Summary Judgment for over $2.5 Million dollars in an “Insurance Bad Faith” case. Kissoondath v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co.,
The Kissoondath case is second in importance in Minnesota “Bad Faith” law only to the landmark Short v. Dairyland case. The insurance company in Kissoondath had refused to pay its $350,000 limits to my two clients who were injured in an automobile accident. Both clients had serious injuries when their parked car was struck by a taxi. However, the taxi driver claimed they were not even in the car when he hit it. It was clear that the jury did not believe him, and the insurance company’s attempt to minimize my clients’ serious injuries also backfired. The jury found their damages exceeded $2.2 million dollars. I subsequently brought a bad faith case against the insurance company, and after a reversal of an adverse jury verdict by the Minnesota Court of Appeals (because of a multitude of major errors by the trial judge), we moved for and were granted summary judgment. Kissoondath v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 620 N.W.2d 909 (Minn.App.2001), rev. denied (Minn. Apr. 17, 2001)(our original successful appeal of adverse jury verdict); Kissoondath v. United States Fire Ins. Co., 2002 WL 31749100(Minn.App. 2002), rev. denied, February 26, 2003 (affirmance of our summary judgment)
Summary Judgment for over $1 Million in an insurance “Bad Faith” case. Short v. Dairyland Insurance Co.
This case is, without question, Minnesota’s leading case on insurance "bad faith”. Injured persons and their attorneys rely upon this case to force insurance companies to pay claims they are responsible for, or face the consequences of being in “bad faith.”
In this case, a drunk driver (who also had not taken his "anti-blackout" medication) crossed the centerline and killed Donald Morin, a 40-year old husband, high wage earner, and father of five young children. The drunk driver had only $25,000 of liability coverage from Dairyland Insurance Company, and it was immediately clear he was at fault, and that the damages to Mr. Morin's family vastly exceeded his $25,000 limits. However, Dairyland’s adjuster tried to force the Morin family to take less than the full limits by misrepresenting the effect of Minnesota’s No-fault law and claiming they would get less if they sued their insured drunk driver. We did sue him, a jury awarded $745,000, and after the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed Summary Judgment, Dairyland had to pay, with interest, well over one million dollars. Short v. Dairyland Insurance Co., 334 N.W.2d 384 (Minn. 1984)
$1.2 Million Dollar Verdict for the death of a child.
The jury in this recent case rejected an insurance company’s attempt to blame the parent of a 2½ year old who was run over and killed by a motorist at a neighborhood “block party.” The insurance company claimed the parents were the cause of their son’s death because they allowing their child to be across the street with pre-teen girls who were watching him, but the jury rightly found the true cause was the motorist who was driving way too fast through this “block party” and had her radio so loud she could not hear the crowd screaming at here to stop. The jury instead placed all causal fault on the driver and awarded $1.2 million dollars in damages.
$3 Million Dollar settlements for two railroad employees.
Two crew members on a locomotive were killed when they were taking a train down a mainline track. The switches on the track were supposed to be “lined” so that they would continue on the mainline. However, the crew on another railroad had failed to do so. As a result, their train left the mainline and traveled down another track into a rail yard, where it ran into parked rail cars. The impact instantly killed both men
$950,000 settlement for railroad employee
Our clients were the family of a railroad conductor who was taken by a van out to a rural railroad crossing, where he was to replace another train crew. It was nighttime, and when the driver of their van reached the crossing, he crossed the tracks and pulled to the side, but still remained in the westbound lane of travel. When the rear doors of the van were opened, so the crew could get their equipment, they covered the flashing tail lights of the van, rendering the van invisible to other westbound drivers. A second vehicle, also proceeding westbound, could not see the stopped van. That driver was also driving under the influence. Our client was crushed between the two vehicles and died at the scene.
$2,153,479.36 verdict for PTSD Suffered by a Train Crew
This verdict was for two Locomotive Engineers who each suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They were operating a train on the mainline, but unbeknownst to them, a train ahead of them on an adjacent track was hauling a flat car where the load had come loose. The load that had come loose consisted of massive steel I-Beams, which were now pointed at my client’s oncoming train like spears. Our clients’ locomotive was ripped apart, but they fortunately did not suffer major physical injuries. However, each had PTSD that prevented them from returning to their longtime job as Engineers. The railroad tried to convince the jury that both men really were not injured, and could not be disable by a psychological injury. The jury strongly rejected the railroad’s defense, and awarded both men a combined amount of over $2 million dollars in damages.
$4 Million Dollar Settlement for Amputation
Our client in this case was a railroad conductor performing switching operations in a rail yard. His co-worker made an improper movement of a train, and caused the amputation.
$2.85 Million Dollar Settlement for Brain injury
Our client was injured in a motor vehicle accident with another vehicle that failed to yield to him. The insurance company argued that he had healed so well that no one could even tell he was brain injured, but we were able to show that his injury, while hidden, in fact had a profound effect on his life.
$2 Million Dollar Settlement for Spinal Surgeries and PTSD
Our client was a passenger in a railroad transport van that left the road in bad weather because the van’s tires were in such poor condition. We were able to get our investigator to the scene immediately, who confirmed the van’s tires were bald. He required cervical and lumbar surgery and also suffered from PTSD. While the railroad argued that his ongoing problems were not nearly as severe as we claimed, we ultimately were able to show with experts the severity of his injuries.
$1.2 Million dollar Settlement for Back Injury and PTSD.
This settlement was for a railroad engineer who was being transported by a van in bad weather. The driver lost control and the vehicle skidded out of control on its side before crashing. Our client had a non-operative lumbar disc injury and PTSD. Because our client had not undergone surgery, and his PTSD was not objectively diagnosable, the railroad strongly contested both injuries. The railroad refused to offer a fair amount, until we were nearly at the courthouse steps and the railroad could see we were prepared to go to trial.
$1 Million Dollar Settlement for multiple “crush injuries”
Our client was injured while working at a railcar repair facility, when a railcar came loose from a crane and crushed his torso and pelvis. He was working as a “ground man” in unloading two railcars brought in to the facility on trucks. The person in charge of the procedure attached hooks only to the center of each end of the car, creating a stability concern expressed by our client. However, the supervisor told our client to follow his instructions. Our client turned out to be correct, and the car indeed became unstable and struck our client. His torso, ribs and pelvis were crushed, and he also ended up with many surgical complications. The case was particular challenging because the defense sought to have the case governed by worker compensation, which would have greatly restricted the amount of money he could recover. We were successful in fighting off this attempt.
$1.25 Million Dollar Products Liability Settlement for Brain Injury
Our client in this case was a young girl who was a passenger in a car that was broadsided at high speed at an intersection by a driver who blew the red light. However, this driver had very low insurance limits. Because a product defect contributed to her injury, we were able to obtain a settlement for her for over one million dollars.
$780,000 settlement by young man for sexual abuse
Our client was a young man who was repeatedly sexually abused as a teenager. While the abuser went to jail, he was left with major psychological problems and needed money for ongoing treatment. The case involved complicated legal issues, including preventing the abuser from fraudulent transferring their only asset, an expensive home. Because no insurance covered the abuser’s conduct, we ultimately were able to get our client the only asset available, the abuser’s home. Our client then sold the home for over $780,000.
In addition to the specific settlement above, we have settled many cases for every injury imaginable, many in the high 6 figure range, including:
- Spinal Injuries
- Brain Injuries
- Eye Injuries
- PTSD and Other Psychological Injuries
- Jaw and TMJ Injuries
- Elbow, Knee and Shoulder Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Dog Bites and Attacks
We have spoken at seminars to educate other lawyers on topics too numerous to fully list here, including:
- All types of injuries, including PTSD and other psychological injuries
- TMJ injuries
- Punitive Damages
- Form of Releases (Loy-Tiegen, Drake And Miller-Shugart)
- No-Fault Issues
- Products Liability Issues
- Insurance Coverage Issues
- Insurance Bad Faith
- Negligent Hiring and Retention
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