*** DISCLAIMER: These trial results are specific to the facts and legal circumstances of each of these cases. This law firm makes no representation, guarantee, or suggestion – explicit or implicit – that past results will translate to future results for different clients in different matters involving different factual and legal circumstances. ***
Hinchy v. Walgreen Co. & Peterson (Marion County) A woman receives a series of text messages from her ex-boyfriend reciting the details of the woman's prescription history. After some investigation, the woman discovers that the ex-boyfriend is married to a pharmacist employed by the pharmacy where the woman gets her prescriptions filled. Though the woman contacts the pharmacy and notifies it of the privacy violation, the pharmacy chooses not to fire the pharmacist and, further, takes no precautions to protect against future intrusions into the woman's prescription records. After a four-day trial, the jury awarded the woman $1,440,000 against both the pharmacy and the pharmacist jointly. Because the jury's verdict was much greater than the amount for which Mr. Eggeson had offered to settle the case, the trial judge increased the award; with this increase plus costs and interest, Walgreen eventually paid $1,844,643.
The following opposed Mr. Eggeson en route to this result:
- Jeffrey D. Hawkins, Nicholas W. Levi, Melissa F. Danielson, KIGHTLINGER & GRAY, LLP (representing Walgreen Co. at trial)
- Richard C. Gering, WALGREEN CO. (Senior Litigation attorney for Walgreen Co.)
- Julia Blackwell Gelinas, Thomas E. Wheeler, Maggie L. Smith, FROST BROWN TODD (representing Walgreen Co. on appeal)
- Bryan H. Babb, BOSE MCKINNEY & EVANS, LLP (representing amicus Indiana Legal Foundation, Inc. on appeal)
- Edward J. Liptak, Adrienne Romary, CARSON BOXBERGER, LLP (representing amicus Indiana Association of Cities and Towns on appeal
- Peter J. Rusthoven, Mark J. Crandley, Mark D. Scudder, BARNES & THORNBURG, LLP (representing amici U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, and National Association of Manufacturers on appeal)
- Randall Fearnow, Lucy Dollens, QUARLES & BRADY, LLP (representing amicus National Association of Chain Drug Stores on appeal)
- Michael R. Auger, Attorney at Law (representing Audra D. Peterson at trial)
M.O. v. Internal Medicine Associates, Inc. (Monroe County) After ten years of treating with a local medical office, an HIV-positive man accumulated an unpaid debt to the healthcare provider in the amount of $326. The healthcare provider hired a collections attorney to recover the unpaid debt, turning the patient's file over to the collections attorney in the process. When the collections attorney filed suit against the patient, the publicly-accessible lawsuit included the patient’s name, home address, social security number, birthdate, and a billing statement containing the phrase “Last Diagnosis: HIV.” The patient’s identifying information and HIV diagnosis remained in the open public record for more than six months before being sealed. A medical review panel concluded unanimously that the healthcare provider had violated the standard of care for protection of patient privacy, and a majority of the panel concluded that the patient had suffered damages as a result. The healthcare provider never extended any settlement offer to the patient. Representing the HIV-positive patient at trial, Mr. Eggeson argued that even though he could not prove that anyone had ever actually learned his client’s HIV status as a result of the negligent disclosure, the medical provider nevertheless had caused the HIV-positive patient significant emotional distress and embarrassment. The jury agreed, awarding the HIV-positive patient $1,250,000.
Coahran v. Auler (Madison County) On a foggy morning, a high school student decided to drive his girlfriend to breakfast during the two-hour fog delay prior to the start of school. Though it was difficult to see through the foggy conditions, the high school student attempted to drive across a county road where plaintiff was driving home from her overnight shift working at a local hospital, her cruise control set at 55 m.p.h. The high school student pulled out into the plaintiff’s path, causing a collision that caused plaintiff to lose consciousness and drive off the side of the road into a ditch. The parties disputed whether the plaintiff’s headlights were on immediately prior to the collision. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered various injuries, and she incurred $11,897 in medical expenses and $475 in lost wages. At trial, the plaintiff asked the jury to award her $37,000. Defending the high school student at trial, Mr. Eggeson argued that by not having her headlights on and by driving too fast for the foggy conditions, the plaintiff was more at fault for the collision than was the high school student. The jury agreed, returning a defense verdict. Because the jury’s verdict was less favorable than the offer Mr. Eggeson had made to settle the case, the trial judge ordered the plaintiff to reimburse the high school student $1,000 for his attorney’s fees.
Carpenter v. Spiegel (Marion County) A college professor driving a minivan attempted to make a U-turn into the path of an oncoming pickup truck. The pickup truck collided with the passenger side of the minivan, causing soft-tissue injuries to the driver of the pickup truck. After incurring $7,600 in medical expenses (mostly chiropractic), the plaintiff asked the jury to award him $23,100 at trial. Defending the college professor at trial, Mr. Eggeson admitted that his client caused the collision, but he argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were exaggerated and that he should be awarded nothing. The jury split the difference, awarding the plaintiff $11,600.
Alexander v. Sutkowski (Marion County) As the plaintiff drove along a roadway divided by a concrete median, he stopped abruptly when he saw an emergency vehicle (with lights flashing) approaching from the opposite direction. Though the parties disagreed as to whether the plaintiff stopped beyond the intersection (such that the concrete median separated him from the oncoming emergency vehicle) or in the intersection, regardless, the defendant (a former IU football punter) drove his SUV into the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff claimed to have suffered neck and back strains, incurring $9,707 in medical expenses involving mostly chiropractic care and $1,324 in lost wages. At trial, the plaintiff asked the jury to award him $28,200. Defending the SUV driver at trial, Mr. Eggeson argued that because of the way he stopped, the plaintiff was equally responsible for the collision. The jury agreed, awarding the plaintiff $318 but also finding the plaintiff 50% at fault for the collision, thereby reducing the award to $159.
Baumgartner v. Rhodus (Wayne County) After a night out drinking, a young woman drove her vehicle into the rear of a minivan occupied by an acromegalic mother, her husband, and their teenage daughter. Thankfully, the minivan occupants suffered only soft-tissue injuries as a result of the collision. The mother incurred $2,578 in medical expenses, the husband incurred $40 for his EMT treatment, and the daughter incurred $8,381 in medical expenses. Though the mother and daughter continued to suffer from ongoing symptoms (including muscle pain and headaches) years after the collision, at trial, Mr. Eggeson argued that the daughter was exaggerating her complaints and that the mother’s ongoing symptoms were likely caused by her pre-existing acromegaly. The injured family asked the jury to award them $37,500 plus punitive damages. The jury declined to award any punitive damages, and they awarded only $12,200 to the plaintiffs. Because the jury’s verdict was less than the amount Mr. Eggeson had offered to settle the case, the trial judge reduced the jury’s verdict to $11,100.
Overstreet v. Gazvoda (Marion County) In yet another auto collision, the plaintiff (a former IU football player) incurred $12,782 in medical expenses and $734 in lost wages as a result of his claimed soft-tissue injuries. At trial, Mr. Eggeson admitted that his client caused the collision, but he argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were not as severe as he claimed. Though the plaintiff asked the jury to award $150,000, the jury returned a verdict of only $8,100 against Mr. Eggeson’s client. Because the jury’s verdict was less than the amount Mr. Eggeson had offered to settle the case, the trial judge reduced the jury’s verdict to $7,100.
Snow v. Bates (Hamilton County) On her way to an after-school athletic practice, a high school student caused a collision when her brakes failed. Unable to stop as she approached an intersection, she steered her vehicle off of the roadway, eventually coming to rest when she struck a pickup truck stopped on the opposite side of the intersection. The driver of the pickup truck denied injury at the accident scene; however, he later claimed $1,618 in medical expenses and $12,000 in lost wages as a result of soft-tissue injuries. At trial, Mr. Eggeson argued that the plaintiff had not suffered any actual injury as a result of this accident. The jury agreed, awarding the plaintiff $0.
Bailey v. Johnston (Marion County) The defendant’s vehicle was stopped immediately behind the plaintiff’s vehicle at a stoplight. While the two vehicles were stopped at the red light, an ambulance (with its lights flashing) approached the intersection from the opposite direction. When the traffic light turned green, the plaintiff remained stopped for the approaching ambulance. However, not appreciating the situation, the defendant pulled forward and rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff claimed to have suffered soft-tissue injuries as a result of the crash, and he incurred approximately $22,000 in medical bills. At trial, the plaintiff asked the jury to award him $310,000. At trial, Mr. Eggeson admitted that his client caused the collision, but he disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s claimed injuries. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded $65,000 – less than three times his medical bills.
Dillon v. Wulf (Marion County) The plaintiff claimed to have suffered soft tissue injuries to her left wrist, shoulder, and neck as a result of being rear-ended at a stoplight. After incurring $6,628 in medical expenses for her alleged injuries, the plaintiff demanded $50,000 to settle the case. At trial, Mr. Eggeson admitted that his client had rear-ended plaintiff’s vehicle, but he argued that the plaintiff was not actually injured in any way as a result of the crash. The jury agreed, finding in plaintiff’s favor but awarding her $0.
Snider v. Lafavers (Marion County) Riding in a group of motorcycles at dusk along a busy, four-lane highway, the 20-year-old plaintiff accelerated out in front of his fellow cyclists and “popped a wheelie” just as a van was pulling out of the nearby Wal-Mart parking lot. The driver of the van did not see the plaintiff’s motorcycle approaching, and a serious collision resulted. The plaintiff sustained multiple injuries including skull fractures, a jaw fracture, and internal injuries requiring removal of his spleen, and he remained in a coma for a week following the accident. The investigating police officer concluded that the van driver caused the collision. Defending the driver of the van, Mr. Eggeson argued at trial that because the plaintiff was “popping a wheelie” immediately before the collision, the van driver could not have seen the motorcycle’s headlight. Combined with the plaintiff’s speeding and unnecessary risk-taking, Mr. Eggeson argued that the plaintiff – not the driver of the van -- actually caused the collision. The jury agreed, finding the motorcyclist to be 75% at fault and therefore awarding him nothing. Before trial, the plaintiff had demanded $100,000 to settle the case.
Robinson v. Knox (Marion County) The plaintiffs – a 39-year-old mother and her 18-month-old twin toddlers – were involved in a car collision when another driver merged into their lane and clipped the plaintiffs’ vehicle. Following the accident, the mother complained of ongoing pain and other symptoms including a vertebral disc injury, and she alleged past and future medical expenses totaling $90,000 at trial. Defending the driver who caused the collision, Mr. Eggeson argued at trial that the minor collision could not have caused such serious injury. The jury agreed, awarding the plaintiffs a total of $641. Because Mr. Eggeson had offered plaintiffs almost four times that amount to settle the case pre-suit, the judge reduced the judgment to $0.