Jerome Schlichter has Top Jury Verdict for State of Missouri in 2007
(For more details on the original Angela Martin, et al v. Survivair Respirators Inc., et al case click here)
Top verdicts half of what they were in 2006
by Will Connaghan and Heather Cole
Whether due to tort reform or some other influence, it gets harder every year for trial lawyers to win big verdicts and settlements for their clients.
The total for last year's top 10 verdicts for plaintiffs - $60.8 million - is less than half of the top 10 total for 2006. The top 10 settlements for 2007 totaled $66.7 million, which is down from $80 million in 2006.
Like in 2006, the top Missouri jury verdict last year came out of St. Louis Circuit Court. In the wrongful death case of Angela Martin, et al v. Survivair Respirators Inc., et al, the jury returned a $27 million verdict in favor of the family of a firefighter who died on the job because of faulty safety equipment. The jury awarded $12 million in actual damages to the family and $15 million in punitive damages to the family.
The lead plaintiff attorney in the case, Jerry Schlichter, said one of the key issues in the case had to do with the defendants' decision not to inform fire departments about safety concerns with their breathing equipment.
"In fact, they affirmatively represented to safety auditors that the malfunctions were an isolated occurrence when in fact it was a common occurrence," Schlichter said.
(For the complete story, click on the PDF below to read or download a copy of the Missouri Lawyers Weekly article.)