An apartment stove tipped over when a five-year-old boy stood on its open door while trying to reach a pot.
The pot of scalding water toppled off the stove, spilled onto the boy, and severely burned his groin and upper thighs. The landlord had ignored Philadelphia’s building code, which requires every apartment stove to be anchored to the floor at the back of the stove. The stove manufacturer violated the standards for the home appliance industry when it failed to provide essential safety information. Martin K. Brigham’s role as lead trial counsel for the boy in his claim against the landlord and the stove manufacturer was featured as a Spotlight case in ATLA’s Law Reporter.
Working at a lead smelter, Tom was splattered with molten metal that had spilled from a crucible. The metal landed on his work uniform, which was supposed to have been flame retardant. The uniform failed, and instead of self extinguishing, provided the fuel to transform, what would have been limited superficial burns, to burns over more than 70% of Tom’s body. Martin Brigham led the team of lawyers in the lawsuit against the uniform supplier. Mr. Brigham established that the uniform company had used the wrong type of fabric. By reenacting the accident with the proper fabric, he was able to establish that Tom’s injuries were directly related to the uniform’s failure. Mr. Brigham was able to secure a settlement for Tom that was described at the time as being the largest pre-trial settlement for a burn survivor in Pennsylvania’s federal courts.
Joe was assigned to work in a water treatment facility. Before work was to start, the facility was supposed to ensure that the area was safe and that all sources of steam had been isolated. Tragically, the facility had not fulfilled its responsibilities and Joe was scalded. Although Joe received excellent care at the burn unit that prevented any permanent scarring, he had endured tremendous pain. The facility eventually recognized its responsibility and honored what Joe had had to endure.
Roy DeCaro led the Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer team called upon to represent in federal court the family of a young husband and father who was burned to death when his car was struck by a tractor trailer in Delaware County.
As John moved a large piece of equipment across the factory floor, it fell, smashing into a six gallon glass bottle of sulfuric acid that a co-worker had left sitting out. John slipped into the spreading puddle of acid, burning his shoulder, upper arm, and neck. Since the chemical manufacturer knew the acid bottle was to be used in a factory, Martin Brigham, lead trial counsel, argued that the bottle should have been encased in a heavy plastic wrap. Videotaped testing of a wrapped bottle withstanding heavy impacts convinced the jury to rapidly return a verdict that was more than twenty times the defendants’ highest offer to settle.
Auto racing fans were directed by the race track owner to set up their RV’s directly under an unlit, unmarked, uninsulated 69,000 volt high power line. Following the track’s suggestion to fly the flag of their favorite race team, a family put up a tall flagpole. When the wind shifted, the pole contacted the power line, causing an electrical arc that killed two and catastrophically injured three others. Martin K. Brigham was lead trial counsel for all of the families and conducted over fifty depositions and interviewed over one hundred witnesses. After Mr. Brigham prepared a compelling settlement video, the case resolved at mediation for what was described by defense counsel as the largest pre-trial personal injury recovery in the state’s history.
Concerned about theft, a family stored its propane gas grill in the kitchen when it was not being used. Just before a holiday, the home owner asked her daughter Marian to take the propane cylinder to be refilled. After trying to make sure that the cylinder valve was closed, Marian attempted to disconnect the hose. Unexpectedly, gas escaped, reached a source of ignition and exploded, severely burning Marian. Attorneys Roy DeCaro and Martin Brigham teamed up to represent Marian. They discovered that a safety device — a back check assembly — would have prevented the accident and had been recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for more than a decade. Armed with the minutes from CPSC meetings at which the Defendants fought to delay the use of the safety device, DeCaro and Brigham earned the Court’s permission to seek punitive damages. A video settlement brochure, including a computer animation of the effectiveness of the safety device, facilitated a very successful confidential resolution for Marian.
Lucent Technology’s electricians certified to a crew of outside contractors that it was safe to enter a “de-energized” piece of electrical equipment. The assurance was false, the equipment had 12,470 volts flowing through it, and one of the contractor employees suffered severe electrical burns. The non-confidential portion of the settlement exceeded $10,000,000.
A Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer team led by Marty Brigham secured this confidential settlement for a migrant worker who was badly burned when he came into contact with an energized power line while he was painting a barn. Safety compliance for power lines is evaluated by he standards that are in effect when the lines are put in place. These power lines complied with the standards when they were installed, however, the standards had been recently updated. Mr. Brigham was able to discover that a few months before the accident, the utility company had moved its lines, which were to close to the barn. A videotape settlement brochure powerfully presented the case, prompting an early mediation and resolution.
While Mike was troubleshooting a commercial air conditioning unit, the compressor—made in 1954—overheated. The lubricating oil pressurized and exploded out through an electrical terminal, where a spark ignited the oil as it sprayed onto Mike. Even though Mike’s employer had thrown out the compressor, Martin Brigham, lead trial counsel, was able to use photographs to identify the manufacturer, which led to the discovery that this style of compressor had caused many similar accidents. Mike’s case settled for $4.5 million.