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Power and Brugess Awarded for Highest Reported Illinois Verdict for a Heel Injury


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George T. Brugess and John M. Power of Cogan & Power PC each received a 2016 Trial Lawyer Excellence award from the Jury Verdict Reporter for having the highest reported Illinois verdict for a heel injury. The $22.47 million verdict was handed down in the case of a 51st Street railroad yard conductor whose heal was torn off when two railroad cars collided on what was supposed to be parallel tracks.

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Power and Brugess Awarded for Highest Reported Illinois Verdict for a Heel Injury

  1. 1. HIGHEST REPORTED ILLINOIS VERDICT FOR A HEEL INJURY Train Conductor^ Heel Raiiyard Train Collision PLAINTIFF ASKED $36,747,600 - $36,246,529 DEFENSE OFFER $9,000,000 - $3,000,000 High/Low VERDICT $22,474,102 PlaintiffMichaelParsonswasa train conductor working at Norfolk Southern's raiiyard in Chicago, separating out freight cars that needed repairs. He was riding point on the rear car of a train, with his left foot on the steel ladder on the side of the car. During a shove move by the train, the car Michael was on collided with a stationary train on the adjacent track. He suffered traumatic amputation of his left heel and other related injuries. He is now employed as a dispatcher, Allegedly, Norfolk Southern had created a pinch point in the tracks when it had reconstructed rails and switches a few months prior to the accident. The defense contended that Michael was at fault for the incident. (continued on next page) JURY VERDICT REPORTER • 2016 ANNUAL TRIAL LAWYER EXCELLENCE AWARDS 43
  2. 2. HIGHEST REPORTED ILLINOIS VERDICT FDR AHEEL INJURY John M. Power J£.. 9 John Power is a partner at Cogan & / Power, PC., aper- Wgg. I sonalinjury law firm. He has practiced years and has achieved more than $190 millionin verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, $60 million of which was obtained within the last year. He recently tried a FELA case to a $22.47 million verdict. He has successfully resolved numerous bad faith cases against insurance companies. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Trial Lawyers and the Board of Managers for ITLA. He has continuously been recognized as a Leading Lawyer, a Super Lawyerand just received a Trial Lawyer Excellence Award from the Ju^ Verdict Reporter and the Law Bulletin. His firm was named as the fifth highest grossing personal injury firm inthe state of Illinois by the 2016 JVRSettlement Report published inthe Chi cago Lawyer magazine. With almost 200 years of combined experience, Cogan & Power P.C.'s distinguished Chicago trial lawyers provide personalized service to victims and families faced with medical malpractice, wrongful death, trucking accidents, and personal injury. We pride ourselves on providing clients with exceptional legal advice and personalized client attention in an effort to get you the results that you deserve. 1/^JURY VERDICT Jlr < REPORTER MICHAEL PARSONS V NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILWAY 11L-9265 TRIED NOV. 9-19,2015 VERDICT $22,474,102 JUDGE Donald J.Suriano (IL Cook-Law) PLTF ATTY(S) George T. Brugess and John M. Power of Cogan & Power DEMAND: $12,000,000 ASKED: $36,747,600 - $36,246,529 DEFT ATTY(S) Raymond H.Groble,III,JeffreyJ.Scolaro and Kimberlee M.Petrie-Volm of Daley,Mohan, Groble OFFER: $9,000,000 - $3,000,000 High/Low PLTF MEDL Dr. Mark Grevious (Plastic Surgeon) DEFT MEDL Margo DiVenere, R.N. (Nursing) On September 2,2011, pltf train conductor was workingat Norfolk Southern's 51stStreet railyardin Chicago duringthe earlymorning hours,separating out freightcars that needed repairs.Hewas riding point on the side of the rear car of a train which was moving in reverse(meaninghe was at the front ofthe backingtrain),with his left foot on the steel ladder on the side of the car. During a shove move ty the train, the car pltf was on collided with a stationary train on the adjacent track. The passing railcar sheared off his left boot and part ofhis heel, which had been protruding from the edge of the ladder step, and pltf then had to jump off and dive under the train to avoid being crushed. Pltf M-30 sustained a traumatic amputation of the left heel with a large open calcaneus fracture, fracture/dislocation of the calcaneus, degloving of the left foot, severed nerves, torn tendons and ligaments, and osteonecrosis of the heel bone. Hehas undergone 23surgicalprocedures including graftingof skin and tissue from his thigh to cover the exposed heel area, debridements, and surgical flap revisions. Pltf was unable to bear weight on his left foot for more than two years, and since then he has repeatedly suffered tearing of the skin graft and multiple infections; amputation of his lower left leg has been discussed as an option to improve function. Pltf was unable to return to work for three years but now is employed as a dispatcher for the railroad ($387,645 -$474,102 futuremedicalexpenses,$1,258,884 -$1,673,498 past and future lost wages and benefits). Pltf argued Norfolkfailed to providea safe placeto work and violatedsafety standards when it reconfigured the tracks in that section ofthe railyard and reduced the amount of clearance space between tracks. The railroad had reconstructed some rails and track switches in the south end of 44 JURY VERDICT REPORTER • 2016 ANNUAL TRIAL LAWYER EXCELLENCE AWARDS
  3. 3. the yard a couple months prior to the occurrence. However, Norfolk failed to widen the track centers (center lines between adjacent sets of tracks) from the 12-footwidth (builta hundred years earlier) to a width of 13.5 feet as required by ICC regulations. Instead, the railroad narrowed the track centers to 10.5 feet and they were no longer parallel, creating the pinch point where pltf was injured. The defense contended pltf was at fault for parking railcars in area designated as a no parking zone, thereby creating the dangerous condition. However,video footage showed other engineers had also parked train cars on parallel tracks.The jury reportedly deliberated approximately three hours. HGeorgeT.Brugess George T. Brugess has been a partner at Cogan and Power, P.O. since November of 2015. An experienced Federal Employer Liability Act litigator, he has more than 30 years of experience representing plaintiffs in railroad-related personal injury cases through out the country. Aftergraduating fromDePaul lawschool in 1981, George handled his first FELA case for an Amtrak coach cleaner injured at Chicago Union Station. In 1985, George was appointed General Attorneyforthe Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in Chicago. At the CNW. George litigated catastrophic cases for the railroad. After the Union Pacific Railroad acquired the CNW, George continued as General Attorney for the UPRR in Chicago until1996. Since then, George has successfully litigatedFELA cases to verdict on behalf of injured railroad workers. In November 2014, George opened his own practice. George's jury verdicts include $33 million for a switchman who suffered double leg amputation, $3.9 million for multiple injuries in a van accident, $1.5 million fora back injury caused by excess locomotivevibration and $1.25 million fora partialthumb amputation. Inaddition, he has secured many million dollar settlements for injured railroad workers. JURY VERDICT REPORTER • 2016 ANNUAL TRIAL LAWYER EXCELLENCE AWARDS 45