsis: This case involved a minor child who ran across the street and into the path of the Defendant’s vehicle. The Defendant fled the scene, but returned after further reflection. Our client suffered serious injuries including a closed head injury.
Obstacles: We established that the Defendant was speeding. A reconstruction expert testified that the Defendant, if compliant with the speed limit, would have had ample time to see the minor child and avoid striking him.
Settlement: A substantial settlement was reached and placed in trust to provide for the child for the remainder of his life including living and medical expenses.
Synopsis: This case involved serious personal injuries to our client, who was off-loading a vessel. Large steel discs were part of the vessel cargo and they had shifted during the voyage. While unloading, a container fell and the discs became projectiles. Our client suffered the amputation of his leg.
Obstacles: We performed a thorough investigation, examined the security of the cargo involved, and performed complex weather, wave action and vessel stowage analyses. After lengthy depositions of the German vessel captain and superintendent of cargo, covering numerous technicalities related to methods of stowage, dunnage, lashings and chocking of the steel disc cargo, the Defendants filed motions for summary judgment based on prior case law.
Settlement: We were successful in defeating defendants’ motion for summary judgment. This maritime case settled for a substantial sum prior to trial.
Synopsis: Our client was working for the Defendant as a welder on board a vessel. He was a Jones Act seaman. A braking mechanism on a vessel crane failed, dropping our client from a workbasket into the water. Our client suffered severe injuries to his lower back, resulting in spinal surgery.
Settlement: Due to our aggressive representation, the parties reached a settlement for a substantial amount just before the case went to trial.
Synopsis: Our clients were residents of orphanage schools operated by the Catholic Church for disadvantaged children. The cases involved physical and sexual abuse incurred at these institutions.
Settlement: A group of 15 cases was settled in mediations over a two-week period for approximately $5 million.
Synopsis: Our client was employed as a Senior Deckhand and a member of a crew of a vessel. Our client was serving as lead man. He suffered severe injuries when stepping from the vessel to a barge to secure a capstan line prior to facing up the vessel to the barge. His left foot became caught between the vessel and a barge. When he stepped onto the deck of the center stern barge, he lost his footing and stepped backwards into the gap between the vessel and the barge, trapping his foot between the two, crushing his left ankle and foot. The barge onto which he stepped had wet coal dust on it, which created a slippery condition. Other safety failures were alleged as well.
Award: The Plaintiff was awarded $425,000.00 for the barge injury.
Synopsis: A 29 year old deckhand on a liner boat sustained a rotator cuff tear and back injury when he was struck on his legs by a parted lock line. Plaintiff brought a Jones Act and general maritime law complaint against his employer for unseaworthiness, and punitive damages for failure to pay maintenance and cure in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The case was allotted to Judge Lance M. Africk.
Award: The case was settled for $300,000.00.
Synopsis: Our client suffered serious personal injuries when a bus driver waved an automobile into the path of her vehicle. We successfully convinced the court to adopt the assumed duty doctrine.
Award: The jury returned a verdict of $500,000. The Defendant appealed on liability and quantum and we cross-appealed on quantum. The appellate court raised the $500,000 award to $897,147.93.
Synopsis: Our clients were seriously injured when their vehicle was rear-ended on Interstate 12 near Covington, Louisiana, by a pick-up truck operated by an employee of a company. Although both of our clients had a long history of back problems (including a prior low back surgery) that preexisted the accident, which conditions were still symptomatic and being actively treated at the time of the accident, medical evidence from the numerous treating physicians (including neurosurgeons and pain management specialists) was developed which established that the rear-end collision aggravated our clients’ respective preexisting conditions, causing a dramatic increase in pain and resulting in more invasive and persistent treatment for their injuries, including surgery on one client’s low back.
Obstacles: William D. Cass, Special Counsel with the Lamothe Law Firm, overcame adverse IME opinions by the insurer’s expert neurosurgeon focused on evidence of our clients symptomatic preexisting conditions and negotiated the final, substantial settlement only three (3) weeks before the scheduled jury trial.
Settlement: One of our client’s claim was settled for $425,000 and the other claim was settled for $400,000.
Synopsis: This case resulted from the crash of a Cessna 210L (Centurion) on the Island of Martinique where the airplane broke apart in midair.
Obstacles: The French refused to share evidence or make anyone available for deposition testimony. It did provide, however, numerous photographs of the wreckage. We traveled to Martinique, interviewed ground witnesses and took depositions. We also sent a reconstruction expert to Martinique who located some wreckage in the jungle missed by the French authorities. This wreckage turned out to be significant in proving the our case against Cessna.
Through our smart thinking and thorough investigation, it was proved in court that the plane accident was caused by a loose aileron cable, resulting in aileron flutter. This caused a vibratory process that caused the wing to self-destruct. Through extensive documentation and against a high-profile defense, we became the only firm in the nation to be successful in holding Cessna liable for aileron flutter in its 210 aircraft.
Synopsis: Our client brought this case as the personal representative of her husband’s estate. Her husband was a pilot in command of a Bell model 412 helicopter on a firefighting mission that crashed near Cold Springs, Nevada due to engine failure. He died in the crash; he was 52.
Obstacles: Defendants argued that the helicopter accident was the sole fault and negligence of the pilot in carrying water loads exceeding the gross weight limitations of the aircraft. We were able to demonstrate that the crash occurred when a compressor turbine disk (CT disk), a critical component in one of the helicopter’s twin engines, suffered catastrophic metallurgical failure during flight. Discovery revealed maintenance records that concluded the disk would require replacement. The alternative method of polishing the disk and returning the helicopter to service was reported to be unsafe in the maintenance records. The company decided to overrule the recommendation, polishing the disk and returning the craft to service.
Settlement: A confidential settlement was reached with the maintenance facility that performed the engine overhaul and placed the disk in service. We then proceeded to trial against the manufacturer of the engines, Pratt Whitney Corporation, alleging a design failure of insufficient redundancy causing both engines to fail instead of one. We secured a settlement while the jury was still deliberating for a substantial sum, subject to a confidentiality agreement.
Business Litigation Cases
Synopsis: Our client initiated this litigation against joint members of a limited liability midstream cargo transfer business that the company had formerly joined. The Defendant exercised their stated rights under the operating agreement to dissolve our client’s company with a 90-day notice. We claimed that the Defendant breached its fiduciary duties and squeezed our client out of their well-established, profitable business under the guise of liquidating the company. Defendant took control of the business operation, retaining 100 percent of the company’s profits. Our client also asserted that Defendant managers violated their fiduciary duties.
After a lengthy trial on the merits, the court found for the Plaintiff. Defendant and their managers had violated their fiduciary duties. The court found that although Defendant had the right to dissolve the business, the dissolution had to be for good reason.
Award: A judgment of $1,640,113.00 was awarded to our client in this matter.
Synopsis: Our client sued Defendant over the purchase of a used wound electric motor, which ran a large barite-grinding mill. Offshore drilling operations require barite for production. The wound motor malfunctioned, damaging the grinding mill and preventing our client’s barite from being ground and sold. Our client demanded damages for motor replacement and their lost profits.
Obstacles: Numerous complex technical depositions concerning the winding of electric motors (which are no longer in common use) were presented. The Defendant gave the our client incorrect advice on how to wind the motor based on information it had received from an advisory service. We built a complex financial model demonstrating the loss of profits from their inability to sell barite when production was halted.
Settlement: Defendant settled for a significant sum prior to trial.
Synopsis: Our clients were sued by Plaintiff claiming violation of an offshore pipe-laying and construction contract. Our client counter-sued for invoices submitted under various provisions of the contract between the parties.
Prevailed in Arbitration: An American Arbitration Association panel denied most of Plaintiff’s claims after a six-day trial involving over 40,000 documents, finding that most of our client’s counter-claims were valid. Therefore, our client prevailed in their counterclaim.
Synopsis: Chevron USA sued our client for damages and intellectual property right violations over software licensed to Chevron for land management of its oil and gas properties. Chevron re-engineered the software for use in their business. Chevron asserted the software had bugs and that they owned the intellectual rights to the code. Our client claimed that Chevron created an unauthorized derivative work by converting COBOL to Windows code. IBS sought to block Chevron from using the software in the future. This case hinged on infringement of trade secrets, copyright violation, breach of contract, and business tort matters. IBS settled prior to trial.
Settlement: The terms of settlement are confidential.
Synopsis: A computer hardware distributor sued a Taiwanese computer manufacturer, claiming Defendant manufactured and sold defective laptop computers for resale resulting in loss of income. Evidence showed problems with a few computers that were returned to our client, properly repaired and sent back to plaintiff.
Settlement: Defendant proved no loss of income due to defects in the laptop computers made by the Plaintiff. The case settled for a minimal sum.
Synopsis: A default judgment was rendered against our client. The Court found that a subsequent Motion for New Trial was filed on a timely basis. Because there was an address error in the mailing of the Judgment, which must be mailed to the “last known address” of the Defendant, the Court found that the Judgment was improper. In addition, the Judgment exceeded the original relief requested.
Judgment: The court set aside the default judgment, and ordered a new trial.
Synopsis: Our client was sued by a major New Orleans law firm over disputed attorney’s fees. The law firm claimed that our client owed this amount in connection with services rendered in a litigation matter. We claimed that the fees charged were excessive and not authorized.
Settlement: The matter settled at Mediation for a confidential, substantially reduced sum.
Synopsis: This case involved a claim by Ocean Salvage against Dynamic Offshore Craft, Inc. in connection with a salvage contract in the Gulf of Mexico. Ocean Salvage claimed that prior to entering into the contract, they were not provided with accurate information concerning bottom conditions. This caused a lengthened period of time to complete the contract which was required before any payment was due.
Settlement: The case settled after a considerable amount of discovery and motion practice.
Synopsis: Plaintiff, Lacoste Builders, LLC brought this action against our client and Zurich American Insurance Company alleging damages for alleged defective windows sold and installed by our client involving various residences and buildings which were constructed by Lacoste. Zurich filed a Motion for Summary Judgment to limit its exposure under its comprehensive general liability (CGL) policies which it issued to our client.
Motion Defeated: We were able to defeat motions for summary judgment filed by Zurich and establish that full coverage was afforded to our client for the claims being brought by plaintiff, Lacoste Builders.
Synopsis: This case involved a claim against Masonite Corporation by owners of an apartment complex regarding alleged defective siding. Masonite was able to show that the hardboard siding deteriorated due to improper installation as well as improper maintenance.
Settlement: The case was settled for a small amount of cash and additional hardboard siding with no warranties with the delivery of the product.