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ASSAULT AND BATTERY Rocker Marilyn Manson resolves assault claim A security guard who claimed that he was assaulted by controversial rock musician Marilyn Manson settled his claim against the performer for a confidential amount on Jan. 29. In 2001, Joshua Keasler, 25, was working at a Marilyn Manson concert in Detroit. Keasler was standing in front of the stage with his back toward the singer. During the show, Manson, on stage in a leather thong and pantyhose, grabbed Keasler from behind, wrapped his legs around his neck and gyrated against him. Keasler sued Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, for assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and wanton misconduct. Manson claimed the whole incident lasted less than two seconds. Keasler v. Warner, No. 2:2003CV72875 (W.D. Mich.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: John D. Nickola, Nickola & Nickola, Flint, Mich. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Howard Hertz, Hertz, Schram & Saretsky, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. CONSTRUCTION Impaled by a steel bar, worker due $86 million A New York construction company was ordered to pay more than $86 million to a worker who was severely injured on a job site. Frank Miraglia was navigating some parts of the site by walking on wooden planks. One of the planks collapsed, causing him to fall into a trench and land on a steel bar, which impaled his body and severed his spinal cord. He suffers from complete paralysis at and below the lumbar level. Miraglia brought an action under N.Y. Lab. Law � 240 against the site owner, H&L Holding Corp. The court found the planks constituted a labor law violation and granted Miraglia summary judgment. The state jury awarded him $86.7 million on Feb. 13, which included $55 million for pain and suffering. H&L was indemnified by Miraglia’s employer. Miraglia v. H & L Holding Corp., No. 25228/00 (Bronx Co., N.Y., Sup. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Steven L. Hess, Simonson Hess & Leibowitz, New York DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Steven J. Fried, Clausen Miller; Kevin G. McMorrow, Ahmuty, Demers & McManus, Albertson, N.Y. DEFAMATION Minister slams his sister, but isn’t guilty of slander A Houston church and its minister did not slander or defame the minister’s sister, a state court jury found on Feb. 5. Truzan Amos, 50, a former paralegal, sued her brother, Timothy Daniels, and the church, alleging that Daniels said that she abused illegal drugs and attempted to murder her husband. Daniels only admitted saying that Amos had stolen money from their mother’s estate and, as to this, asserted truth as a defense. Amos sued soon after learning, on her way to a funeral at the church, that she was barred from the premises. She sought $500,000 for emotional distress, mental anguish and loss of reputation. Amos v. Trinity Gardens Church of Christ, No. 2002-40492 (Harris Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: William J. Rice Jr., Rice and Associates, Houston DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jay T. Wilhite, George W. Wilhite & Associates, Houston INSURANCE Agent pockets money, woman wins $1.6 billion An Alabama woman who was duped into keeping up premium payments on a life insurance policy that had lapsed years earlier was awarded $1.62 billion against the company and the agent to whom she had made the payments. An state court jury handed down the verdict on Feb. 4. For more than five years, Carolyn Whittaker, a janitor, paid monthly premiums of $50 to Southwestern Life Insurance Co. agent James Perry, who pocketed the money. She sued Perry and Southwestern Life for fraud, and also sued the company for negligent hiring, arguing that a background check would have revealed that Perry had been previously sued-and hit with a $5 million verdict-for doing the same thing. The jury awarded $20 million in compensatory damages and $1.6 billion in punitives, but state caps limit punitives to three times compensatories. Whittaker v. Southwestern Life Ins. Co., No. CV-02-41 (Baldwin Co., Ala., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Jock M. Smith and Brian Strength, Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, Tuskegee, Ala. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Bruce F. Rogers, Bainbridge, Mims, Rogers & Smith, Bir-mingham, Ala.; George W. Walker, Copeland, Franco, Screws & Gill, Montgomery, Ala.; James Perry, pro se MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Surgeon found not liable for failure to diagnose A general surgeon who was alleged to have negligently failed to diagnose a case of appendicitis in a 10-year-old boy was found not liable by a California jury on Feb. 5. Plaintiff Michael Born, whose appendix ruptured before his appendicitis was diagnosed, contended that surgeon Charles Chidsey misdiagnosed his condition as gastroenteritis. Chidsey said Born’s condition was unusual because the rupture occurred before any inflammation and the CT scan did not pick up any evidence of appendicitis. Born v. Chidsey, No. PC028917 (Los Angeles Co., Calif., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: Mindy S. Bish, Sedin, Begakis & Bish, Glendale, Calif. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yuk K. Law, Bonne, Bridges, Mueller, O’Keefe & Nichols, Los Angeles MOTOR VEHICLE Run down by own truck, man can’t win damages A man who was run over by his own truck as it was being towed away was found 85% responsible-and thus not entitled to any damages-for his injuries by a Texas jury on Feb. 2. Robbin Hunt, 40, claimed he was trying to pay a “drop fee” to the wrecker driver, who suddenly took off. Hunt sustained two subdural hematomas and a broken jaw. T.J.’s Towing Service, found 15% at fault, claimed that Hunt gave chase and tried to jump into his truck. Hunt, who also sued the manager of his apartment building, claiming that he had permission to park in the space he was towed from, settled his claim against the building for $60,000. Hunt v. T.J.’s Towing Service, No. GN104087 (Travis Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Lloyd Robles and Nash Gonzales, Robles & Associates, Austin, Texas DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Melvin A. Krenek, Krenek & Heinemeyer, San Antonio; Robert M. Smith, San Antonio PREMISES LIABILITY Company not liable for injuries to electrician After an arbitrator awarded $1.54 million to an electrician hurt while working at an insurance company’s New Jersey facility, a state jury returned a defense verdict on Jan. 27. William Rossi, 36, a foreman for Diefenderfer Electric, climbed a ladder he had found in a closet and fell. He claimed ruptured neck ligaments, closed head injuries and other herniations. He sued New York Life Insurance Co., claiming that the ladder was unsound. New York Life argued that he should not have used supplies other than those provided by Diefenderfer and that the cause of his injuries was an accident that occurred while he was on vacation. Rossi v. New York Life Ins. Co., No. SOM-L-652-01 (Somerset Co., N.J., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Paul Caliendo, Gill & Chamas, Woodbridge, N.J. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: William Cunningham, Heim & McEnroe, Florham Park, N.J. PUBLIC UTILITIES Idaho Power to pay for harm to couple’s cows An Idaho jury awarded a couple whose cows were sickened by electrical current thrown off by a nearby transmission line $14.9 million, including a 15% reduction for comparative negligence, on Feb. 10. Michael and Susan Vierstra claimed their Twin Falls, Idaho, dairy was blighted by voltage escaping into the ground from Idaho Power Co. distribution lines. They argued that the utility’s failure to properly maintain the old lines caused the cows to die or produce less milk. Idaho Power contended that the problem was with the way the Vierstras wired the dairy, and that the cows got sick by a rampant staph infection. Vierstra v. Idaho Power Co., No. cv-00-3408 (D. Idaho). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: Ken M. Peterson, Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy, Wichita, Kan. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: David Brenner, Riddell Williams, Seattle; Lance Salladay, Boise, Idaho More information about these cases, as well as full reports on other verdicts and settlements, can be found in the VerdictSearch Publications or at www.VerdictSearch.com. To submit a case, call (800)352-8412, fax (212)313-9145 or use the form at http://www.verdictsearch.com/jv3_submit_a_case. For subscription information or jury verdict research, call (800)832-1900.

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