"Timothy Aiken, a leading Wisconsin malpractice lawyer who represented Bartholomew, called Friday "a bright day for people who believe consumers and patients ought to have access to the courts." He estimated he turned down 100 cases in which the victims died during the past two years because the potential award of $350,000 was not worth the risk.
"We are supposed to have open courts and we're not supposed to close the courthouse doors on artificial limits," he said.
Bartholomew sought care at a walk-in clinic in 1998 for pain in her chest and left shoulder and arm. She was misdiagnosed and suffered a heart attack the next day. She was forced to stay in a nursing home until she died in 2003, according to court records.
Bartholomew's husband, Robert, sued the doctor responsible and the Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, which pays damages over $1 million. A jury awarded a total of $1.2 million for her pain and suffering and his loss of companionship before and after her death. A judge cut the award to $350,000 after the court's 2004 decision.
Reversing course on Friday, the court said Bartholomew should be awarded the additional $850,000 the Kenosha County jury initially recommended. The award included $500,000 for Helen Bartholomew's pre-death pain and suffering, $350,000 for her husband's loss of companionship and $350,000 for the wrongful death.
Unsafe Toys and Playground Equipment
Morgan L, three years old, was playing outside with her two-year old friend. Her mom, who was watching them play, had to run inside the house for a minute to change her baby's diaper. In the short time that mom was gone, Morgan placed her tricycle under her new play set and climbed up on the seat so she could access a climbing/swinging rope, which was part of the play set.
Because the rope had not been safely secured at both ends, it became entangled around Morgan's neck, causing her to lose consciousness. Her mother found her only minutes later, but it was too late. Morgan had been severely brain damaged and would go on to die a day later.
Aiken & Scoptur represented Morgan's parents. We settled the case for the maximum amount allowed under Wisconsin law and helped Morgan's parents hold the manufacturer accountable for designing a dangerous children's play set.
Michael was enjoying a nice summer afternoon in his backyard. Next door, the neighbor had laid down a water slide toy, called a Slip "N Slide. Michael decided to use the slide and dove on it the way he had seen the others at the party use it. Everything seemed okay until Michael tried to get up after he got to the end of his slide. He could not move. Michael's neck was broken, and he remained partially paralyzed. Michael sought the services of various Wisconsin law firms and was rejected by some of best, before being referred to Aiken & Scoptur. They accepted Michael's case and obtained a $12,500,000 million dollar verdict for Michael, allowing him to live a full and productive life.
Home and Industrial Gas Explosions
Bob & Mary, had just fallen asleep in their Lone Tree, Iowa home. Suddenly, they were awakened by an explosion that rocked the very foundation of their home.
Aiken & Scoptur accepted the family's representation and tried the case to verdict against the Iowa Gas & Electric Company (now Alliant). The jury awarded one of the highest verdict awards in Iowa history for loss of society and companionship of adult children's loss of a parent and for pain and suffering for less than one day. The total verdict approached $5,000,000.
The defendants forced the family through appeal, all the way to the Supreme Court of Iowa, where the Iowa Supreme Court held that Alliant was responsible for the death and injuries. Aiken & Scoptur acknowledge the work and support on the case from A. John Arenz and Stephen Krumpe - both of Dubuque, Iowa.
The Pablo A. family moved into their new apartment, full of promise in their new home. They hooked up the gas appliances and began cooking dinner. As they ate dinner, suddenly the room was ablaze with fire and an explosion that originated from an unsealed gas pipe.
All five of P. A.'s family were burnt. Because the family members were recent immigrants, they had difficulty finding a lawyer. We helped them file suit, took their case all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and ultimately got the family the justice the Wisconsin Gas Company wanted to deny them: access to our court system and security for the family. The case settled during the second appeal for $7,000,000.
Wayne and Elaine were out on a nice fall Saturday morning. They had taken their cycle to a restaurant for breakfast and were on their way home. As they got close to home, a woman driving an Escalade almost killed them. She ran a stop sign and crashed into their cycle, breaking Elaine's arm and injuring Wayne's leg so bad that it was eventually amputated above the knee. They wanted to handle the case on their own, believing the insurance company would treat them fairly. It soon became apparent that was not the case and they called Aiken & Scoptur for help. Because of the severity of the injury to Wayne, suit was started right away, and within a short period of time, they received the justice they were entitled to, settling their cases for $1,200,000, all of the insurance coverage available to them.
John was a doctor in California. He was on a bicycle trip in Germany with his brother when he was killed by the driver of a dump truck. John did not plan for the future and had little life insurance. John's wife didn't know where to turn, as bills were mounting up and their children were becoming college age, so they asked John's sister, a lawyer, who to call. Knowing the skills of Aiken & Scoptur, S.C., and knowing that they had handled foreign cases before, she recommended Aiken & Scoptur, S.C. With the assistance of co-counsel in Germany, Aiken and Scoptur obtained a multi-million settlement which provided lifetime security for John's family and allowed his children to pursue their college education.
Denial of Insurance Benefits
Timmy was a 5-year-old boy on vacation with his family in St. Augustine Florida. While playing on the beach, he was struck by a teenager driving on the beach. He sustained a severe brain injury, but despite that, the insurance company for the teenage driver refused to pay their $25,000 policy limits. Facing frustration, Timmy's parents turned to Aiken & Scoptur for help. Along with co-counsel in Florida, Aiken & Scoptur, S.C., sued the teenage driver and her insurance company and obtained a $2,700,000 verdict. They then sued the driver's insurance company for bad faith, as they did not settle the case in a timely manner, and ultimately, the insurance company paid the judgment. Timmy got the help and therapy he needed, and ended up playing on his high school soccer team!
Colleen was married and had one child. She worked the night shift at the local hotel, so she could go to school and get her college degree. Her dreams and her family were destroyed by a semi driver who didn't take the time to stop and clean his windshield. Instead, the semi driver, who told the police he couldn't see the traffic light, which was red, because his windshield was so dirty, raced through the red light and instantly killed Colleen, leaving her husband without a wife and her son without a mother.
They turned to Aiken & Scoptur, S.C., for help. Suit was filed and the case was settled, giving the family the security they deserved, and more importantly for the family, holding the semi driver accountable for his negligence.