Good News For Our Clients
After retiring from a long blue-collar career, our client and his wife got the chilling news that he had mesothelioma. This was around Father’s Day of 2014. When our client’s doctors told him the only cause of mesothelioma was exposure to asbestos, he was left wondering how that could have happened. The two of them had each other and a family to think about, so they decided to fight the disease and for their right be compensated for damages.
When our client and his wife first met with attorneys from SWMW Law several weeks after his diagnosis, they told us that they had figured out that if he passed away from his mesothelioma and she kept working, she’d need only $250,000 to make ends meet.
SWMW lawyers then interviewed them and learned that he began working in the early 1970s as an electrician and maintenance mechanic at several steel mills. Then for over a decade in the 1980s and 1990s, he worked as a vehicle and heavy equipment mechanic for a regional road construction contractor. It was clear to SWMW attorneys that our client had experienced significant occupational exposure to asbestos in these jobs. Beyond that, our client was an avid amateur-racing enthusiast and had been exposed to asbestos while performing hundreds of brake and clutch jobs on his and his friends’ cars in the 1960s and 1970s. After working to piece together the numerous asbestos exposures he experienced in his career and personal life, he and his wife understood that there were many companies that had contributed to cause our client’s mesothelioma.
In September and October 2014, our client worked with SWMW Law to give several days of deposition testimony, sacrificing precious remaining time with his family to make sure that Janet, his kids, and generations of his family to come would benefit from his completely unnecessary asbestos-related death. Despite wanting to make it to one last Christmas in 2014 for his family, our client unfortunately lost his fight and his family lost their husband, father, and hero just before Thanksgiving, a mere five months after being diagnosed.
Even though the family told us they needed only $250,000 for her to get by on her own, we knew they were entitled to more. We fought hard for our client and his family, and to date, the companies responsible have been made to pay settlements to the family for over $2.5 million, with total settlements expected to reach approximately $3 million.
In early November 2011, our clients and their two young children were travelling to a birthday party along a two-lane highway in Madison County, IL, when a tow truck suddenly crossed the center line and struck their minivan on the driver’s side. The husband suffered serious injuries and had to be airlifted to a hospital in St. Louis. After two major surgeries, he faced a long and difficult road to recovery while knowing that his way of life on his working family farm would never be the same. When the insurance company’s promise of a quick and easy settlement never materialized, SWMW Law was hired to file a lawsuit and to aggressively pursue justice for the family. After several months of trial preparation, SWMW Law – led by Joe Kusmierczak and Steve Wohlford and co-counsel Todd Nissenholtz – secured a settlement for an amount just under policy limits, which also included waiver of a significant lien.
On September 22, 2015, SWMW Law successfully appealed a court’s decision that denied our client, Kaye Bergstrom, her wrongful death claim against Welco Manufacturing Company.
Kaye’s husband, David Bergstrom, had previously testified that he worked as a drywaller installing Welco’s joint compounds over the course of his thirty-plus year career in Minnesota beginning in the 1960s. However, the trial court ruled that our client did not have sufficient evidence to present a case to the jury.
Mr. Bergstrom later passed away. We worked together with co-counsel, Charles Valles, to successfully persuade the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, to reverse the trial court’s ruling. They ordered the trial judge to allow Mrs. Bergstrom to have her day in court. We have now finalized the case.
After recovering settlements of nearly $700,000 for our mesothelioma client, Jeanette Poage, we won a hard-fought two-week trial in St. Louis, MO, on July 2, 2015, with an $11,500,000 verdict for Mrs. Poage’s loss of her husband, James Poage. The jury found Crane Co. liable for the death of her husband and awarded her $1,500,000 in compensatory damages and another $10,000,000 in punitive damages.
This decision was affirmed on all points by a unanimous decision of three justices. The entire damage report was upheld for $10.8 million in settlements.
James Poage served honorably in the US Navy as a machinist mate from 1954 to 1958, where he was exposed to asbestos. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2013 and passed away in May 2014.
The team of attorneys on Mrs. Poage’s case from SWMW Law were Ben Schmickle and Lauren Boaz, who worked with attorneys from Trammell, PC and Bailey Peavey Bailey, along with many hard-working, sleep-deprived support staff. While Crane Co. has filed an appeal, we are confident our outstanding appellate team will prevail.
SWMW Law worked with co-counsel to help secure settlements of nearly $2,000,000 for our client, Lawrence Foreman, before we obtained a verdict for $6,000,000 in February 2014. The jury found Sid Harvey Industries, Inc. liable for $4,000,000 and Nibco, Inc. liable for $2,000,000 for causing Mr. Foreman’s mesothelioma. The verdict against Sid Harvey Industries, Inc. was upheld on appeal in September 2015.
Mr. Foreman worked as a plumber/pipefitter in numerous states along the eastern seaboard. He worked with a number of asbestos-containing products, including insulation, gaskets, packing, pumps, valves, boilers, steam traps.
Joe Kusmierczak and Lauren Boaz were the primary trial attorneys from SWMW Law, and they worked with attorneys from Karst VonOiste, along with many other attorneys, paralegals and support staff. Total settlements in the case have now reached nearly $3 million.