Cost of annuity determines present value of trucking-accident long-term care costs. A loaded semi-trailer truck was going too fast around a corner on a Utah mountain highway. It tipped over and slammed into a car – killing a mother and a six-year-old, and inflicting serious brain injuries requiring a lifetime of care on an eight-year-old. Liability was admitted by Andrew’s client, the trucking company. Based on the driver’s record of five prior accidents, representatives of the injured child sought punitive damages – but this claim was dismissed on summary judgment. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict for $16.4 million. We appealed on the basis that evidence excluded by the trial court should have been admitted. The Utah Court of Appeals agreed, reversing the decision and calling for a new trial. The trial court held that evidence of the cost of a single premium lifetime annuity could be used to prove the present value of long-term care costs. The case settled for $13 million.
When life is threatened, children can be treated against the will of their parents. A child in Utah was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or in soft tissue. When the child’s parents refused to treat him, the State of Utah brought medical neglect proceedings against them in Juvenile Court – which ordered the treatment. The parents left the State with their son. The State dropped the case. Then, the plaintiffs sued the State-employed pediatric oncologists who had sought the order for deprivation of their civil rights. Andrew represented the oncologists in this matter. After lengthy discovery, summary judgment was granted. When the plaintiffs appealed, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision and sent the case back to state court, where it was dismissed once again on a summary judgment that was affirmed by the Utah Supreme Court. These important cases established that in life-threatening cases the State of Utah has the duty and power to use the Juvenile Courts to obtain orders to treat children against the will of their parents.
Medical center prevails against wrongful discharge lawsuit. A 26-year-old patient with a complicated medical history had surgery to repair a fractured Achilles tendon. After two days of recovery, the patient was discharged. After the two-hour trip to her home in Wyoming, the patient went into cardiac arrest and died. Her family filed a lawsuit against the medical center, claiming that the young woman had pneumonia and had therefore been wrongfully discharged. The week-long trial in 2013 ended in a verdict for Andrew’s client, the medical center.
Orem police officers justified in killing of car thief. A police officer was in pursuit of a car thief. After a lengthy chase on a winter’s night, the man abandoned the stolen car and began to run away. The officer chased him. When the officer was within six feet of him, the car thief turned and assumed a three-point shooter’s stance with what appeared to be a pistol in his hand. While backing up to seek cover, the officer fired two shots – one of which hit the car thief in the hip. In the meantime, another officer had arrived on the scene. This officer shot the car thief two times – killing him. A wrongful death claim was filed against the officers and Andrew undertook their defense. A two-week jury trial resulted in a defense verdict for both officers.
Jury assesses 80 percent of fault for trucking fatality to third party. The driver of a truck for an excavating company was involved in a fatal accident in which a man burned to death — leaving behind a wife and two daughters. Twelve hours before the accident, the truck driver had taken methamphetamine. He was charged with various methamphetamine-related offenses, including driving under the influence. Andrew’s defense of the driver was that the accident was started by a third party (with whom the plaintiffs had already settled). After a seven-day trial in 2013, the court directed a verdict against the truck driver. The plaintiff had asked the jury for $6 million, but Andrew proposed that the jury assess the third party with 80 percent of the fault, the driver (our client) with 15 percent of the fault and the deceased plaintiff with five percent of the fault. The jury accepted this suggestion. As a result, the net verdict was for $411,000.