Case Conclusion Date: June 15, 2011
Practice Area: Personal Injury
Description: Plaintiff was at a public recreation location during evening hours. Plaintiff and others present noticed what they thought were fireworks and then a small fire on a grassy sloped area near the recreation site. Plaintiff rushed into the dark area to extinguish the burning grass to prevent it from spreading. Plaintiff was unaware that the cause of the fire was certain industrial equipment. As Plaintiff ran into the dark Plaintiff came into contact with a power source for the equipment and suffered catastrophic injuries. Comparative negligence was a huge issue. Witnesses testified that they told Plaintiff not to go into the darkened area but that Plaintiff ignored them. What emerged in discovery, however, was evidence that the equipment was not properly maintained and had a long history of related issues. Jeff Rickard and a colleague engaged in a team approach to preparing the case for jury trial. This included retention of electrical, environmental and human factors experts, completing 12-15 fact witness depositions and extensive written discovery. The case was mediated in the face of a summary judgment motion filed by Defendant. With the assistance of a JAMS Judge the case settled at the end of an all-day mediation before the motion for summary judgment was heard.