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Jury Awards $10 Million for Workplace Death

Photo of Brant Stogner
An Alabama jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before awarding an Alabama woman $10 million in damages for the death of her husband in a workplace accident in 2008. The woman's husband was killed when he fell about 150 feet while helping paint a water tank. The woman sued her husband's employer for negligence and failing to provide a safe working environment. As the general contractor for the job site, the widow argued that her deceased husband's employer was responsible for workplace safety. The jury agreed.
After an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it was revealed that there were multiple safety violations at the water tank work site. In his closing argument, counsel for the Plaintiff asked the jurors to return a verdict that would send a message to all employers that they must provide a safe working environment for employees. The jury returned its verdict and sent that message to the tune of $10 million dollars.
Sadly, in a down economy, employers are cutting back on their safety training, programs, and equipment. This comes at the expense of the workers who are also trying to survive the downturn and provide for their families. In the end, it is commonplace for the employer to put profits over people. The only thing that even exists to deter such practices is the jury. This jury sent a message that if you are going to cut costs on safety, and one of your workers gets injured or killed as a result, you better be prepared to answer to a jury.

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  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

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    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

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