Congratulations to John Walker on his admission to the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel. FDCC membership is limited, selective, about 1,400 members, and by nomination only of lawyers who have distinguished themselves professionally, who are of high professional standing and of good moral character. Members are: practicing lawyers who devote a substantial amount of their professional time to the representation of insurance companies, associations or other corporations, or others, in the defense of civil litigation; and corporate counsel engaged in the administration of defense of claims or for insurance companies, associations or corporations who have national, regional or company-wide responsibility for a company of greater than local significance.
The litigation team of Mark Novotny, Nancy Pont and Shelli Eden, after a two week trial, obtained a defense verdict after one and one-half hours of jury deliberations. The case was a complicated matter dealing with the effect of anticoagulation medication in a patient with chronic atherosclerotic vessel disease, diabetes, elevated PSA and a fem-pop venous graft.
LDM partners Bill Lamson, Bill Settles, and Jason Grams recently won an important victory for health care providers in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The case involved a claim of medical malpractice made against a midwife and local hospital by the parents of a neurologically injured child. After a jury verdict of $17 million, the trial court reduced the verdict to $1,750,000 pursuant to Nebraska’s statutory damages cap in medical malpractice cases. The parents appealed, arguing that Nebraska’s damages cap violates the 7th Amendment’s right to jury trial, the 5th Amendment’s takings clause, and the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process. Partners Lamson, Settles, and Grams were appointed Special Assistant Attorneys General to defend the constitutionality of the statute on behalf of the State of Nebraska. A unanimous panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected each of the parents’ arguments, and held that Nebraska’s medical malpractice damages cap does not violate the United States Constitution. LDM congratulates all who contributed to this very important result, which assures that health care in Nebraska will remain available and affordable for the foreseeable future.
The Association of American Railroads (“AAR”) held its 2017 Advanced Claims School in Overland Park, Kansas from Monday, May 8, 2017 through Friday, May 12, 2017. This week long school provided educational and training opportunities for AAR claims professionals with three (3) or more years of experience in the railroad industry. Several presenters were invited to teach courses to advance the skills and knowledge of claims representatives from varying railroads, including: Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway Company, Kansas City Southern Railroad, The Norfolk & Western Railway Company, Amtrak, Canadian National, etc.
Among the presenters were Partner Kyle Wallor and Associate Michael L. Storey of Lamson, Dugan & Murray, LLP. Mr. Wallor presented on Jury Selection and the Reptile Theory. The presentation on Jury Selection addressed the challenges and realities of the selection process and effective ways for claims professionals to assist with the selection process considering social media’s pervasive presence and rapid expansion. Mr. Wallor also discussed techniques of the Reptile theory and its potential impact on lawsuits against railroad entities.
Mr. Storey gave a presentation entitled “Strategic and Tactical Uses of Motion Practice.” The presentation discussed the use of dispositive motions, as well as motions in limine, to secure favorable outcomes for the railroads and how claims professionals can maximize their role in that process.
LDM partners Cathy S. Trent-Vilim and Daniel P. Chesire recently obtained a victory for their client – without conducting any discovery in the case and short of obtaining a ruling from the court on the client’s pending motion for summary judgment. The case involved a claim brought by an injured party, individually and as personal representative of the spouse’s estate, related to injuries from a fire. The accidental fire killed one spouse and caused burn injuries to the other. The suit was filed against the insurer of the property owner who owned the building where the fire occurred. Based on the allegations in the pleading, LDM attorneys filed a motion for summary judgment, in lieu of an answer, and a motion to stay discovery pending the outcome of the motion. The summary judgment motion was premised on issues related to standing, liability and coverage. LDM argued that even assuming the facts in the complaint to be true, the insurer was still entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In response, the plaintiff moved to amend the complaint. After the hearing on the motions, the plaintiff opted to voluntarily dismiss the suit with prejudice. She also voluntarily dismissed a companion case that had been brought against the insurance agent who had sold the policy. There, service had been perfected but no answer had been filed and no discovery had yet taken place.