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Personal injury

May 26, 2010
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Trial Report

Donna Saine v. Richard Walker, et al.

Marion Superior Court No. 49D05-0812-CT055117

Injuries: Severe ankle sprain resulting in extensive physical therapy and surgery to repair and replace torn ligaments; permanent nerve damage, swelling, instability, and surgical scarring

Date: March 9, 2010

Judge or Jury Trial: Jury trial

Judge: Hon. Robyn Moberly

Disposition: Verdict for plaintiff in the amount of $121,770.15. Total damages awarded were $143,259 and 85 percent fault on defendants

Plaintiff Attorneys: William E. Winingham and John G. Shubat, Wilson Kehoe & Winingham, Indianapolis

Defendant Attorney: Robert F. Ahlgrim Jr., State Farm Litigation Counsel, Indianapolis

Case Information: On Dec. 21, 2006, Donna was on her way downstairs in the home she was renting from defendants when she slipped and fell down the stairs. The stairs did not have a handrail adjacent to the staircase, although the staircase had 15 to 17 steps from top to bottom. Several Indiana building and safety codes require such a staircase to have a handrail available for the use of a person using the stairs. Donna asked the landlords on several occasions to install a handrail, but they refused. Defense contended that plaintiff could have moved out at any time.

Expert witnesses for the plaintiff were Dr. Jeffrey Soldatis of Orthopaedics Indianapolis, who operated on plaintiff’s ankle; and Lee Martin of Robson Forensic in Columbus, Ohio, an architect/building codes expert who testified as to code violations committed by defendants.

Attorney comments: Plaintiff made a settlement demand of $100,000 before trial, and State Farm offered $5,000 to settle the case. Defendants did not testify during the trial.

– William E. Winingham

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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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