Meagher + Geer partner, Michael Hutchens, recently secured defense verdicts in two unrelated cases.

The first case was a wrongful death matter involving a motorcycle fatality. The decedent’s estate sued, claiming bad mechanical repairs that resulted in a “sticking throttle.” The decedent was a 40-year-old man with no motorcycle riding experience. He was not wearing a helmet when he crashed his Harley Davidson into the back of a parked van. Throughout the case, no one could reproduce the “sticking throttle” event. While there was a great deal of sympathy generated when the 25-year-old daughter delivered powerful and emotional testimony in this death case, describing how she held her father’s hand when they disconnected him from life support, but the evidence did not support their liability theory. Following trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.

The second case was equally tragic. The plaintiff was a soon-to-be retired judge who enjoyed an excellent reputation in the legal community. He was beloved by everyone around him. He had a long military career in the JAG Corps serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. This judge had a massive heart attack while working out in a fitness club. He had a severe brain injury from loss of oxygen. He is completely and totally disabled. He cannot walk, talk, stand up or feed himself. The claim is that the health club did not apply an AED device to him when he was in ventricular fibrillation. An AED device was on-site and within a few feet of the judge. The gym instructor for the club would have applied the AED, but for the fact that two very sophisticated nurses rushed immediately to his care and began CPR. They were in charge of the case. They said they did not see the AED or they would have applied it. The plaintiffs were asking for at least $20 million. After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a defense verdict.

Michael Hutchens focuses his practice on complex civil litigation involving products liability, construction liability, and the defense of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. He has handled more than 120 jury trials.