RAWLE & HENDERSON’s Catastrophic Loss Group handles complex, high-profile, high-stakes cases. The Catastrophic Loss Group is routinely retained by insured and self-insured local, national, and international companies, as well as excess insurers, to defend clients facing a wide range of claims.

With successful representations at all phases of litigation, our clients have come to rely on us for early intervention, eDiscovery and crisis management, limitation of exposure, and resolution through trial.

Early Intervention, eDiscovery & Crisis Management:

Early intervention, eDiscovery, and crisis management begins with a thorough understanding of the business, technological and legal needs of the client.  When a catastrophic event occurs, our Catastrophic Loss Group responds immediately with seasoned attorneys and qualified experts to protect client interests by investigating, gathering and preserving evidence and containing and managing publicity.  Additionally, Electronically Stored Information (ESI) has grown exponentially in the last few years.  The Catastrophic Loss Group is also prepared to handle unique client eDiscovery needs from anticipation of litigation all the way through trial. 

The Catastrophic Loss Group's experience with high-profile matters has shown that early, effective investigation and controlling the flow of information is critical to successful resolution of catastrophic loss claims. 

Limitation of Exposure:

The Catastrophic Loss Group is frequently retained as trial and monitoring counsel to ensure that a catastrophic loss claim is contained, where possible.  Tactics the Catastrophic Loss Group has used successfully include: selection and retention of experienced experts to assist in evaluation and preparation of the case, identification of key witnesses and custodians of critical information, use of state of the art technology for intensive deposition preparation to ensure active promotion of the defense theory of the case during the discovery phase, effective use of a secure electronic document database and retrieval system that enables cost-effective identification of the relevant issues, immediate access to all documents worldwide, 24 hours a day, and formulation of creative and compelling legal arguments, and use of interactive deposition technology, incorporating touch screens, picture-in-picture exhibits, and real-time reporting to maximize the ability to lock-in testimony of eye witnesses and cross-examine opposing witnesses.

Trial Experience:

The Catastrophic Loss Group uses a team approach in conjunction with state of the art technology and experienced litigation support to fully prepare for trial on very short notice.  This approach also permits the Catastrophic Loss Group to dynamically hone and refine strategy and theory throughout the course of trial via expert and witness preparation, exhibit creation, and presentation development. A tenacious approach to obtaining prior testimony, publications, credentials, and cited references of opposing experts permits the Catastrophic Loss Group to neutralize even the most seasoned, articulate witnesses.  The Catastrophic Loss Group employs a host of technologies to reach each individual juror, such as animations, site mapping, photogrammetry, interactive timelines, synchronized video depositions, and composite exhibits.  In catastrophic loss cases, the defendant is often a large, multi-national corporation; the Catastrophic Loss Group uses intensive exhibit and witness preparation to personalize the defendant and create an image to which the jury can relate.

Representative Cases

Maritime, personal injury, allision of tug-driven barge and tourist duck boat on Delaware River (United States District Court, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania) – Catastrophic Loss Group successfully defended Ride The Ducks International (RTDI) and Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFEC) in both the personal injury and maritime litigation arising out of the allision of a tug-driven barge and a tourist duck boat on the Delaware River on July 7, 2010, which resulted in the deaths of two Hungarian students and numerous injury claims from other passengers on board the amphibious vessel. Details.

Wrongful death, personal injury actions arising out of collapse of parking garage during construction (Superior Court New Jersey, Atlantic County) – Catastrophic Loss Group successfully defended the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Aztar Corporation, and Adamar of New Jersey, Inc. in the wrongful death and personal injury actions arising out of the collapse of a parking garage during construction.  The accident resulted in the deaths of 4 construction workers, approximately 12 catastrophic injuries, and dozens of less serious injuries. Details.
 
Prescription drug, pharmaceutical liability, birth defects (Philadelphia County, PA) – The Catastrophic Loss Group was retained only six weeks prior to trial to defend a national pharmacy chain in a case where the infant plaintiff had allegedly suffered brain damage and birth malformations and boarded $92 million in past, present and future damages.  Plaintiff alleged that the pharmacist’s failure to counsel and identify the contraindicated drug caused his mother to ingest heart medication which caused injury to her unborn child.  After a 2 ½ week trial, a Philadelphia jury returned a defense verdict. Details.

Aerosol cleaner, electric shock, severe burns (Philadelphia County, PA) – Retained only four weeks before the trial, the Catastrophic Loss Group defended an aerosol cleaner manufacturer in a products liability action with a demand of $12 million.  Plaintiff claimed he had been shocked with 7,620 volts of electricity and severely burned because of the aerosol product.  After eleven days of trial and one and a half hours of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of defendant.  The case was featured as Verdict of the Month in the October 2009 issue of “VerdictSearch Pennsylvania.”

Trash truck, products liability, wrongful death (Philadelphia County, PA) - Lead counsel in the defense of an international trash truck manufacturer in a jury trial where a 42-year-old man jumped off the back of an allegedly defective truck and sustained head injuries resulting in death.  Retained less than 90 days before trial with a demand of $7.5 million.  After an 8-day trial, a Philadelphia jury returned a defense verdict.

Automobile accident, bicyclist, paraplegia (Philadelphia County, PA) - A 53-year-old bicyclist was rendered a paraplegic when struck by a truck during a left turn collision allegedly caused by client's employee.  Plaintiff demanded $22.5 million and on the 10th trial day before a Philadelphia jury, settled for $6 million.

Explosion, phosphorous, hazardous materials, severe burns (Middlesex County, NJ) – This trial involved a 43-year-old man who was severely burned while unloading a railcar of phosphorus that spontaneously ignited.  Plaintiff alleged that he was injured due to his lack of training and inadequate personal protective equipment.  The Catastrophic Loss Group was retained shortly before the trial with a demand of $25 million.  On the 15th trial day, during plaintiff’s case in chief, plaintiff settled with the client for $4.4 million.

Construction, crane, wrongful death (Philadelphia County, PA) - This trial involved the defense of heavy equipment rental company in a case involving a truck driver that was crushed to death when a crane operator dropped his cargo on the cab of the truck in which he was seated.  Plaintiff demanded $15 million and during jury selection in Philadelphia, the case settled for $2.25 million.

Industrial machinery, wrongful death, severe burns (Philadelphia County, PA) - 32-year-old plaintiff fell into a paper mill pulper and died from second and third degree burns allegedly due to inadequate safeguards around the pulper.  Plaintiff demanded $70 million and the court allowed a jury charge for punitive damages.  After a 2 ½ week trial and while a Philadelphia jury deliberated, plaintiff accepted a $6 million settlement.

Industrial machinery, amputation (United States District Court, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania) - A 46-year-old man lost his left arm and right leg when his arm was crushed between two industrial rollers in a paper mill.  The plaintiff’s demand was $15 million and after a 3 week trial a District Court jury, in Philadelphia, returned a defense verdict.

Construction, paraplegia, total disability (Philadelphia County, PA) - 37-year-old plaintiff fell from a residential construction site and was rendered a paraplegic with chronic, unremitting pain.  Plaintiff demanded $37.5 million but, during the defendant’s case-in-chief, the case settled before a Philadelphia jury in the amount of $8 million.

Medical malpractice, wrongful death (Philadelphia County, PA) - A 51-year-old woman died from alleged complications of a kidney stone removal procedure.  After an eight day trial in which the defense team effectively used demonstrative technology, including an animated re-creation of the actual surgical kidney stone removal, a Philadelphia jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.

Medical malpractice, dermatologist, misdiagnosis  (Philadelphia County, PA) - The defendants, a dermatologist and dermatopathologist were accused of misdiagnosing the plaintiff’s melanoma.  A Philadelphia jury returned a verdict in favor of the firm’s client, the dermatopathologist.

Medical malpractice, brain damage, ob/gyn (Philadelphia County, PA) - A minor suffered severe brain damage allegedly due to the late performance of a Cesarean section.  In Philadelphia, a jury verdict in favor of the defendant obstetrician.

Medical malpractice, ob/gyn (Philadelphia County, PA) - The defendant ob/gyn physician was accused of mismanaging plaintiff’s labor and delivery resulting in the minor-plaintiff’s brain damage.  A Philadelphia jury verdict in favor of the defendant.

Medical malpractice, nephrologist, transplant (Philadelphia County, PA) - A failed kidney transplant between a Roman Catholic nun and her brother, resulting in permanent dialysis for both.  The nephrologists were accused of not understanding the nature of the disease, wrongfully suggesting the brother as a candidate for transplant and not following his blood studies appropriately.  A jury verdict in Philadelphia for the defendant nephrologists.

Medical malpractice, ob/gyn, brain damage (Philadelphia County, PA) - The defendant ob/gyn physician was accused of mismanaging the plaintiff’s labor by delivering the child too soon, causing his brain damage, mental retardation and cerebral palsy.  A jury in verdict in Philadelphia for the defendant.

Medical malpractice, hernia (Philadelphia County, PA) - Eleven-year-old plaintiff had been on a feeding tube all his life due to complications from a hernia surgery which resulted in the loss of 90% of his small intestines. After the case was transferred to Rawle & Henderson LLP, a Philadelphia jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.

Medical malpractice, radiologist, cancer (Philadelphia County, PA) - A radiologist allegedly failed to diagnose lung cancer, resulting in the plaintiff’s death.  A Philadelphia jury verdict in favor of defendants.

Civil rights, brain injury, amputation (United States District Court, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania) - Plaintiff allegedly sustained brain damage and lost a thumb due to the wrongful use of force by the Philadelphia Police Department.  Jury verdict in favor of the defendants.

Publications

Pennsylvania: Judge Vacates $20 Million Jury Verdict

On August 5, 2013, in Ruick and Holly Rolland v. Modern, et al., Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, December Term 2009, No. 03110, the Honorable John Milton Younge vacated a $20 million verdict following oral argument on Post-Trial Motions.

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Rawle’s Reports, Volume 17, Number 1

PENNSYLVANIA: MARITIME. The Duck Boat Case. by John J. Snyder and William J. Carr. Jack Snyder, Chair of Rawle & Henderson’s Catastrophic Loss Group, William Carr, partner, and their trial team successfully defended Ride The Ducks International (RTDI) and Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFEC) in the maritime litigation arising out of the allision of a tug-driven barge and a tourist duck boat on the Delaware River on July 7, 2010, which resulted in the deaths of two Hungarian students and numerous injuries to other passengers aboard the amphibious vessel.

  RRV17N1.pdf

Rawle’s Reports, Volume 16, Number 7

Rawle & Henderson LLP is proud to announce that 15 attorneys were named 2012 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers by Law & Politics and the publishers of Philadelphia Magazine.

  RR_V16_N7.pdf

VerdictSearch October 2009: Worker jumped off dump truck, struck head on ground

Wrongful Death — Design Defect -— Failure to Warn. On April 18, 2005, plaintiff's decedent Steven Powers, 42, and a co-worker with the municipal waste department for Upper Chichester Township were standing on the back of a moving dump truck.

  VerdictSearch_PowersvHeil_Co.pdf

The Legal Intelligencer, July 21, 2009: Defense verdict reached in fatal products liability case

A Philadelphia jury recently returned a defense verdict in a products liability case after a jury found the manufacturer of a garbage truck loading mechanism was not at fault for a sanitation worker's death.

  LI_DefenseVerdict_ProductsLiab.pdf

News & Events

Pennsylvania: Judge Vacates $20M Jury Verdict

08/05/13

On August 5, 2013, in Ruick and Holly Rolland v. Modern, et al., Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, December Term 2009, No. 03110, the Honorable John Milton Younge vacated a $20 million verdict following oral argument on Post-Trial Motions.

Read more »