Cases

Nursing Home Residents Abused

Our attorneys represented four seniors who were physically abused at a Eugene nursing home. All four were physically punched or beaten, one of them was deprived of food after being punched, and one was left lying in her own body waste. We resolved three of the claims out of court, and one case went to arbitration.

Woman Died after Nursing Home Negligence

We represented a woman with a history of falling. Her doctor ordered that she must be secured each time she was in a wheelchair, but staff at the nursing home failed to follow the orders. She repeatedly sustained injuries from her falls. Eventually, she fell and was so badly injured that she died within a couple of weeks. The Willamette Valley family turned to our firm, and we successfully resolved the case.

Debris Torrent

We represented victims of a debris torrent on Highway 38 in 1996. There a landslide started in a clearcut near a logging road and came down the ravine. It killed one woman and injured several others. Logging and road building also contributed to that devastating landslide. We were able to obtain compensation for the victims of this event. After the litigation, one of our attorneys was a member of an Oregon state task force that reviewed existing forestry and land use laws and regulations. The task force developed new legislation that allowed the Oregon Department of Forestry to prevent logging on steep high risk sites above homes and highways. That legislation was enacted by Oregon’s legislature. Today, the Oregon Department of Forestry would not allow such logging to go forward.

Log Truck Driver Fatality

We represented the family of a log truck driver who was killed when a large log rolled off his truck as he was securing his load and crushed him. We filed a wrongful death claim under the Oregon Employer Liability Law against the landing operator for failing to build the load properly so that each log was saddled and stable. The case was settled before trial, providing compensation to the logger’s surviving spouse and children.

Defective Seat Heaters

Our client, a young veteran, suffered one of the early reported seat heater burns. When he returned home from the Marine Corps, he bought a four-wheel drive vehicle recommended for paraplegics. He did not choose a seat heater, but the vehicle came with heaters in both front seats. After returning home after one of his first trips, he discovered that the skin on his buttocks came off with his jeans as he prepared for bed. He had not known that the heater had somehow accidentally been turned on and had not felt the heat. Engineers who tested the vehicle found that the driver’s seat could generate temperatures as high as 150 degrees F. While the manufacturer recalled two model years of that vehicle, we have found that many models manufactured in other years, as well as other makes of vehicles, also have dangerous seat heaters and they sadly remain on the road today. Every paraplegic or other person with sensory deficits should be made fully aware of the risk and those seat heaters should be disconnected.

Semi-Trailer Truck Accident

Our 31 year old client was a passenger in a semi-trailer truck that collided with another big rig stopped in dense fog on the highway, blocking the lane of travel. The fiberglass cab of our client’s truck shattered upon impact, and he was violently thrown out onto the highway still buckled into his seat. He suffered permanent and life-altering injuries including head, internal and orthopedic injuries that required multiple surgeries and extensive therapy and rehabilitation. Our law firm’s investigation into this collision spanned 10 states, and involved various testing and reconstruction analyses, and consultations with a number of qualified experts. Through the investigation and our federal court discovery, we uncovered evidence of multiple driving and maintenance failures by both the defendant driver and trucking carrier that combined to cause this catastrophic accident. The case resolved weeks before trial on confidential terms.

Log-Loader Accident

We represented the family of a log truck driver killed while delivering his load to a mill. After arriving at the mill’s yard, he parked where he was told, and began to remove the wrappers binding the load to the truck. While he was doing so he was struck by a log-loader and died instantly. We prosecuted a third-party claim against the log-yard owner, citing negligence, and violations of the Oregon Employer Liability Law. The case settled successfully for our client.

Aerial lift fatality

We represented a woman whose husband was crushed to death at work when the aerial lift he was working in uncontrollably lifted and pinned him into the rafters of the lumber mill.

Propane Tank Explosion

Two factory workers were severely burned when a defectively designed gauge dial on a propane tank caused a leak, which in turn caused an explosion. We brought a third-party claim on behalf of our client against the manufacturer of the gauge and the tank. We settled the case on behalf of our client, greatly benefiting the injured worker and the employer.

Explosion in Wood Mill Green Dryer

A worker suffered severe burns and died as a result of an explosion in a particleboard green dryer. Our investigation revealed that the dryer system failed to have appropriate safety features in its computer logic controls and lacked adequate explosion vents. The case involved engineering design issues, computer software, and multiple technical specialties.

Industrial Chemical Accident

While working in the wood products industry, our client was blinded in one eye when a chemical-delivery system failed and sprayed chemicals into his face.

Chemical Spill Injury

A truck driver suffered “Reactive Airways Distress Syndrome” following exposure to fumes from a chemical spill. Our investigation revealed that the tanker truck failed to follow proper filling procedures to ensure the safety of the driver and users of the public roadways. We successfully negotiated a settlement on behalf of our injured client.

Fatal landslides

Our firm represented survivors and victims of two 1996 landslides in Douglas County, Oregon. One landslide started in a clearcut in land above two homes. Oregon Department of Forestry warned of the landslide risk, but at that time, it had no power to stop the clearcut. In November, 1996, following heavy rain, a debris torrent came down the ravine and destroyed both homes, killing four people and injuring passersby on the highway below. Our firm retained multiple experts and conducted tests at the site. We filed a complaint against the logger and the landowner, and we obtained tens of thousands of documents in discovery from the State of Oregon and from the logging company and corporation that owned the clearcut land. We took more than 30 depositions in Oregon, Washington, and Canada. After we successfully resisted defense motions against our claims and obtained a court order in our favor, the defense proposed mediation. After a two-day mediation, we were able to resolve the claims. We produced a compelling video telling the story of the landslide and the victims, which was very persuasive to the mediator and to the defendants.

Defective Logging Equipment

One logger we represented was responsible for setting up and operating yarders to pull heavy logs up steep slopes to landings where the logs were loaded onto log trucks to be hauled to local mills for processing. Late one afternoon as he was pulling a log up with a skycar he had erected with towers and supporting cables, he heard an unfamiliar noise – an explosive crack, and then a whistle. A guy line had broken loose from its anchor and whipped past him. Tragically, but the 100-foot tower it was supporting rocked and then crashed down, crushing his leg and knocking him unconscious. After a long investigation, we determined that a defective guy line end caused the accident. We held the manufacturer responsible, citing evidence uncovered by a metallurgist we employed as an expert. We also worked with an OSU forestry professor and medical, and life care experts. The defective products logging case was settled for a confidential amount.

Helicopter Crash Fatality

Helicopters are used widely in modern logging operations, but unfortunately their use comes with a risk of serious injury and death. In one Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton case, an Oregon Department of Forestry fire suppression specialist, a passenger in a corporate timber company’s helicopter, was searching for water holes suitable for forest fire fighters to use if needed during the next fire season. The helicopter struck power lines suspended across the Siuslaw River, and both the pilot and our client were killed. Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton experts conducted a detailed crash analysis and determined that the cause of the fatal accident was pilot error for which the timber company was liable.

Disabled Pedestrian Hit and Run

stopped in her wheel chair on the sidewalk when a semi-truck turned too sharply in front of her. The back wheels of the truck struck our client, and the driver didn’t stop. Our investigation team was able to track down the truck and trucking company through key satellite data proving the truck driver was involved and at fault. Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton settled the case for a confidential amount on our client’s behalf.

Fatal Pedestrian Hit and Run

In a tragic case, a beer distributor truck hit a 12-year-old girl walking along a rural road near her home. The driver and passenger fled the scene unidentified. After extensive federal litigation discovery and pending our motion for punitive damages, Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton negotiated a multimillion-dollar settlement on behalf of the girls’ family. As a condition of that settlement, the trucking company agreed to send its managers through safety education and institute new operation policies that would ensure compliance with federal safety regulations. The opportunity to help improve roadway safety for others meant a great deal for the family.

Commercial Guardrail Accident

A commercial painter fell 15 feet from a raised deck onto concrete when an improperly installed guardrail gave way had been installed, and our client leaned against it. In addition to the benefits he received through his workers’ compensation claim, we filed and ultimately settled a “third party” legal claim, an Employers Liability Law claim, and a premises liability claim on his behalf due to the dangerous conditions at the property.

Premises Negligence

A client was celebrating her birthday in a well-known chain restaurant in Grants Pass, Oregon, when she slipped on a wet floor, breaking her hip. The restaurant claimed she had fainted, but our investigation revealed that one of the EMTs had also slipped when he went to help our client. We were able to resolve the claim.

Cycling Accident

A bicyclist lost his spleen in an accident caused by construction debris left on a walkway near a popular market. Our investigation uncovered fault on the part of the general contractors, sub contractors, and the owners of the property.

Oil Tanker Explosion

A 45-year-old driver was killed when her car was struck by an oil tanker that exploded on impact. The news reports and public agencies were primarily focused on the dramatic explosion and environmental damage. We focused our investigation on the cause of the collision and determined why this tragedy occurred. In doing so, we had cooperation of law enforcement agencies and employed the best accident experts available. As a result of our investigation, the truck driver was charged with criminally negligent homicide, and fair compensation was awarded to the victim’s family.

Platform Collapse

Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton represented an ironworker who was injured when the platform he was erecting collapsed under him. He landed in the mud, gravel and twisted steel, and was rendered quadriplegic. Though entitled to workers’ compensation for his lifetime, the compensation fell far short of his total damages. Following a thorough investigation, our firm brought a third-party claim on his behalf against the contractor and others responsible for the faulty design specifications and an overly aggressive building schedule.

Remodeling Negligence

An employee of a hazardous waste removal business was picking up hazardous materials on his route, when he stepped in a hole in a tile floor that had been covered over during a remodeling process. The injury caused traumatic knee injury, requiring surgery. We subsequently pursued successful claims on his behalf against the contractors involved in the remodel work.

Aerial Lift Injury

We represented a client who was injured while cutting tree limbs from a boom lift and who was lifted into high voltage electrical wires.

Collision Between Two Pleasure Boats

Several members of a family were injured when their motorboat was struck broadside by another boat pulling a person on a kneeboard. The driver of the second boat was watching the person kneeboarder and failed to understand the kneeboarder’s frantic hand signals warning of the impending collision.

Costco Child Car Seat: Quadriplegia

A family was driving over a mountain pass, with their three-year-old child restrained in a “booster” seat type of child restraint. An oncoming car lost control in volcanic grit left by highway crews, crossed the centerline, and struck the family’s car nearly head-on. Despite being in the booster seat, the child suffered a severe spinal cord injury causing her to be permanently paralyzed. The adverse driver settled for her $2 million liability insurance policy limits. Working with another law firm, we then brought a claim against the child car seat manufacturer and retailer, which settled for a confidential amount.

Fatal Prescription Drug

A 45-year old woman with no history of heart disease died unexpectedly of cardiac arrhythmia. Her physician had prescribed a combination of medications for her. The Medical Examiner determined that the cause of her death was a toxic buildup of one of those medications. We won a jury verdict in the wrongful death case tried in Lane County Circuit Court.

Chinese-Made Handgun

A Norinco pistol imported into the United States from China fired when it was accidentally dropped, killing a young father. Our investigation revealed that the gun’s firing pin was too long. The case settled after we took depositions with the aid of a Chinese language interpreter.

Fleetwood RV Fuel System: Fatal Fire

In this case, we represented the family of a man who suffered fatal burn injuries when a gas fire erupted at an RV’s fuel spout. The case prompted a product recall and reconfiguration of the design of the component parts of the fuel system.

Swimming Pool: Quadriplegia

Diving accidents are often preventable through appropriate design and warnings. In one case, we brought an action on behalf of a young man rendered quadriplegic in a diving incident in an aboveground swimming pool. The case involved issues of design, safety engineering, warnings, life care planning, and rehabilitation medicine.

Family Restaurant: Appliance Accident

A young girl, the daughter of a Middle Eastern family who owned and ran a local restaurant, lost her hand when it was caught in a defectively designed meat-grinder. In addition to her physical injury, the young girl faced the cultural trauma of being “marked” as a thief because of the loss of her hand. The prosecution of the claim promoted safer designs, and we obtained an award that took into account the child’s unique emotional injury.

Shattered Graphite Arrow

While target shooting with his compound bow, an experienced bow hunter suffered permanent injury when an arrow exploded upon release. Hundreds of sharp graphite shards pierced his hand, cutting muscle tissue and severing nerves. The case settled in Federal Court mediation.

Werner Fiberglass Ladder

Our client was severely injured when a Werner ladder he was climbing failed. We consulted with experts in California, Washington, and Michigan regarding the ladder’s design and manufacturing process. The case resolved in a judicial settlement conference.

Flammable Pajama Fabric

Our six-year-old client’s cotton flannel nightgown made by her grandmother caught fire. The fabric’s manufacturer claimed that the material met minimal federal standards, standards essentially written by the clothing industry. With a dramatic video, we showed just how weak these standards were, and the case settled out of court.

Stihl Chain Saw

Our client, a timber worker, was severely burned when the chainsaw he was using spilled gas and ignited on his pants.

Defective Bee Pesticide

In this case, we represented two apiarists (bee-keepers) against the manufacturer of a chemical miticide. The miticide was supposed to kill mites, which infect honeybees. Instead, it killed over half our clients’ bees, destroying their business.

Childhood DPT Vaccine: Massive Brain Injury

This product liability claim was against Connaught Laboratories Inc., a pharmaceutical manufacturer. We associated with a firm in the Midwest in prosecuting this complex claim involving brain injury to a young child.

Silicone Breast Implant Litigation against Bristol-Myers Squibb, Baxter International and Baxter Healthcare, 3M, Dow Corning, and Others

We represented over 250 women in Multi-District Litigation in U.S. District Court against the manufacturers of silicone gel breast implants. The majority of these actions were resolved through a negotiated national settlement. We also represented women who opted out of the national settlement.

L-Tryptophan Litigation Against Showa Denko, KK, and Others

We represented claimants in Multi-District Litigation in U.S. District Court against a Japanese manufacturer of L-tryptophan, and against numerous wholesalers, formulators, encapsulators, and retailers.

Defective Tampons: Toxic Shock Syndrome

We handled product liability and medical negligence cases involving claims that toxic shock syndrome was caused by defective tampons. These toxic shock syndrome cases involved many scientific and medical issues and required original research by our experts on the cause of illness to show that the products were dangerous.

Piper Cherokee Plane Crash

We represented the family of a passenger who died when a small private airplane struck the side of a mountain. The passenger resided in Oregon, but the fatal crash occurred in British Columbia. The case settled for policy limits.

United Airlines Crash

We represented a survivor of a United Airlines crash in Sioux City, Iowa.

Helicopter Strikes Unmarked Power Lines

Two police officers were killed when their police helicopter struck unmarked power lines owned by PacifiCorp. We represented their families in claims against the power company.

Fatal Southern Pacific Railroad Crossing Collision

Four men died on the way to work when a train at an unprotected crossing outside of Eugene hit their pickup. We prosecuted wrongful death claims against the railroad on behalf of the families of the three passengers.

Jones Act: Fisherman’s Arm Crushed

Our client was a jack-of-all-trades — fishing, logging, millwork, bartending, and construction. He was injured while working as a deckhand on a fishing trawler. He was assisting the skipper moor the vessel when his arm was crushed between the vessel and the dock pilings. We settled the claim against the boat owner under the Jones Act, alleging that the skipper was negligent in the manner he docked the vessel.

Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Company $1.78 Million Wrongful Death Verdict

Our law firm tried a case in federal court in Portland for an Oregon family against the manufacturer of a tire that exploded and caused a fatal collision. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of $1,787,708 for the family.