Decades of personal injury experience sometimes build a practice with the potential for mega-verdicts that can change lives forever. The following are the Top Five results from trial attorney P. Christopher Guedri. Chris Guedri is a Partner and litigator with the personal injury firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. He was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America 2014-15 in Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs in Richmond, VA.
1. Jones v. Moen – Verdict: $23,000,000.00
The victim in this case was a tractor trailer driver who lost a leg and suffered a traumatic brain injury after rear-ending another truck. The plaintiff will require care for the rest of his life, and will never be able to return to the career or standard of living he had before the accident. The truck at fault had been stopped for nine minutes on the shoulder of I-95, and pulled back out into the travel lane going only 25 miles per hour. The combination of the plaintiff’s horrific injuries and the defendant’s reckless and unacceptable behavior resulted in one of the largest verdicts in the history of the Commonwealth.
2. Cousins v. Food Lion LLC – Verdict: $5,000,000.00
This case involves a 64 year old woman who was at Food Lion doing her shopping when she was struck by an employee pushing restocking cart. Investigation would later reveal that the cart was hugely overloaded to the point that the employee could not see where they were going. The impact knocked the plaintiff to the ground, where she hit her head and suffered a massive traumatic brain injury. Prior to the accident this college-educated woman was gainfully employed and caring for herself. After the injury she suffered severe loss of cognitive function in almost every aspect of her life and required 24 hour continuous care. For years that care was provided by her daughter and granddaughter because the family couldn’t afford full-time professional care.
This was a very difficult verdict. The first time it came up before a jury they found that the plaintiff had contributed to her own accident, and therefore there should be no compensation. That decision had to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Virginia before it was reversed. The second trial resulted in a 5 million dollar verdict, money that can provide the lifetime of care the plaintiff now requires.
3. Lomax’s Administrator v. Greyhound Bus Lines – Verdict: $3,719,358.86
This case involves the death of a 66 year old retired college professor struck by a bus while crossing the street. The driver claimed not to see her despite the bright day and her vibrant purple jacket. Her husband was shopping in another store just down the street, and walked outside to meet his wife for lunch just in time to see the crowd gathering around the scene of the accident.
The victim suffered multiple head traumas and brain injuries as well as a fracture of her right eye orbit. She lingered in a nursing home for three and a half months before succumbing to her injuries. Greyhound finally admitted its liability two days before trial, and by the morning of they were offering two million. This offer was rejected, and the jury was presented with the case. Jurors later cited testimony from the deceased’s family regarding her power and presence in their lives as a major factor of their evaluation of the case at 3.7 million.
4. Shelton v. Puryear and Slurry Pavers – Verdict: $3,209,206.35
This case arose from negligent handling of cement. A driver was transporting bags of cement across Richmond without securing them properly. Along the way he lost three bags, the third of which was hit by a car. This created a dense cloud of white cement dust, reducing visibility to only a few feet.
The victim heavily reduced her speed upon entering the cloud, and as a result was rear-ended by a truck driver that took his foot off the accelerator but didn’t apply the brakes. The victim’s car was pushed more than 300 feet down the road. She was taken to MCV, but doctors pronounced her brain dead and her family made the decision to remove life support.
Prior to trial the cement company and trucking company were offering a combined $1.75 million. It only took one hour for the jury to find the cement company alone liable for $3.2 million, including the awards to the woman’s husband and each of her children. This verdict represents the largest wrongful-death award ever returned in Richmond, Virginia.
5. Shutts v. Magnolia Enterprises LLC – Verdict: $1,000,000.00
The victim in this final case was injured when going to repair a leaking axle seal on his truck. The tire shop he had recently had the truck serviced at installed the wrong type and size of tire, then inflated it well beyond industry safety standards. As a result the tire exploded, lacerating and fracturing both of the victim’s hands.
The victim underwent months of surgery and physical therapy to repair the damage, yet still suffered a major loss of dexterity and ability in both hands. As a result, he is no longer able to pursue his chosen career in the family construction business. An award like this cannot compensate for such severe and permanent injuries, but it can help the victim move forward and establish stability as he heals and recovers.
The amount of money at stake in these cases causes the defense to argue and negotiate every aspect of the case with uncommon vigor. However, these situations are about more than big money; they impact the plaintiffs for the rest of their lives. The huge numbers associated with verdicts like the ones on this list represent unimaginable and permanent pain and suffering. Gaining fair compensation for these victims was essential for them to move forward after their accident and injuries. Christopher Guedri’s ability to master complex technical and medical evidence makes him a strong litigator for his clients.
Verdicts in all cases depend on various factors and circumstances which are unique to each case. Therefore, past results in cases are not a guarantee or prediction of similar results in future case which a lawyer may undertake.