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The Top 100 Verdicts of 2019 – Provided by The Travelers Indemnity Company

By October 29, 2020No Comments

Travelers and the Reilly Company are dedicated to protecting our clients against big, unexpected events that can have potentially devastating implications on a business. Our dedicated team can help companies quickly apply for coverage to address large-scale losses like the ones detailed in the National Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts1.

We can help you prepare and protect your business from risks and large-scale losses.

Top Workplace Negligence Judgments


$1 Billion Verdict

While attending a party at an apartment complex, a 14-year-old girl was attacked and assaulted by a security guard at the facility. In subsequent litigation against the guard’s employer, Crime Prevention Agency (CPA), plaintiff’s counsel asserted that the firm knew of the guard’s past improper behavior against guests and tenants and hired him even though he was not licensed to be an armed guard. Additionally, counsel argued that CPA “ignored circumstances that any reasonable person would interpret as leading to the injury.”

The court determined that CPA was liable via summary judgment and the case was tried on the issue of damages. CPA did not appear at trial and was not represent by counsel.

$27 Million Verdict

After being served alcohol at a local nightclub, a 20-year-old caused a motor vehicle accident resulting in the death of one person and injuries to two others in another vehicle. The husband of the deceased and father of one of the injured parties, as well as the other injured individual, filed suit against the establishment that served the 20-year-old, alleging failure to check her ID and continuing to serve her despite clear intoxication.

After a failure to file a response by the defendant, the cased proceed to a damages-only trial. The jury awarded damages for each party in the vehicle as well as funeral expenses and pain and suffering for the deceased.

$21 Million Verdict

A 1,000-pound pipe was knocked loose at a South Texas refinery when a heat exchanger, being moved by a crane, struck it. The pipe fell and landed on one of the riggers for the move, killing him instantly. His family filed suit against the facility, the crane company and the rigging company, alleging negligence and violation of the operator’s safety plan.

Two defendants settled with the family before trial. Plaintiff’s counsel alleged that the remaining defendant, B&G Crane Services, was 90% responsible for the incident. B&G denied negligence, arguing that the facility owner and the rigging company oversaw the move. The jury found negligence for all three parties, awarding $44,370,000 in damages. That number was reduced to $20,791,235, post-trial.

$2.4 Million Verdict

A woman brought her three children to a hotel in Baymont, Texas, to spend time with her ex-husband, the children’s father. While making the drop-off, the man repeatedly stabbed the woman, resulting in her death. During the attack, the children attempted to alert hotel staff to the emergency. Despite these efforts, help was not summoned until a guest in a neighboring room called emergency services almost 20 minutes later.

The family of the deceased filed suit against the hotel. The jury returned a verdict of $41,550,000, with hotel ownership responsible for 20%. The parties settled for $2.4 million in mediation.

Top Motor Vehicle Judgments


$247 Million Verdict

After a fatal collision involving a van that struck a tractor-trailer which was blocking the road as it backed into a driveway, the parents of the deceased sued a trucking company and the vehicle operators, alleging negligent operation of a vehicle and inadequate driver training. The plaintiffs sought recovery of damages for past and future loss of companionship, loss of society and mental anguish.

The jury found that the tractor-trailer driver was acting within the scope of his employment and bore responsibility for 65% of the incident, with the trucking company bearing 20% responsibility and an additional 10% on the company owner. As a result, the $260M verdict was reduced to $247M.

$101 Million Verdict

Following a rear-end collision, the driver of the struck vehicle claimed neck and back injuries. The rear vehicle, a commercial truck, was operated by a driver with marijuana and methamphetamine in his system, as well as three traffic violations on his record in the preceding 36 months.

The injured party sued the truck driver and the trucking company, claiming the organization did not follow its own hiring and training policies. Despite the plaintiff’s statement on the scene that he was not injured, the jury found the trucking company liable for all damages, including punitive awards. The driver was also found liable for 30% of damages, per the jury.

$53 Million Verdict

While driving northbound in a construction zone with a single lane of traffic in each direction, a vehicle was struck by a commercial truck traveling southbound in the northbound lane. The collision caused severe damage to the northbound vehicle and significant injuries to both occupants.

The injured parties filed suit against the trucking company and driver of the commercial vehicle, alleging the operator was driving angrily, the company had not followed its own driver training protocols and the vehicle telematics data was hidden or destroyed. The driver and trucking company stipulated to liability and vicarious liability, leaving the jury to determine compensatory and punitive damages; a $53M verdict.

$20 Million Verdict

A bicyclist was struck and killed when a garbage truck driver made a right turn into the crosswalk she was traversing. The parents of the biker sued the truck operator for negligent operation of a vehicle, including failure to check mirrors, failure to use a turn signal and failure to slow to execute a turn.

The garbage hauling company, which owned the vehicle and employed the driver, was also named in the suit. After a five-day trial, the jury found the trucking company was 80% responsible for the biker’s death, while the bicycle operator herself held 20% of the blame. The $25M verdict was thereby reduced to $20M.

Top Manufacturing Judgments


$54 Million Verdict

When the polypropylene straps of a tree chair failed, a father, his son and a friend ended up in the emergency room… and then in court.

The father suffered a permanent disability and accused the company that manufactured the straps of not properly warning customers about possible wear and tear from exposure to outdoor elements. It was a costly oversight.

$37 Million Verdict

What seemed like a simple request from a supervisor to a dockhand turned into a multimillion-dollar verdict. A plant supervisor improperly instructed a dockhand to leave his post to investigate a loud noise coming from underneath a loading arm on a floating dock.

It turned out to be known faulty equipment that crushed the worker’s leg under 7,000 pounds of counterweight. The accident rendered him an amputee and caused lasting physical and psychological injuries.

$25 Million Verdict

A tragic accident took the lives of a mother and her two daughters when a car struck their minivan.

The driver who hit the minivan claimed that his brakes were at fault, and the jury agreed, finding that the brake system was defective and that the car manufacturer should have issued a recall.

$18.5 Million Verdict

When sensors failed to detect sparks caused by a sander at a large plywood plant, those sparks ignited a fire that eventually caused an explosion. Four workers were injured; one eventually lost his life due to the severity of his injuries.

Ultimately, the employer, as well as the companies involved in manufacturing the sensors, dust collection system and fire prevention system, was found liable.

1 Cases discussed do not involve Travelers insureds. Availability of coverage can depend on underwriting qualifications and state regulations.