Featured Verdicts and Settlements
Total Settlement – $1,125,000.00 (Walton County – Settlement of Policy Limits
In late October 2018, Stacey K., a mother of two and homemaker, was involved in a severe rear end collision in Walton County, Florida. Stacey was on her way to dropping her children off at school when suddenly and without warning she was rear-ended at a high rate of speed. The impact sent her vehicle crashing into the rear of a dump truck. Stacey received severe and traumatic injuries requiring multiple hospitalizations and surgeries and ongoing treatment. Luckily, the children were not injured.
The driver of the vehicle that impacted Stacey was a nurse who was driving her personal vehicle at the time. Her insurance, Esurance, quickly tendered policy limits of $100,000.00 when they learned of the severity of Stacey’s injuries. Rather than immediately accepting the tender, it was required that the driver complete and submit an affidavit of no additional coverage and of her financial affairs. Shortly thereafter, The Gutierrez Firm learned that she may have been returning home from work at the time of the accident and may have received Worker’s Compensation benefits as a result of her own injuries.
The Gutierrez Firm immediately placed the employer, a nursing home, on notice and demanded policy limits. When brief negotiations with the employer’s carrier, Zurich American Insurance Company, went nowhere, suit was filed. Throughout a short period of discovery and the deposition of the at fault nurse/Defendant in the Fall of 2019, it was learned that she was on her way home after working many long shifts at a local nursing home facility after a recent hurricane. She could not remember the accident nor could she recall that last time she slept at home prior to the accident. Discovery was crafted as to the testimony of the nurse and immediately filed over the weekend. A second time limit demand affording the opportunity to pay policy limits, based on the testimony of the nurse/Defendant and of the Plaintiff, was sent to Defendants’ counsel. One day prior to the expiration of the second demand, The Gutierrez Firm received a check for the policy limits of $1,000,000.00. The was an additional tender of UIM limits through Plaintiff’s own insurance carrier. Total Settlement – $1,125,000.00. This case had been referred to The Gutierrez Firm by the Plaintiff’s local family law attorney who stayed on as local counsel.
Auto Accident Verdict – $440,000.00 (Broward County)
Jury Award Goes to Chef Hit by FPL Truck at Red Light. Florida Power & Light argued the motorist’s injuries were not caused by the collision.
A jury awarded more than $440,000 to a chef who was rear-ended by a Florida Power & Light Co. utility truck. Donna Richards-Gibson, 55, was driving a sedan in July 2014 when she stopped behind other vehicles at a red light in Hollywood. Gregory Schmidt, who was driving the FPL truck, rear ended Richards-Gibson’s car. She claimed injuries to her neck and back and underwent cervical and lumbar fusion surgery. The defense argued the injuries were unrelated to the accident, but the jury found otherwise. It awarded Richards-Gibson a total of $441,795.
Florida Power & Light, who was self-insured, never offered more than $25,000 before The Gutierrez Firm was brought in to try the matter before Judge Levinson in Broward County.
At the close of the Defendant’s case, the Court directed a verdict against the Defendant on liability and the matter went before a jury on the issues of causation and damages. The jury found the Defendant 100% responsible for the accident and the injuries claimed and awarded:
- $189,594.86 in past medical care
- $192,000 in past pain and suffering
- $57,000 in future pain and suffering
- No future wages or meds were requested
Slip & Fall at Medical Office Building (Miami-Dade County 2020)
$250,000.00 – Elderly woman in her late 60s slipped and fell in a water puddle inside a public bathroom within a medical office building in Hialeah. The Gutierrez Firm settled the matter confidentially before filing suit.
Slip & Fall at Pharmacy (Miami-Dade County 2020)
$175,000 – Elderly woman in her 70s slipped and fell in a puddle of detergent inside a drugstore. The Gutierrez Firm settled the matter after filing their lawsuit
Damages After Marina Fire (Monroe County 2020)
Two keys lobster fisherman lost hundred of lobster traps and related equipment after a fire started at a Florida Keys Marina due to alleged negligence of the owner who allowed illegal improvements on the property which led to the fire. Through aggressive litigation, the filing of a lawsuit and pressing to trial, the two fishermen were made whole during a global mediation with other claimants. While confidential, both clients were made whole and recovered all losses.
Tractor Trailer Accident (Jacksonville 2019)
Confidential settlement of a Jacksonville Tractor Trailer v. Pedestrian Matter which had been filed in Duval Circuit Court. The client, a South Fla. based long distance trucker, was struck in a distribution center parking lot by a Tractor-Trailer and required knee and spine surgery. The Gutierrez Firm was brought in as trial counsel and was able to resolve the matter shortly before starting trial. Pre-suit counsel was never offered any significant monies.
Motor Vehicle Accident (Miami-Dade County 2019)
$550,000.00 – Low speed motor vehicle accident where Client ended up having back surgery. Pre-suit counsel was never offered any significant monies before bringing The Gutierrez Firm in as Trial Counsel. Case settled the Friday before trial for the initial demand of The Gutierrez Firm (550k) after first having come into the case.
Slip & Fall at Hospital Emergency Room (Miami-Dade County 2019)
Confidential 7 Figure Settlement – Client was in the E.R as a visitor accompanying her elderly mother who was the actual patient when she herself tripped over and fell over an unattended wheelchair hidden behind a privacy curtain left by a hospital worker in violation of hospital procedures. She broke her pelvis and required surgery. The Gutierrez Firm obtained prepared a life care plan for her as she was in her late 50s at the time and this event drastically changed her life as she now required a cane and was left with terrible pain and a limp. She would require additional surgeries and care for the remainder of her life. The Gutierrez Firm was able to obtain a summary judgment on liability leaving the only issue remaining for trial being the damages. After being extensively litigated, Defendant finally capitulated and tended the policy limits.
Motor Vehicle Accident Settlement During Trial (Miami-Dade County 2019)
$450,000.00 Settlement After Jury Selection – Elderly client was walking her dog when she was struck in a crosswalk by a driver with limited liability insurance. The Gutierrez Firm was brought in as trial counsel after lawsuit was filed and case mediated unsuccessfully. After engaging in expert discovery, Jorge Gutierrez tried the case against State Farm, the client’s uninsured motorist insurance carrier. After picking a jury on day one, the carrier quickly resolved the case for 5x their last offer and client decided to accept the offer.
Disputed Liability Motor Vehicle Accident (Miami-Dade County 2019)
$408,288.27 – Miami Dade Water & Sewer Employee was struck by another vehicle on his way to work injuring his knee and spine. Defendant’s insurance carrier denied liability and claimed it was preexisting. At Trial, jury found defendant 100% responsible and awarded medical expenses, pain & suffering and lost overtime income as a result of his injuries.
Medical Malpractice Verdict (Miami-Dade County)
$7,500,000.00 – On April 27, 2009, 45-year-old Maria Elena Espinosa saw Dr. Basil Yates concerning a small mass under her scalp and an MRI was performed. A tumor was indicated, and Dr. Yates arranged for Espinosa’s admission to Hialeah Hospital on May 13, 2009, for the purpose of resecting her right skull lesion. Pre-admission lab work showed protein in the urine, and an EKG was abnormal. Espinosa died during the surgery as a result of blood loss and loss of blood pressure. It was learned at the time of autopsy that the lesion was multiple myeloma which was supposed to be treated non-surgically. She was survived by her husband and two minor children. After confidential settlements with various providers and physicians before trial, Jorge P. Gutierrez, Jr obtained this jury verdict against the two remaining defendant neurosurgeons who were uninsured and collected over $3,000,000.00 from these doctors through garnishments of a dozen bank accounts and post judgment proceedings. Even with a life expectancy of approximately 5 years, Gutierrez was able to recover in total over 5.5 Million Dollars for the family as a result of this negligent care.
Punitive Damages/Motor Vehicle Accident (Broward County)
Confidential 7 Figure Settlement – Broward County firefighter was struck on duty while leaving the scene of an accident by a limousine whose driver was under the influence of alcohol after drinking all afternoon. He had undergone several back surgeries and was unable to return to work.
Motor Vehicle Accident/Extra Contractual Verdict (Miami-Dade County)
$632,429.00 – 22 year old was involved in motor vehicle accident with individual who only had a $50,000.00 policy through State Farm which was never offered before trial. Jorge P. Gutierrez Jr. was retained before trial as co-counsel and obtained the verdict which was over 300 times the insurance carrier’s presuit offer. Entire verdict was paid within ten days of the verdict by State Farm to avoid further expenses and costs associated with bad faith case.
Motor Vehicle Accident/Extra Contractual Verdict (Miami-Dade County)
$200,000.00 – Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident with individual who had only a $10,000.00 policy with Geico which was never offered before trial. Jury verdict was obtained for 20 times the policy limits.
Products Liability/Negligence (Broward County)
Confidential 6 Figure Settlement – Client had purchased a large bottle of wine at a major grocer and upon arriving home the bag broke which led to the bottle breaking and causing her achilles tendon to be severed. She underwent surgery and necessitated extensive physical therapy and will have limitations for the remainder of her life. Suit was filed against the grocery chain and the manufacturer of the plastic bag. Case was resolved shortly before trial.
Premises Liability (Broward County)
Confidential 6 Figure Settlement – Client was a tenant in an apartment complex. Due to the failure to properly maintain the unit’s air conditioning system, water collected above the kitchen light and subsequently caused the overhead light to collapse and fall on the client in the middle of the night as she grabbed a glass of water. She suffered significant neck injuries which required various surgeries.
Medical Malpractice/Failure to Treat Stroke (Palm Beach County)
Confidential 7 Figure Settlement – Hospital nurse treated an employee and sent her home after experiencing classic stroke-like symptoms at the hospital’s employee health care office. Discovered to have stroke the following day when she returned to the emergency room and was unable to return to work and disabled.
Medical Malpractice/Perforated Ear Drum (Miami-Dade County)
$300,000.00 – After a 5 year old placed a foreign object inside her ear, an emergency room physician perforated the child’s eardrum after attempting to remove it rather than sending the child to an ENT with the experience and equipment to safely remove the object.
Motorcycle Accident (Miami-Dade County)
Confidential 6 Figure Settlement During Trial – Defendant was a Restaurant that had weekend event which required off site parking. Their employee illegally parked a golf cart on a public road and directed an oncoming driver to cut in front of the client who was on his motorcycle. Main injury was a detached tricep which affected his activities of daily living and employment.
Slip & Fall/Carpal Tunnel & Neck Surgery (Miami-Dade County)
$500,000.00 settlement with a national drugstore chain stemming from a significant fall in the pharmacy parking lot that necessitated neck surgery as well as various surgeries in the hands.
Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Birth (Palm Beach County)
Confidential settlement with a South Florida OB-GYN group after the group’s failure to offer an amniocentesis to a mother of advanced maternal age. Mother gave birth to a child with a chromosome abnormality that would have been discovered have the procedure been performed at the appropriate time.
Medical Malpractice/Radiology (Miami-Dade County)
Pre-Suit Settlement with a South Florida Hospital and its radiologists after several x-rays were misread and fractures and dislocations were missed leading to a delay in surgery and causing permanent injury to a dominant hand.
Medical Malpractice/Chemical Burn (Miami-Dade County)
Confidential settlement with a South Florida Hospital after a patient suffered 3rd degree burns to the right hand as a result of a potassium chloride IV infiltration after cardiac surgery.
Medical Malpractice/Amputation (Miami-Dade County)
Confidential 7 figure Settlement – 50yo man suffered a heart attack and went to hospital seeking treatment. He was found to have a septal defect and required immediate surgery. During the postoperative period, the patient who had been given Heparin since the first day of admission, developed Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia (HIT) which went undiagnosed for several days by Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Hematology and Nurses, even though he displayed textbook symptoms. Due to the delay in recognizing HIT and the failure to stop Heparin, he ended up requiring an above the knee amputation of his right leg.
Medical Malpractice/Negligent Stillbirth (Miami-Dade County)
Negligent Stillbirth case against Emergency Room physician as a result of an undiagnosed hematoma in left leg, which resulted in anemia and death of baby.
Medical Malpractice/Negligent Stillbirth (Broward County)
$1,000,000.00 – Initially settled with hospital after they admitted liability in pre-suit and demanded arbitration. The mother, who was already hospitalized for preterm labor, was never seen by the Perinatologist and discovery established he had been called throughout the night but did not arrive to deliver the baby until the following evening. Subsequently settled with physicians before trial in excess of policy limits.
Medical Malpractice/Failure to Diagnose Allergic Reaction (Miami-Dade County)
$1,000,000.00 – 52 year old female went to hospital diagnostic center for a CT Scan with contrast. Patient had an allergic reaction to the contrast material yet the facility did not have a crash cart, proper procedures in place or even a radiologist on the premises to treat any reaction. She spent 5 weeks in the hospital where she underwent several surgeries including the removal of her thyroid. The hospital settled before trial while the radiologist and his group settled after jury selection at trial.
Medical Malpractice/Failure to Diagnose Rectal Cancer (Miami-Dade County)
Confidential 7 Figure Settlement – 19yo unmarried young man with family history of cancer was treated at 2 separate emergency rooms over a few month period for rectal bleeding. After being frustrated with the 2 previous visits, he visited Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was immediately diagnosed with rectal cancer. Settlement was reached with the 2 hospitals and their respective emergency physician groups who missed opportunities to identify treat and diagnose the cancer.
Medical Malpractice/Hernia Surgery & Loss of Testicle (Miami-Dade County)
32 year old married male underwent surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. During the procedure, the physician cut off the blood supply to the testicle causing it to become atrophied. Physician failed to recognize this complication in time, which led to the loss of the testicle. Settlement was reached with the Medical Center, Surgery Group and the individual physician.
Medical Malpractice/Duodenal Puncture during ERCP (Broward County)
$1,000,000.00 – 50 year old woman underwent gallbladder surgery and had subsequent complications. General Surgeon subsequently sent her to a Gastroenterologist who immediately does an ERCP rather than exploring a more reasonable diagnosis. During the ERCP, the Gastroenterologist perforates her duodenum and she later begins having retroperitoneal fluid collection. During the following 8 weeks of hospitalization, she develops a DVT which goes undiagnosed and ends up permanently disabled for the rest of her life. The Gastroenterologist paid in excess of policy limits after filing suit while the Surgeon later settled confidentially.
Paramedic/EMT Negligence (Miami-Dade County)
Settlement Limited by Sovereign Immunity – Family contacted 911 in the middle of the night requesting paramedics to the scene to treat their mother after she complained of chest pains. Upon arrival, the paramedics failed to transport her to the local hospital for evaluation and failed to obtain a signature on the refusal to transport form. Shortly after the paramedics left, woman’s family contacted 911 again when she became unresponsive. Mother died before paramedics were able to get her to the hospital.
Audiological Malpractice (Broward County)
71yo World War II veteran lost 92% of his hearing in his “good ear” as a result of an audiologist’s failure to properly take an ear impression and recognize that impression material had been left inside the ear. The client required surgery to remove the impression. Case settled confidentially on the second day of trial after the Court granted the Plaintiff’s motion for mistrial.
Partial Paralysis/Slip & Fall/RSD Case (Miami-Dade County)
Confidential 7 Figure Settlement – 54yo female slipped and fell on a recently waxed floor in an employee cafeteria. Due to improper training, the maintenance company performed waxing during working hours and failed to place any warning signs in the area. As a result, she suffered permanent paralysis of the right leg from the knee down. Part of her treatment included 4 weeks of inpatient care at the Rosomoff Pain Management Center at South Shore Hospital. She was unable to work again and required a walker/cane for the rest of her life.
Rape/Negligent Security at Trailer Park (Broward County)
86 year old former Olympic figure skater was viciously raped by an intruder in the middle of the night in her mobile home. The trailer park, which was recently purchased by a municipality for redevelopment purposes, had become a haven for criminal activity and all reasonable steps to prevent criminal activity had been ignored. Settled for statutory cap during notice period after consulting with client and lobbyist who would have handled the claims bill. The client, who has a health scare during the notice period, felt she could use the money now to leave the park and did not feel waiting for a claims bill was a good idea based on her advanced age.
Bar/Restaurant Liability-Excessive Force (Miami-Dade County)
$500,000.00 – A recently married couple visited a Lincoln Road restaurant/bar for an after-work function. On their way out, an untrained and aggressive security guard used improper techniques to remove the husband from the premises after the wife attempted to leave using a wrong door. Bouncer, using a chokehold, caused loss of consciousness and lacerations after the client passed out. Moreover, he sustained fractures to a few bones in his neck but had an excellent recovery.
Motor Vehicle Accident/Uninsured Motorist (Sarasota County)
Settlement for UM Policy Limits – 40 year old man involved in what initially looked to be a single car accident late one evening on his way to work as a security guard. Alcohol or drugs were not an issue so we began investigating the circumstances, which led to the accident. We knew the vehicle left the roadway and caught fire, which left him with catastrophic injuries including horrific burns to 60% of his body, and led to his death weeks later. Due to the age of the vehicle, no products liability case was viable but firm was able to recover all the available significant uninsured motorist coverage in pre-suit under a phantom vehicle theory after obtaining affidavits from witnesses etc.
Motor Vehicle Accident/Uninsured Motorist (Brunswick, Georgia)
Family of 6 from South Florida on their way to North Carolina for Christmas vacation was involved in a single car accident on I-95 in Southeast Georgia caused by phantom vehicle. The 26yo mother died on the scene. After attending an inspection of the vehicle and reconstructing the accident, no viable case was found against the manufacturer but we were able to recover policy limits of all uninsured motorist policies.
Products Liability/Treadmill Fire (Southern District of Florida)
60 year old man suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his body after a treadmill caught fire inside the family’s Hialeah condominium which also destroyed the family’s personal belongings. Sued the manufacturer and distributor of the treadmill in U.S. District Court for injuries sustained by the client as well as for the value of all personal items consumer by the blaze. Case settled confidentially immediately prior to trial during a pretrial conference with the Magistrate Judge.
Product Liability/Tea Cup Ride Injury (Miami-Dade County)
Confidential Settlement – 5 year old boy suffered a spiral fracture of the humerus after the child’s arm was caught in a spinning teacup ride during a summer camp outing. Through discovery, it was learned that the operator had built this ride rather than purchasing one from a reputable manufacturer in order to save money. The ride however failed to comply with State and Federal Safety standards that would have prevented the injury.
Commercial Litigation (Southern District of Florida)
Amoco v. Gomez, 379 F.3d 1266 (11th Cir. 2004)
Successfully defended a fuel station franchisee in litigation against a major oil company. After five weeks of trial in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Florida, a favorable jury verdict awarding contractual damages based upon franchisee’s counterclaim was obtained.
Doctors XYZ v. HMO (Arbitration)
Represented two groups of ophthalmologists who were owed several million dollars by a Florida HMO for unpaid and underpaid claims over a period of 5 years. Working with expert accountants, we were able to reconstruct payment records that showed fraud and a clear failure pay monies owed month after month. This action was arbitrated through the AHLA and was settled after Claimants’’ case in chief during a weeklong arbitration before a single arbitrator.
The results obtained by the Firm in these cases are representative only,
and there is no guarantee that future cases will yield similar results.