Every year, The National Law Journal publishes an annual look at the largest verdicts and jury awards in the nation known as the Top 100 Verdicts list. We at Arnold & Itkin are proud to have one of our cases included on the list for the second time in three years. Our work on behalf of our client, a crane accident victim, resulted in a $44MM verdict. This case result now ranks as the 43rd-largest verdict in the U.S. for 2015.
Our Client’s Story
Our client, Tyler Lee, was working as a construction superintendent in Houston, TX for Berkel & Company. They were using a LS-248 Link Belt crane owned by Maxim Crane. On the day of the accident, the crane operator and the foreman were using the crane for deep foundation drilling. The auger became stuck so the foreman instructed the crane operator to attempt to unstick it. The crane operator warned the site superintendent that attempting to unstick the auger with the crane could lead to catastrophic consequences.
Regardless, the superintendent asked him to continue.
When he attempting to continue drilling, the operator again warned the superintendent that something was wrong with the crane and they should stop. In total, the crane operator voiced 5 warnings to the foreman, who urged the operator to keep manipulating the auger regardless. On one of the last attempts, Tyler was standing behind a safety fence about 100 feet away from where the drilling was taking place. As he stood there, the crane failed and collapsed, causing heavy equipment to fall onto Tyler. The equipment was so heavy that first responders required a second crane to pull the equipment off of him. The fallen equipment so thoroughly crushed Tyler’s leg that doctors at a nearby hospital were forced to amputate his leg above the knee.
How We Secured the 43rd-Largest Verdict in the Nation
When Arnold & Itkin took on the case, we immediately began gathering expert testimony and other crucial evidence. In just over nine months, our Houston personal injury lawyers conducted nearly 30 depositions to prepare the case. The defendants, however, made no offer for a year and a half.
The day before trial, they finally provided a settlement offer—but it was far lower than what Tyler needed to take care of himself for the rest of his life. Our client refused the offer, putting his faith in our case.
Over a 3-week trial, Attorney Kurt Arnold presented Tyler’s case, tying together months of research, eyewitness testimony, and fact-finding into a compelling, powerful narrative. He presented evidence that the defendant refused to obey safety regulations in order to make their deadlines, choosing profitability over safety. In the end, the jury sided with our client, awarding $44 million—far more than was originally offered to settle.
This Selection Matters
These verdict are not just notches on our wall—they are resources that go toward helping our clients deal with lifelong injuries, receive the medical treatment they need, and make up for lost earnings. Our clients often have families with educational, medical, and other vital costs that an injury might have taken from them. These verdicts ensure that our clients will have a secure financial future for the rest of their lives and then some.
The last time we won a place on the Top 100 Verdicts list, it was for a young woman who was injured in an ambulance crash, resulting in severe brain injury and physical disability. Our work on her behalf resulted in a $117 million verdict that now pays for 24/7 medical care, as well as for her daughter’s future.
It is stories like these that remind us of what these verdicts accomplish and what they mean. It’s why our inclusion on The National Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts of 2015 list not only makes us proud, but honored—honored to have helped take care of these people’s lives in a significant and permanent way.