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INSURANCE Insurer claimed misrepresentations voided policy A couple whose home was destroyed in a fire was awarded more than $1 million. On Nov. 5, 2001, fire destroyed the home of plaintiffs Wayne Simms and Tracey Simms. As the time, the Simms were covered under insurance policies issued by the Mutual Benefit Insurance Co. The Simms sued Mutual Benefit claiming that it breached the contract with them by refusing to honor claims brought under their homeowner’s insurance policy. The defense argued that the contract was void because the plaintiffs misrepresented the square footage of the destroyed dwelling � a charge the plaintiffs disputed, citing measurements taken by Mutual’s own agents. Case/Court/Date: Simms v. Mutual Benefit Insurance Co., No. 02-CV-1261 AH (U.S. District Court, District of Maryland), Nov. 14, 2003 Plaintiffs’ attorneys: Lawrence Greenberg, Greenberg Law Offices, Baltimore; Irwin Kramer, Kramer & Connolly, Owings Mills, Md. Defense attorney: William Parler Jr., Parler & Wobber, Towson, Md. SECURITIES Brokerage firm lost retiree’s money by margin trading A retiree who accused a brokerage firm of inducing him to deposit nearly half of his net worth into sinking tech stocks was awarded more than $3 million by an arbitration panel. In 1998, claimant Don McLeod invested $100,000 in a cash-brokerage account with a stockbroker for the firm of Josephthal & Co. in Philadelphia. McLeod later increased the account to $300,000. He claimed that he informed the stockbroker that his goal was to keep ahead of inflation through low-risk investment, but that the stockbroker switched his account to a margin account without his authorization and began high-risk trading. Even as the stocks dropped, he was encouraged to pour more money in. He sued Josephthal & Co. and its successor Fahnestock & Co. Case/Court/Date: McLeod v. Josephthal & Co., No. 01-6296 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Arbitration), June 6, 2003 Plaintiff’s attorneys: W. Scott Greco and Frederick Greco, Greco & Greco, McLean, Va. Defense attorneys: M. Myers, Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, Philadelphia. WRONGFUL DEATH Police officer shot and killed man he thought had weapon The family of a 28-year-old man who was shot and killed by a Baltimore police officer was awarded $105 million by a Maryland jury. Officer Rodney Price saw Tristan Little reaching into the back of his car. Price, who was in full uniform, began approaching Little when he saw Little turn toward him holding what he mistakenly thought was a gun. Little approached Price and continued toward him even after Price drew his gun. Price opened fire on Little and emptied one magazine into his body. He then proceeded to reload his weapon, stand over Little, and fire four more rounds into his body, for a total of 21 shots. Price claimed he was justified in his use of force because he believed Little was committing a crime and had a weapon. Case/Court/Date: Estate of Little v. Price, No. 24-c-02-000997 (Baltimore City Circuit Court, Md.) Jan. 9, 2004 Plaintiff’s attorneys: A. Dwight Pettit and Mitchell Treger, Law Office of A. Dwight Pettit, Baltimore; Anton Ianele, Baltimore; Domenic R. Ianele, Baltimore. Defense attorney: Troy Priest, Baltimore. EMPLOYMENT Immigrant employees called derogatory names at plant The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of a class of black employees who claimed they were called terms like “sand nigger,” “black monkey,” “beetle eater,” and “camel jockey,” settled its Title VII race and national origin discrimination suit for $1.1 million. The Hugh O’Kane Electric Co., based in New York, hired several black employees for its Beltsville, Md., office. Over the next two months, a class of 31 of the employees, many of whom had emigrated from such countries as Cameroon and Nigeria, claimed they were subjected to the racial epithets from certain white managers. The class also claimed that some of them were fired solely based on their national origin. The defendant denied the racial slurs and claimed that the firings were legitimate. Case/Court/Date: EEOC v. Hugh O’Kane Electric Co., No. L-02-CV-2503 (U.S. District Court, District of Maryland), Aug. 8, 2003 Plaintiffs’ attorneys: Ronald Phillips and Cecile Quinlan, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Baltimore; Stephen Mercer, Sandler & Mercer, Rockville, Md. Defense Attorney: Michael Petkovich, Jackson Lewis, Vienna, Va. Editor’s Note: These jury verdicts were collected and reported by VerdictSearch, an American Lawyer Media affiliate serving lawyers in the D.C. area and nationwide. More information about these cases, as well as full reports on other verdicts and settlements, can be found in the VerdictSearch National reporter or at www.VerdictSearch.com. For subscription information or jury verdict research, call 1-800-832-1900. To submit a case, call (212) 313-9180, fax (212) 313-9145, e-mail [email protected], or use the form at www.VerdictSearch.com/submit.

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