On February 13, Phillips Law Offices of Chicago, Illinois received a $25 million verdict in Gary, Indiana on behalf of a widow who lost her husband of 40 years because of the selfishness of a drunk driver and the negligence of two restaurants who served that driver excessive amounts of alcohol. Our client married her husband when she was 19. She had a heartfelt and true partnership with him until a drunk driver drove onto the shoulder of a road where our client’s husband was helping a disabled trucker change a flat. The driver consumed 21 shots at a restaurant and then three glasses of wine at a second restaurant in the hours before the tragedy. The second restaurant was a mere 45-second drive from the accident site.
Despite overwhelming evidence – a 0.19 blood alcohol content level measured two hours after the collision and the odor of alcohol wafting from his Range Rover as state troopers approached – both restaurants and their insurance companies denied that the driver was intoxicated while at their establishments on the night of the tragedy. In fact, for four years, they denied any fault in causing our client’s husband’s death. (This was the driver’s fifth alcohol related traffic offense). In spite of the overwhelming evidence, the insurance company’s attorneys refused to offer our widow client a fair pre-trial settlement. In fact, the insurance companies and drunk driver put our client and her family under a microscope for four years. Those tactics were exposed during the 5-day trial. The jury spoke loudly and unequivocally about the value of our client’s enormous losses due to the gross misconduct of the defendants.
This was a record verdict. Stephen D. Phillips and Jill M. Webb of Phillips Law Offices were honored to represent and help a widowed client who was bullied for 4 years by insurance companies and a drunk driver’s lawyer. The verdict reaffirms that our jury system protects common men and women by putting them on the same level playing field as powerful insurance companies who wish it were not so and who are constantly trying to change the system and send innocent victims home with pennies despite their horrific losses.