PERSONAL INJURY CASES
Abrams Landau has a distinguished track record in successfully trying personal injury cases. Below is a listing of some of the cases that have earned Douglas Landau his well-deserved reputation. Please contact us to further discuss any of these cases or your own.
Motor Vehicle Cases:
- Fleeter vs. Cawthorn - bicyclist struck by a young driver
- Alexander vs. DoubleTree Hotel, et alia - negligently secured wheelchair-bound passenger thrown down in van
- Thompson vs. Shertler - dangerous U-turn
- Christel vs. Knipple - disregarded red light injuring nurse
- Soults v. Owen Corporation - trucker's limited visibility
- Gourguechon vs. Everhard - pedestrian struck by police trainee
- Motor Vehicle Accident - 3-car crash - minor suffered catastrophic brain damage (1.25 million settlement)
- Motley vs. Kirby - minor injured by airbags in 3-car crash
- Jackson vs. Payton - rear-end crash into truck (arbitration)
- Phillips vs. Baird Concrete Corp. - hit and run - brain injury to minor
- Hoffman vs. Sinclair - NoVa CC professor's bicycle struck
Premises Liability Cases:
- Miller vs. Southland Corporation - store parking lot trip and fall
- Taylor vs. Doe Hospital - ankle broken in hospital parking lot
- Teklu vs. Colonial Parking and Travelers Insurance Company, O.W.C. - parking lot attendant shot by robbers
- Reese vs. M.W.A.A. - senior flight attendant ejected from seat on airport ground transportation bus
- Rudnick vs. Peterson - dog bites minor on the lip
- Sisk vs. A. H. Robins - PhenFen - diet drugs caused nurse's heart damage) - one of first in US, featured on 60 minutes
- Greenwood vs. Harris - elderly woman injured in broadside collision
- Charles Ergetta vs. I. M. P. Productions, etc. - rock concert roustabout's foot runover by forklift
- Howell vs. Hagan - minor injured when neighbor's child shot BB gun
MOTOR VEHICLE CASES:
FLEETER VS. CAWTHORN
Court: Circuit Court of Loudoun County, Virginia
Docket No. Law No. 28808
Injuries alleged: Broken ankle, abrasions
Verdict or Settlement: Settled for $60,000
Plaintiff's Counsel: Douglas Landau, ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., Herndon, Virginia
Facts: Plaintiff was cycling with friends in Loudoun County on an early morning, weekend training ride. The Defendant struck one of the group (causing minor injuries), did not stop and then struck the plaintiff, causing him to hit the roadway, break his expensive European bike and fracture his ankle. The Defendant denied contact, but the plaintiff's witness had her side mirror!
Liability / Damages: Liability was contested, since this is a narrow, rolling two-lane roadway near Watson Road where there are many accidents each year. However, the Defendant was returning home in the early morning after visiting her boyfriend and had struck another cyclist in the group before the plaintiff. The plaintiff had pins in his ankle and a surgical scar. There were $18,038.88 in medical specials, wage loss of $24,055.67 and property damage $3,520.79. The plaintiff returned to work shortly after the accident, had a stellar year and even rode his recumbent bike to the Traffic Court hearing.
Plaintiff: Dr. Raymond Thal, Town Center Orthopaedics, Reston, VA
Special Comments: Scene depositions of the Defendant and the investigating officer helped preserve the topography for the jury at trial. It also enabled measurements to be taken of the width of the roadway and vehicles. The court upheld this unusual strategem despite objections by the Defendant's counsel. While more expensive, a deposition at the scene of an accident can help to give the jury and trial judge a view of the place where the events in question occurred.
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ALEXANDER VS. DOUBLETREE HOTEL, ET ALIA - HOTEL VAN ACCIDENT INVOLVING WHEELCHAIR BOUND PASSENGER
Court: U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division
Docket No. CA03-887-A
Injuries alleged: Laceration to scalp and re-injury to quadraplegic's cervical spine
Tried before: Retired Chief Judge of the Fairfax County, Virginia Circuit Court Judge Bruce Bach, via the Mccammon Mediation Group
Verdict or Settlement: Settled for $180,000 at Mediation in Herndon
Plaintiff's Counsel: Douglas Landau, Abrams Landau, Ltd., Herndon, Virginia and Stephen Lewis, Covington, Patrick, Hagins, Stern & Lewis, Greenville, South Carolina
Facts: Plaintiff was a guest at the DoubleTree Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. She had just given a presentation at a conference on safe decisions for teens. Defendant hotel staff summoned their special, handicap access van for this wheelchair bound guest, paralyzed from the neck down since 1979, to go sightseeing.
The uniformed driver of the hotel van, negligently loaded his disabled passenger, failed to secure her and negligently operated the vehicle. Once underway, the plaintiff started to roll back. The action of the van caused the wheelchair to become airborne. Despite the statements of other passengers, the driver did not stop, and the plaintiff was thrown back and, out of reach of her traveling companions, was flipped over, toppling upside down and into the rear van wall where she sustained a laceration to her scalp, and re-injury to her neck.
For her work at a major university, the plaintiff traveled extensively. Subsequent to the accident, she was unable to return to her rigorous travel and work schedule. Even though the University was very generous, the graphical representation of her leave showed an increase of 185% since this accident.
Liability / Damages: Liability was contested, there was no police investigation as the driver never stopped or called for help. He was no longer employed by the Defendant. Medical expenses claimed total $26,500.00 and wage loss $10,640.00.
Defense: Dr. Johnson, South Eastern Neurology, SC
Plaintiff: Dr. Jerry Williams, Neurology Consultants of Greenville, SC
Special Comments: The case presented several unusual issues. The very high standard of care for common carrier liability was not available because of a specific Virginia statute on point. The plaintiff's catastrophic pre-existing condition enabled defense counsel to argue that much of her post accident treatment in Carolina and Colorado, after the initial hospital visit in Virginia, would have been incurred even without this incident. While the liability case against the hotel was strong, there was almost no objective support for any physical injury apart from the head laceration. Nevertheless, the plaintiff and her witnesses made an excellent impression, and computer graphics of what happens to a paralyzed vehicle occupant enabled the experienced Mediator to better understand the dynamics of this one vehicle accident. Graphs of the plaintiff professor's travel, speaking and fundraising before and after this event also help prove up her damages.
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THOMPSON VS. SHERTLER - DANGEROUS U-TURN
Circuit Court, Fairfax County, Virginia
At Law No: L201773
Injuries alleged: C7 radiculopathy, pre-existing condition
Verdict or Settlement: Settled for $90,000 during discovery
Facts: Defendant pulled out from a parked position and struck plaintiff on Backlick Road.
Liability / Damages: Liability seemed clear as the Defendant appeared to be making a dangerous U-turn. Self-employed plaintiff carpenter had no wage loss claim, as he had returned to work shortly after the accident. Medical specials totaled $22,000 and plaintiff now appears to be in excellent health.
Special Comments: Issues involving the claimant's related New Jersey workers compensation claim and having seen 15 health care providers militated toward the settling of this case.
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CHRISTEL VS. KNIPPLE - DISREGARDED RED LIGHT
Circuit Court, Fairfax County
Injuries alleged: Fractured ribs, sutures to the scalp, fractured wrist
Verdict or Settlement: Settled for $41,100
Facts: 45-year-old Plaintiff was making a left turn onto the Fairfax County Parkway (Route 7100) from the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267) when the Defendant, seeing a green light beyond the intersection ran the red light closest to her. While Travelers acknowledged coverage and liability, it was unresponsive to settlement efforts until suit was filed on the Defendant. Plaintiff works for the HMO health care company from which she received treatment, and has returned to work without residuals. HMO would not give figures for billing statements.
Liability / Damages: 3 days lost wages, $11,300 in medical specials, per the expert evaluation of our nurse consultant. Plaintiff has recovered from injuries and given birth to a healthy child at time of suit.
Special Comments: Due to the intransigence of the carrier, counsel served the Defendant with the Motion for Judgment, all of the discovery, records and a cover letter explaining why this action was required and that her insurance company had taken no steps to avoid this unnecessary, expensive litigation. The case settled shortly after the Defendant received this letter.
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SOULTS V. OWEN CORPORATION - LIMITED VISIBLITY
Circuit Court, Prince William County
Injuries alleged: 1. Left Acetabular fracture, status post ORIF;
2. Traumatic Brain injury; 3. Multiple Rib fractures with bilateral pneumothorax.
Verdict or Settlement: Settled for $300,000.00
Facts: Defendant was driving a truck from the quarry, turning onto Route 123 when plaintiff, cresting a hill, crashed into him at an unregulated roadway just north of the Occoquan River.
Liability / Damages: Liability was disputed, due to the hill and quarry entrance on Route 123 heading down toward the Occoquan River where this crash occurred. The plaintiff and his passenger/co-worker have no memory of the accident, and the Defendant beat the ticket in Traffic Court. Liability was disputed and the defendant died just prior to suit being filed. The plaintiff incurred $105,500 in medical specials. There was no wage loss claim by self-employed tile worker who has returned to his prior profession.
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GOURGUECHON VS. EVERHARD - PEDESTRIAN STRUCK
Circuit Court, City of Alexandria
At Law No: 010843
Verdict or Settlement: Judge Thomas Fortkort found in favor of plaintiff pedestrian in the amount of $45,000 in Herndon Courthouse Arbitration
Injuries alleged: Right shoulder fractures and non-displaced rib fracture
Facts: 68-year-old pedestrian struck by police academy trainee (now a full police officer). Police testified on behalf of the Defendant, that the plaintiff: was taking a diagonal in order to get to the Braddock Road Metro stop, stepped in front of the Defendant's car on the wrong side of the street and was not crossing in a designated crosswalk.
Liability / Damages: No wage loss was claimed, as Plaintiff was a foreign national travel book writer. Approximately $13,279 in medical specials with a permanency rating of 60% (12% per DME report along with an allegation of non-compliance with medical care). Medical illustrations by MediVisuals, Richmond.
Defense: John Bruno, M.D., Orthopaedics, Alexandria
Plaintiff: William Hanff, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgeon, Alexandria
Highest Offer: $25,000
Special Comments: Videotape deposition excerpts, live witnesses medical reports and exhibits were utilized in this binding arbitration held in the Herndon Courthouse. Judge Thomas Fortkort has now presided over cases from Alexandria, Prince William and Fairfax County Circuit Courts in the modern facility in the Historic District of Herndon where the General District Court of Fairfax sits on Wednesday mornings year-round and where the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission has sent six different Deputy Commissioners to hear cases on other days of the week. The VWCC has sent several Mediators from the Ombudsman's Office in Richmond, at no cost to the litigants, to help settle cases and narrow issues in workplace injury cases through their successful ADR program.
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MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT - THREE CAR CRASH
Court: City of Williamsburg, Virginia
Facts: Defendant smashed his car into the rear of plaintiff's left-turning pick up, pushing it into oncoming traffic, where it was hit and totaled by another small truck.
Liability / Damages: Plaintiff sustained multiple injuries, including fractured pelvis, ribs, clavicle and elbow, avulsion of triceps, lacerations. Plaintiff was wheelchair bound for several weeks after spending a week at MCV, post accident. However, because of plaintiff's physical fitness background and part time aerobic class teaching, he made a remarkable recovery and has returned to work and teaching at a local gym. The orthopaedic specialist gave a 12% permanency to the right leg.
Plaintiff: Robert Adelaar, Orthopaedic surgeon, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond
Medical assistance was also rendered by Health Information Resources, Glen Allen, Virginia
Medical Expenses: $26,737.47
Highest Offer: $200,000.00
Verdict or Settlement: Settled, $200,000.00, plus a later payment of almost $40,000 from the remainder of the policy limits after settling with the other plaintiff.
Special Comments: The 39-year-old plaintiff, from the mid-west, was between jobs, so the loss of earnings claims was open to attack. He has also returned to work and teaching high intensity exercises classes in the evenings. Significant emotional distress claim lead to settlement for remaining policy limits, as his daughter was catastrophically injured in the wreck.
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MOTLEY VS. KIRBY - MINOR INJURED BY AIRBAGS
Charlottesville Circuit Court
At Law No: 01-88
Injuries alleged: low back pain
Verdict or Settlement: Settled $19,550
Facts: Defendant made a U-turn from the wrong lane striking the car in which the plaintiff was a 14-year-old passenger. The exploding air bag caused contusions and abrasions.
Liability / Damages: Carrier disputed causal relation of all but the initial medical treatment of approximately $4,000, most of which was diagnostic testing. There was no permanency of the facial burns or abrasion and no wage loss claim. The plaintiff is now an adult, living in the Midwest.
Special Comments: The injuries caused by the deployment of the airbags and chemical propellants resolved shortly after the accident. The treating pediatrician specifically denied causation. Case was settled seven years after the accident.
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JACKSON VS. PAYTON - REAR END CRASH INTO TRUCK
Fairfax County, Virginia, Circuit Court
At Law No: 191798
Judge: Hon. Thomas Fortkort (Arbitrator)
Liability / Damages: 50-year-old Plaintiff suffered: laceration to the head, which has healed, lower back stiffness, for which he received the bulk of his initial care and complained of pain in the left side of his neck, for which he is still receiving treatment. Lost wages were $8,122.50; medical expenses were $8,810.84. Our office represented the plaintiff in his Virginia Workers Compensation claim, which paid lost wages and medical expenses. The compensation lien was negotiated after the Arbitration judgment was rendered.
Dr. Mirza Baig, Orthopaedist, Alexandria, Virginia
Dr. John Bruno, Mount Vernon Orthopaedic Group
Dr. Lawrence Zarchin, Neurologist, Fairfax
Highest Offer: $22,500.00
Verdict or Settlement: Arbitration Award $72,500.00
Special Comments: Plaintiff's truck was stopped due to traffic flow when the vehicle driven by the defendant struck him in the rear. The defendant was cited for following too closely. Arbitration was held in the new Herndon Courthouse / City Council Chambers on a high/low basis, in order to protect the defendant against a judgment in excess of policy limits ($100,000.00). Liability was stipulated, medical records and bills came into evidence in lieu of the doctors' testimony, and both parties realized a savings of several thousands dollars on the costs of a jury trial, appeals, and judgment interest
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PHILLIPS VS. BAIRD CONCRETE CORP. - HIT AND RUN
Two million dollar settlement for teen struck in a hit and run in Fairfax County, Virginia
HOFFMAN VS. SINCLAIR - BICYCLE STRUCK
Court: Lumberton, N. C.
Docket No. Robeson County File # 96 CVS 1553,
Facts: Plainiff was a Virginia Community College Physical Education Professor who was on the 13th day of a bicycle tour from Maine to Florida. In Lumberton, North Carolina, he was struck by the Defendant's truck and "thrown 107 feet coming to rest in the roadway." The Defendant's Ford pickup truck sustained significant
damage skidding and slamming into the bridge guardrail. The impact occurred as the Defendant tried to go around the bicycle between two bridges, as he returned from his graveyard shift job. The plaintiff had no recollection of the accident, but has made an impressive physical recovery, due to his superior physical condition and daily
Liability: The Defendant acknowledged traveling too fast for the road conditions that day. He was issued a ticket for driving his pickup truck "at a speed that was greater than was reasonable and prudent under the conditions." The Defendant plead guilty to excessive speed, and no appeal was taken. The plaintiff was traveling at slow speed, on a flat surface, on the right side of the roadway, and had nowhere to go because of the bridge guardrails when the Defendant's truck struck him without any warning.
Damages: The 55-year-old plaintiff sustained multiple injuries as well as a loss of consciousness when struck by the defendant who was traveling 45 m.p.h. or more. This crash caused the following: Post-concussive syndrome and closed head injury; Posterior neck pain and a small central HNP at C6-7; Permanent partial disability rating of
10% to the right upper extremity; Abrasions, contusions and scarring; Arthritic changes; weight gain. The only surgery was to the dislocated shoulder.
Special damages: $32,385.09 wage loss and medical specials of $25,601.11
Verdict or Settlement: Settled at Mediation in North Carolina for a total of $150,000 (State Farm $25,000.00 policy limits; Travelers, UIM $125,000; highest prior offer, $66,000)
Richard Gaertner, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgeon, Vienna, VA
John Smothers, Ph.D., Neuroppsychologist, Closed Head Injury Specialist, Kensington,MD
Special Comments: Defendant's liability carrier offered its minimal policy limits right away. Plaintiff's own carrier forced us to file suit and go to North Carolina, taking the position that there were no "lost wages" since the plaintiff was on sabbatical. Plaintiff's counsel took the position that such time lost from "the trip of a lifetime," was worth more than regular pay at work. The plaintiff professor would have to teach for another seven years to become eligible to go on sabbatical again. The closed head injury evaluation was also discounted by the UIM carrier.
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PREMISES LIABILITY CASES:
MILLER VS. SOUTHLAND CORPORATION - CONVENIENCE STORE PARKING LOT TRIP AND FALL
Circuit Court, Prince William County
At Law No: #56420
Injuries alleged: torn rotator cuff, shoulder replacement surgery, teeth knocked out
Verdict or Settlement: Settled on eve of trial for $50,000
Facts: On a rainy afternoon on her way to work as a self-employed home care nurse, the Plaintiff parked in the handicap space in front of the Defendant's convenience store even though she herself was not handicapped. The plaintiff's foot was caught and she was thrown down by a wedge of missing concrete curbing at the Defendant's "7-11" Store. The curb had been painted over with yellow paint by the Defendant and/or its agents or employees prior to injuring the plaintiff, who lost a tooth and allegedly injured her right, dominant shoulder.
Liability / Damages: Both liability and causation were contested. 61-year-old female plaintiff had severe degenerative joint disease, loose bodies in the shoulder joint, and the arthroscopic rotator cuff repair was not successful, and, it was argued, she would have needed joint replacement surgery whether or not she had been involved in the fall. There was no wage loss claim and a 20% PPD upper extremity rating.
Defense: Dr. Linehan, Orthopaedics, Reston, who found "many loose bodies in the plaintiff's shoulder and severe degenerative changes, pre-existing arthritis."
Plaintiff: Dr. Kenneth Ward, Orthopaedic Surgery, Woodbridge, with medical illustrations by MediVisuals
Special Comments: There was a Massie v. Firmstone problem for the plaintiff in that she testified that she was not looking where she was hurrying when she fell. However the rule does not apply to mere estimates of fact, such as speed and distance. See, e.g., Hogan v. Carter & Grinstead, 226 Va 361 (1983) or to statements of opinion, Ford Motor v. Bartholomew, 224 Va 421 (1982). A portable video camera scene deposition by Casamo & Associates enabled counsel to film (and the jury to view, without visiting the scene): the yellow painted over curb defect, the manager on duty at the time of the fall, and the signage in, and layout of, the convenience store entrance and parking lot.
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TAYLOR VS. DOE HOSPITAL - ANKLE BROKEN STEPPING INTO HOLE IN HOSPITAL PARKING LOT
Arlington Circuit Court
At Law No: 02-322
Injuries alleged: Broken ankle
Verdict or Settlement: Settled, $12,000
Facts: Plaintiff was caused to trip and fall when she stepped into a large, grass covered hole adjacent to the handicap parking space in a hospital parking lot.
Liability / Damages: Middle-aged plaintiff was treated at the hospital where the accident occurred, which told her she only had a sprain. Later, she was called and advised that her fibula had been fractured. Plaintiff, a bank teller, had a wage loss claim of $1,058 and medical specials of $2,070. There was no permanency rating and plaintiff discontinued treatment on her own. There were contemporaneous photographs taken by plaintiff's husband of the hole. The Defendant denied notice.
Special Comments: Plaintiff's counsel relied upon the VLW case report of Richmond v. Holt (6/7/02) in which Justice Keenan addressed persons exiting parked cars situated next to the curb.
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RUDNICK VS. PETERSON - DOG BITES MINOR ON THE LIP
Circuit Court of Fairfax County
At Law No: 206419
Judge: A. Vierregg
Injuries alleged: Facial (lip) laceration
Verdict or Settlement: Settled $15,000
Facts: High school student visiting friends bent down to pet dog, which snapped at her, catching her upper lip, requiring stitches. Animal Control investigation revealed a prior report on the chocolate Labrador, as well as a failure to have shots.
Liability / Damages: Medical specials totaled $978.80, plaintiff missed time from work as a life guard and participation on the swim team due to the nature of the injury, which has resolved without noticeable permanent defect. William Lindsey, M.D., Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, Reston, opined after in office procedure, "lip looks fantastic. Happy patient."
Special Comments: Sending the carrier the reported dog bite and attack verdicts from Virginia Lawyers Weekly, as well as a medical illustration of the nerve endings in the brain relative to the lips and a photograph of a similar dog's gaping maw (the last thing the plaintiff saw before being bitten on the face) all helped with the evaluation and ultimate settlement of the case.
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SISK VS. A. H. ROBINS - PHENFEN
At Law #97-1062
One of the first PhenFen diet drug cases to be filed in the USA.
GREENWOOD VS. HARRIS
Chesterfield County Circuit Court
Virginia, Law #CL00-1237
Elderly South Carolina woman wins jury verdict in Chesterfield Circuit Court and collects over three times the insurance company's final offer without presenting any doctor in her case in chief.
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CHARLES ERGETTA VS. I. M. P. PRODUCTIONS, ETC. - ROCK CONCERT ROUSTABOUT'S FOOT RUNOVER BY FORKLIFT
Court: Circuit Court, Jefferson County, West Virginia
Docket No. Civil Action #96-C-162
Facts: The plaintiff's foot was crushed by another rock concert roustabout when he got off the forklift he had hitched a ride on. This motor vehicle accident occurred at the Lollapalooza Festival held at the Charles Town Race Track in West Virginia.
Liability / Damages: Liability was contested in that the concert promoter claimed that there was a known prohibition against stagehands "hitching" rides on forklifts, ATVs, etc. Investigation revealed numerous instancesof such conduct. The defenses of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk were also raised in light of the claim that plaintiff jumped suddenly from the vehicle and knew it was dangerous to hop a ride. The plaintiff was a rigger and an independent contractor who had claimed as the result of having his ankle crushed and pins surgically placed, medical specials of $16,670.99 and a permanent partial disability rating of 15%.
Verdict or Settlement: Settled just prior to trial, $32,500.00.
Special Comments: Roadies, roustabouts and riggers, such as this plaintiff, present some unusual problems of proof, especially with regard to their peripatetic profession and variable earnings. Many of these specialized laborers do their work not so much for the pay, but for the love of being involved in "the show." They are often fed, housed, transported and given tickets to concerts, festivals and other productions along with their regular wages. The inability to climb rigging or mount the stage scaffolding not only impairs their earnings capacity, but severely affects their quality of life, in that their avocation is oftentimes their recreation.
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HOWELL VS. HAGAN - MINOR INJURED BY BB GUN
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division
Child shot at point blank range by neighbor's child with Daisy BB gun. Pellet lodged in dome of liver. Counsel successful in effecting structured settlement for child as well as compensation for family members in "the zone of impact." Annuity also provides for Balloon payment for Florida child's college costs.
TEKLU VS. COLONIAL PARKING AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY, O.W.C. - PARKING LOT ATTENDANT SHOT
Counsel succeeded in settling case for Georgetown Park, Washington, D.C., parking lot attendant shot at work. Bullet still resides in client's body, however, he was able to get his college degree and find safer, more remunerative work far from the location of this crime. (See also Washington Post article on 4/25/96 criminal attack.)
REESE VS. M.W.A.A. - SENIOR EJECTED FROM SEAT ON AIRPORT GROUND TRANSPORTATION
Loudoun County Circuit Court
At Law #16569
Senior flight attendant from Texas wins record verdict in Loudoun County, Virginia Circuit Court. Plaintiff was ejected from seat in Dulles Airport "People Mover" transport, and underwent multilevel spinal surgery, but returned to work with significant sequelae. Counsel had successfully represented others in similar accidents en route to the midfield terminals as well as workers who sustained injuries on the Air Operations Area. Abrams Landau, Ltd. has successfully concluded a number of settlements for senior airline and airport personnel at British Airways, Pan Am, United, Atlantic Coast and we are currently engaged in claims arising from injuries at several International Airports.
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