Civil Case Examples

Civil Recoveries and Awards

We are especially proud of some of the substantial verdicts and settlements which we have obtained on behalf of our clients over the years.  These recoveries are the best evidence we can give that our clients confidence in serious matters has been justified by strong results.  All of the verdicts, awards and settlements were obtained in Ocean County, which has a reputation for conservative juries.

1. Government Litigation
$6 + Million     Judgment Entered after Jury verdict.  This case involved the condemnation of a substantial tract of land by the County of Ocean.  The County’s offer was only 2.4 million. The jury rejected the testimony of the County’s expert appraiser despite the fact that the owner had entered into a contract for the amount of the County’s offer.  The case was tried to verdict by Richard S. Haines.

2. Construction Accident-Broken Back
$672,000.00 * Jury verdict.  The plaintiff here was on top of a scaffold which collapsed and caused him to fall to a concrete floor, resulting in fractures to his back and heels.  He had multiple surgeries and a “Harrington Rod” was inserted into his back to support his spine.  The jury rejected the argument of the general contractor who argued that the subcontractor was responsible for the scaffold set-up, which would have resulted in no verdict since the subcontractor-employer would have been immune to suit under the workers compensation law.  The case was tried to verdict and successfully defended on appeal by Richard S. Haines, assisted by Steven E. Yost.

3. Slip & Fall Down-Fracture & Nerve Damage
$650,000.00 * Jury verdict.  The liability in this case was hotly contested as the plaintiff fell on the concrete porch of a homeowner who was related by marriage.  The fall was caused by a worn down “welcome” mat which was in plain view and which the plaintiff had seen and walked over on a number of prior visits.  The plaintiff suffered a fractured elbow and ulnar nerve injury to her non dominant arm and hand, which resulted in multiple surgeries and some deformity of the fingers.  The insurance coverage was limited to $300,000.00 and a “Rova Farms” bad faith insurance demand was made prior to the trial. The defendant’s insurance company offered $85,000.00 prior to trial.  The case was tried to an “excess” verdict by Steven E. Yost, who also defended/argued the verdict successfully on appeal and on certification application to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

4. Truck/Rigging Accident-Multiple Facial Fractures & Brain Injury
$2,300,00.00 Arbitration Award. Individual assisting friend move a 3,750 lb. jewelry safe onto a flatbed truck had the improperly "rigged" safe topple over during its transfer onto the truck, causing the safe to "pin" the plaintiff's head against a wall. The plaintiff suffered significant fractures to multiple bones within his face and other debilitating injuries, including brain and nerve damage. Richard S. Haines and Steven E. Yost jointly handled the case and presented the arbitration.

5. Knock Down Accident-Hip and Knee Replacement
$1,000,000.00 Gross Arbitration Award. The plaintiff and her husband were vacationing with in-laws at a resort in the Carribean Islands when the very large male in-law failed to make proper observations, lost his balance on a set of stairs and "ran over" and fell on top of the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered a fractured hip which required a partial hip replacement, as well as a knee injury which required several surgeries and ultimately a knee replacement. Steven E. Yost presented the arbitration.

6. Elder Law-Fraud Exposed & Assets Recovered
$550,000.00.  Judgment Awarded after Trial.  Niece of elderly aunt who gained her trust wrongfully conveyed the homestead to herself and her husband, depriving other heirs of their rightful inheritance.  During the discovery process prior to trial it was discovered that an additional $200,000.00 in cash and stock had been fraudulently transferred by the defendants. Judgment leading to the recovery of the assets was obtained by Richard S. Haines.

7. Hotel Liability-Brain Injury
$475,000.00 - Settlement.  The plaintiff here was a European immigrant who had a stair tread break off under his feet at a local motor lodge.  He struck the back of his head on the concrete stair. Plaintiff suffered a serious closed head injury which caused short term memory loss and emotional difficulty, and he was no longer able to perform his job as a union plumber in New York City.  The case settled after a large non-binding arbitration award.  Steven E. Yost handled the case.

8. Business Dispute-Contract Breach & Fraud
$316,000.00   Jury verdict.  This case involved a business dispute regarding stock subscriptions, contract(s), alleged loans and a number of frauds.  Our client’s adversary was confronted on the witness stand with a check which he had altered and which we had obtained by aggressive discovery from a third party. The case was tried and successfully defended on appeal by Steven E. Yost.

9. Parking Lot Fall-Elbow Fracture w. Surgery & Arthritis 
$304,285.00 * Jury verdict. The plaintiff here fractured the elbow on her non-dominant arm when she fell on stones in a condominium parking lot.  She had multiple fractures which required a metal plate and screws being inserted into her arm, and she developed some arthritis in the joint.  The condominium association which was responsible for maintaining the parking lot was insured by a large insurance company who refused to offer any money to settle the case. There was no appeal. The case was tried by Steven E. Yost.

10. Tavern Negligence & Products Liability-Brain Injury
$300,000.00     Trial/settlement.   This case involved minors who were passengers in a station wagon which had a head-on collision with a drunk driver.  The drivers truck was modified by a “lift-kit” which raised the height of the truck and the truck “over-rode” the station wagon, pushing down its roof.  One particular minor had skull fractures and brain damage which was superimposed over a previous diminished capacity condition.  The drunk driver had minimal insurance.  The case was a combined motor vehicle accident, dram-shop and products liability case. The case settled with the tavern just prior to the jury opening and an additional settlement was reached with the lift kit manufacturer after five days of trial.  Steven E. Yost tried the case.

11. Business Dispute-Franchise Misrepresentation
$242,000.00     Binding arbitration award.  This action involved an eastern seaboard food franchisor who set up a franchisee with a sub shop in a western city located approximately 1,500 miles from the nearest other store. The Franchise agreement did not contain any language to protect the franchisee, who relied upon oral promises, and had quit his job and sold his house and liquidated his life savings to buy and set up the store.  We proved plaintiff’s case at a binding arbitration hearing through the use of news articles and the franchisors own internet web site articles, which contradicted the testimony of the franchises chief executive officer that no promises had ever been made to set up other stores in the area which would have made distribution of specialty foods viable and assisted in publicizing the store.  The arbitration was tried by Steven E. Yost.

12. Automobile Accident-Facial Scars & Fractures
$240,000.00     Settlement.  This action involved a passenger who had been bar hopping and drinking alcohol with the driver of the car, when they were involved in a frontal accident.  Our client suffered multiple facial fractures and some scarring but was otherwise making a good recovery when the case settled.  Steven E. Yost handled the case.

13. Railroad Accidents-Crushed Foot & Chest Nerve Injuries  
$225,000.00 and $135,000.00.  Settlement and Trial.  These two separate but similar railroad accidents occurred when train cars were being unloaded at a local lumber yard.  In both cases the handbrake failed and the car ran away with our client riding the car, which then collided with a second car. In the first case, the plaintiff’s foot was partially crushed in the coupler. In the second case, the plaintiff’s chest was partially crushed between the two rail cars. Liability was contested by the carrier in both cases, which fell under the FELA or Federal Employees Liability Act.  In both cases the clients were able to resume their occupations as truck drivers, although they continued to have some limitations with their foot and shoulder, respectively.  Richard S. Haines handled the first and tried the second case, assisted by Steven E. Yost on both cases.

14. Automobile/Assault-Leg Fracture & Surgery
$200,000.00     Binding arbitration award.  This action was an automobile accident/assault which occurred when the teenage plaintiff, who had been drinking, was partially run over by a friend in a car who was trying to break up a fight.  He suffered a fractured femur which required surgery and the implantation of a plate and screws to set the break. The matter was resolved by binding arbitration at a UIM or underinsured motorist hearing, with credit being given to the UIM carrier for an earlier settlement by the drivers insurance company, and some contributory negligence being assessed against the plaintiff.  The arbitration was tried by Steven E. Yost

15. Machine Accident-Crushed Hand
$150,000.00     Settlement.  The plaintiff here was a middle-eastern immigrant restaurant employee.  He got his hand caught in a commercial dough mixing machine and suffered a dislocation fracture which required multiple surgeries.  The claim was against the manufacturer of the mixer, alleging a defect in the product, which did not have a guard to prevent one’s hand from being inserted into the mixer. The case was handled by Steven E. Yost, assisted by Richard S. Haines.

16. Insurance Bad Faith Refusal to Settle 
$142,000.00     Settlement.  This claim was for insurance “bad faith” when a defendants insurance carrier recognized their significant exposure for wrongfully refusing to settle their insured/defendants case with a plaintiff represented by us who had won a verdict at trial (which greatly exceeded the defendants insurance coverage).  Our plaintiff took an assignment of the defendants claim against their own insurance company.  The carrier paid our client prior to a lawsuit even being filed, shortly after their insured lost their appeal and request for certification from the State Supreme Court.  Steven E. Yost handled the claim, assisted by Richard S. Haines.

17. Dog Bite-Facial Scars
$85,000.00.     Structured Settlement.  This case involved a young boy who was bitten in the face by a small dog.  The insurance carrier for the defendant tried to defend the case by claiming that the child had been teasing the animal, when the proofs developed showed that the boy had only been trying to kiss the dog. The scars were largely resolved prior to trial and we were able to work out a structured settlement which paid money to the child during his college and house buying years.

18.  Consumer Fraud
This claim involved the sale of a large telephone system to a large commercial client. The salesman for the telephone company made representations that the system would be covered for a full year which included all parts and labor for any problem that arose during that year.  Despite that, when the telephone was installed, a week later a letter was purportedly sent disclaiming the warranty for all kinds of conditions including lightning strikes, power surges, weather related incidents and other various causes.  The client had all kinds of trouble with the phone system including complete inability to make or receive calls. 14 service calls were required during the first nine months of the warranty period.  The phone company charged the client for each of those service calls at exorbitant rates which totaled an amount approximately double what the original system cost.  When the client refused to pay, the phone company sued claiming $11,000 for repair bills.  Mr. Haines, on behalf of the client, counterclaimed for treble damages and attorneys fees.  The original phone system cost $5500.00; however, after the case was initially mistried, the phone company settled the counterclaim by payment to the client of $37,500.00.

* Note these are “gross” damage verdicts which were reduced by some “comparative” negligence assessment against the plaintiffs, by the juries in the case.  The first two awards so noted were reduced by 30%, while the last award was reduced by 45%, and the trial judge “molded” the award accordingly.