WM’s Wise Lands $11 Million Verdict for Brain-Injured Man After Court-Ordered Retrial
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Contact: David Wise, (312) 580-2040
$11 Million Verdict for Brain-injured Man After U.S. Court of Appeals Orders Retrial
A Wheaton man, who suffered severe brain damage after the ladder he was using collapsed, won an $11 million verdict in a federal court retrial of his case against the equipment’s manufacturer.
The plaintiff, John Baugh, was represented at the retrial by Wise Morrissey, LLC partner David Wise. “The case took a winding path,” said attorney Wise. “The verdict in the retrial has given the Baugh family the result it deserves.”
The accident occurred on August 1, 2006 when Baugh, then 64 years-old, was atop a ladder designed and manufactured by the defendant Cuprum S.A. de C.V. now affiliated with Louisville Ladder. While Baugh was on the ladder in the process of working on gutter screws, the right side rail collapsed, spilling Baugh onto a cement driveway and causing permanent and severe brain damage. His fall was not seen by any witnesses and Baugh’s injuries rendered him unable to describe the incident. He remains incapacitated and institutionalized in a skilled nursing care facility, where his wife supervises his treatment.
In 2011, Baugh’s original attorneys took the case to trial in federal district court and defendant Cuprum was found not liable. However, the plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, arguing that the trial court judge had improperly allowed the jury to inspect during its deliberations an exemplar (model) of the ladder – which was never admitted into evidence at trial – over the objections of the plaintiff. The Seventh Circuit agreed and ordered a new trial. The appeal was handled by David Wise of Burke Wise.
This year, the product liability case was retried before another federal judge, Judge John Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. On June 4, 2015, the jury returned a verdict of $11.1 million for Baugh, who had argued that the ladder was defectively designed and caused his injuries.
Defendant Cuprum was represented by Dominick Saviano of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP.
The Baugh verdict is the third multimillion-dollar jury verdict for clients of Wise Morrissey, LLC during the past month. In another case, Frank Morrissey won a $9.4 million verdict in Parker v. Rosen Medical Group Case No. 11 CV 7676.
An article about the Baugh v. Cuprum verdict appeared in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. (Note: A panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the award in January 2017.)