On March 10, 2011 Larry Ruder and Colin OMalley, GWC Partners, obtained the highest verdict against a local public entity in the history of McHenry county. The verdict, $900,000, is also the second highest civil damages verdict in the history of McHenry county and the largest in McHenry county in the last 10 years. The prior record verdict there was also held by GWC partner Larry Ruder. This verdict is the third time that GWC partner Colin OMalley has obtained a record verdict in an Illinois collar county. In addition to this McHenry county verdict, he also holds the record verdict in Macon county and Stephenson county.
David Fuller, a local 265 union sheet metal worker, was on his way home from work when he was rear-ended by a school bus. An employee of Richmond Burton High School District 157 in Richmond, Illinois was driving the school bus and a lawsuit was filed by GWC against the driver and her school district employer. The school district denied all responsibility for the crash, claiming that our client made a sudden stop in front of its school bus causing this accident. An eyewitness to the accident testified during trial on behalf of the school district that our client slammed on his brakes in front of the bus.
Our client sustained serious injuries to his back and lost his trade as a union sheet metal worker as a result of this accident. The defense was so confident that they would prevail against our client on trial, they withdrew all offers of settlement the day before closing arguments. They assumed that since there are so few verdicts rendered in favor of a plaintiff in McHenry county they had little to worry about.
The attorneys for the school district fought this case for close to 4 years. We took more than 20 depositions and were very well prepared for a contentious and lengthy trial. After a hotly contested 2 week trial, the jury found the school district and its driver 100% responsible for the crash and awarded damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and disability.
This record verdict is another example of why the Illinois injury lawyer you choose does matter.