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EMPLOYMENT Fired for enforcing rules, manager awarded $4M A hospital manager who claimed that she was forced out of her position in retaliation for enforcing sexual harassment policies was awarded $4,050,000 by a federal jury on Sept. 2. Stephanie Denninghoff, director of operative services at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk, Va., responded to complaints about the “sexually charged” conduct of a nurse by informing human resources and conducting a counseling meeting with the nurse. The nurse took offense at the suggestion of impropriety and resigned. Three months later, Denninghoff was asked to resign. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the hospital, which contended that Denninghoff was let go because of breaches of confidence. The verdict includes $3 million in punitives. EEOC v. Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center Inc., No. 2:02-CV-728 (E.D. Va.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Amy E. Garber and Kenneth M. Golski, EEOC, Norfolk, Va. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: William E. Rachels Jr., Willcox & Savage, Norfolk ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Class of Illinois families settle toxic seepage suit Four companies sued for allegedly contaminating the Lisle, Ill., water supply with an industrial solvent settled two lawsuits for a combined $22.1 million on Sept. 4. A class of 1,500 families sued The Lockformer Co. of Lisle; Met-Coil Systems Corp. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Mestek Corp. of Westfield, Mass.; and Honeywell International Corp. of Morristown, N.J., for their roles in a trichloroethylene (TCE) spill at Lockformer’s Lisle plant. The defendants argued that the TCE never left the Lockformer property; that if it did leave, it did not reach the plaintiffs’ properties; and that if it did reach the plaintiffs’ properties, the TCE was not of a high enough concentration to pose a health risk. Mejdrech v. The Lockformer Co., nos. 01-C-6107 and 02-C-6097 (N.D. Ill.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Norman B. Berger and Michael D. Hayes, Varga, Berger, Ledsky, Hayes & Casey, Chicago; Shawn M. Collins and Edward J. Manzke, Collins Law Firm, Naperville, Ill. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Norman J. Barry, Donohoe, Brown, Mathewson & Smyth, Chicago; Leo P. Dombrowski, Anthony G. Hopp, Joseph F. Madonia, Jeffrey K. McGinness, Robert L. Shuftan and H. Roderic Heard, Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, Chicago; John M. Heaphy, George N Vurdelja Jr. and Griswold L. Ware, Vurdelja & Heaphy, Chicago; J. Patrick Herald, Vincent S. Oleszkiewicz, Richard M. Saines and Douglas B. Sanders, Baker & McKenzie LEGAL PROFESSION Arbitrator slams client who misled her lawyers A Virginia law firm that discovered its client made misrepresentations to it won a $769,124 award against the client on Aug. 18. The client fraudulently induced Grayson, Kubli & Hoffman of McLean, Va., to represent her and then opposed the firm’s motion to withdraw with more false representations, a Washington arbitrator found. A. Alexx Giovanni was involved in a lawsuit with her former employer and hired Grayson Kubli to represent her. Midway through discovery, Grayson Kubli moved to withdraw, claiming that Giovanni had been obstructing her employer’s discovery efforts. The motion was denied, based in part on Giovanni’s claim that she could collateralize payment of the firm’s fees with real estate that she did not, in fact, own. Giovanni’s employer received a judgment, and then Grayson Kubli brought the instant action for unpaid fees, citing breach of contract and fraud. Grayson, Kubli & Hoffman P.C. v. Giovanni, No. 16-181-00028-03 (Am. Arb. Ass’n, Washington). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Daniel Schumack, Schumack Ryals, Fairfax, Va. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Theodore Allison, Karr & Allison, Washington NEGLIGENCE Yeshiva settles with man hit by ball with rock in it A man who sustained broken facial bones when he was hit in the face by a softball with a rock inside it settled for $600,000 on Aug. 25. While in the yard of his Bayonne, N.J., home, Robert McCarron, 50, claimed that the ball was thrown from the schoolyard of Yeshiva Gedolah, which was next door. He also claimed that written on the ball’s cover were the words, “A gift to the McCarron family.” He alleged that he saw two boys in school uniforms looking through the fence separating their properties. McCarron and his wife sued the school and its rabbi for negligence. The defendants contended that there was no evidence that the ball came from its schoolyard and that the handwriting on the ball had not been analyzed. McCarron v. Yeshiva Gedolah of Bayonne, No. HUD-L-3344-00 (Hudson Co., N.J., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: John M. Vlasac Jr., Gill & Chamas, Woodbridge, N.J. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: John Sawicki, Stevens & Schwab, Secaucus, N.J. Summary judgment for guest assaulted in hotel A woman who was sexually assaulted by a drunk man in her hotel room was awarded $76,254 in damages by a Florida jury on Aug. 21. Rachelle Shaner, 32, was staying at the Westin Grand Bohemian in Orlando, Fla., when she awoke to find a man on top of her. She claimed that the man was in his underwear and kissing her and fondling her breasts. When she screamed at him to leave, the man refused and so she called security. She sued the hotel for negligent security. The hotel contended that when Shaner checked in, it had not completed the transaction, causing her room to appear vacant on the computer. Therefore, the hotel claimed, it assigned the man the same room and gave him the key. The judge granted Shaner’s summary judgment motion on liability. Shaner v. Kessler Enterprise Inc., No. CIO-02-2174 (Orange Co., Fla., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: George Nader, Trenam, Kemker, Scharf, Barkin, Frye, O’Neill & Mullis, Tampa, Fla. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Tyrone King, Tampa PREMISES LIABILITY Hurt in water park fall, man wins $1.1 million A father who sustained a herniated lumbar disc when he slipped on steps at a water park was awarded $1.1 million in damages on Aug. 26. Brad Sirmans, 40, was carrying his 2-year-old son down stairs adjacent to a water slide at Adventure Landings in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., when he fell. He sued the park, asserting that negligent upkeep resulted in the growth of black algae, which made the steps slippery, and that the steps themselves were not safe because their nonskid strips were in the middle of the steps, as opposed to on the edge. The park argued that there were no algae and that Sirmans slipped because he was carrying his son and couldn’t see the steps. The jury found Sirmans 5% at fault. Sirmans v. Adventure Landings Inc., No. 2001CA3459 (Duval Co., Fla., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Joe Camerlengo, Camerlengo & Brockwell, Jacksonville, Fla.; Carl Scott Schuler, Law Offices of Carl Scott Schuler, Jacksonville DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Frank H. Cole Jr., Cole, Stone, Stoudemire & Morgan, Jacksonville PRODUCTS LIABILITY Crippled in boat mishap, man due to receive $7M A man who was paralyzed after being thrown from a high-powered boat settled for $6.9 million on Sept. 4. Michael Davis, 33, was a passenger in a Yamaha Skeeter bass boat operated by William Self on the Red River in Louisiana. Davis claimed that the wedges on the 200-horsepower boat caused the front of the boat to drop, sending it into a sharp right turn, ejecting Davis. The boat then spun around and the propeller struck Davis, nearly severing his arm. He sued the manufacturers of the motor, Yamaha Motor Corp., and of the boat, Skeeter Products Inc. He also sued the boat’s distributor, Dawson Marine and Boat Sales, Self and his insurer. Yamaha and Skeeter paid $6.1 million, Dawson paid $750,000 and the insurer paid $35,000. Davis v. Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, No. 203712 (Rapides Parish, La., Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Chris J. Roy Sr., Law Office of Chris J. Roy Sr., Alexandria, La.; John T. Bennett, Law Offices of John T. Bennett, Marksville, La.; Louis Koerner, New Orleans; Anthony Solario, Marksville DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: William Ryan Acomb, Porteous, Hainkel and Johnson, New Orleans; Robin A. Anderson and David R. Frohn, Frohn & Thibodeaux, Lake Charles, La.; Steven C. Judice, Keogh, Cox & Wilson, Baton Rouge, La.; Robert W. Littleton, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, New York; Larry A. Stewart, Stafford, Stewart & Potter, Alexandria

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