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Verdicts & Settlements

Multi-Million Dollar Jury Verdicts

Alaniz v. Ford Motor Company

Auto product Liability or Doorlatch Failure

$225,000,000.00

Ivy Gonzalez et al v Southcross Energy Partners

Pipeline Explosion

$173,000,000.00

Caraveo v. Chavins,et al

Commercial Vehicle Accident

$124,546,732.89

Rivera v. Volkswagen

Auto Product Liability or Seatback Failure

$124,496,993.97

Since its inception in February 2002, Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP victories in both jury verdicts and negotiated settlements have resulted in over $1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Dollars) in recoveries for wrongs done to victims in Texas and across the country.

In the courtroom, the experienced and zealous trial lawyers of Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair, LLP have convinced juries to award MILLIONS in jury verdicts.

Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP is proud to be one of only a handful of law firms in the United States to have achieved four distinct nine-figure jury verdicts.

Moreover, Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP has succeeded in negotiations where our clients received MILLIONS in settlements as defendants entered into financial agreements before a jury could be given the opportunity to render their verdict.

Our firm has built a national reputation on our results and our zealous fight for justice on behalf of accident victims and their loved ones.

We have won record-setting verdicts and achieved huge settlements both representing clients directly as well as working with other lawyers and law firms across the nation as referring counsel, or in collaboration.

It’s wise to consider the past history and experience of any professional before you enlist their services. Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP is happy to provide the following sampling of past efforts for consideration by (1) injury victims searching for counsel as well as (2) attorneys investigating possible referral or collaboration.

Listed below are some examples of the negotiated settlements and jury verdicts Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP has obtained for its clients. Not every significant victory is listed here. Not all settlements are shown.

Two Representative Lists of Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP Case Results:

(1) Verdicts and (2) Settlements

1. Representative Jury Verdicts

$225 Million Awarded Against Ford Motor Company

On July 26, 2001, a Ford F-150 Four-Door Super Cab pick-up rolled three times in a single vehicle accident occurring outside of Benavides, Texas. During the rollover accident, the driver side doors opened, causing Paul Alaniz, the driver, and Laura Benavidez, who was seated directly behind the driver, to be ejected from the truck. The other two occupants in the vehicle walked away from the accident uninjured as their doors stayed closed during the rollover. Alaniz, 34, and Benavidez, 20, were both thrown out of the vehicle and sustained their fatal injuries upon contact with the ground.

The surviving family members brought a product liability suit against Ford Motor Company. On behalf of the family members, Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP filed a suit contending that the F-150 four-door super cab was defectively designed in that the vertical support structure, or B pillar, had been removed in the design of this vehicle, allowing for a 56 inch span from the windshield to the back window. With the B pillar removed, the vehicle provided little occupant protection in a rollover accident. The truck was also defectively designed by Ford Motor Company when it used latches that have some plastic components, which tend to break instead of bending, as would an all-metal latch, in a rollover accident.

In its verdict, the jury found the pick-up truck defective in design and that such defect caused the deaths of Paul Alaniz and Laura Benavides.

Laura Benavides’ estate was awarded $5 million and her surviving mother was awarded $110 million.

David Rumley and Jeff Wigington’s plaintiff, Jerry Alaniz, mother to deceased Paul Alaniz, was awarded $101 million. $9 million was awarded to the estate of Paul Alaniz.

Review the completed Charge of the Court and resulting Jury Verdict here:

$124.5 Million Awarded in a Vehicle Seatback Failure Case

A Bexar County, Texas, jury awarded $124.5 million to the family of an 11-year-old boy who received critical head injuries when the driver’s seat of his father’s Audi A4 collapsed in a rear-end collision. The verdict was returned March 2, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.

The jury found Audi AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., responsible for the accident, and awarded a total of $124,496.993.97 to the family of Jessie Rivera, Jr., who sustained catastrophic bodily injuries including severe brain damage, partial paralysis, and blindness. Evidence presented during trial demonstrated the 11-year-old boy was injured when the car in which he was a passenger was struck from behind, and the seatback of the driver, the boy’s father, unexpectedly collapsed, and falling backward, forced the father’s body to strike his son in the head.

“This type of automobile defect has been known about for more than 20 years,” said Jeff Wigington, a senior partner with the Wigington Rumley firm. “When ’60 Minutes’ aired its report, the safety standards then in effect were essentially the same as they are today. Clearly this case – and many others across the country – shows the need for tougher, upgraded safety standards. All consumers, but especially parents, should be pressing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as Congress, to strengthen these standards and protect drivers and passengers. We all can understand how a serious injury can result from a major accident. But none of us anticipates a serious injury from this type of accident. This is a tragedy that should never have happened.”

Review the Final Judgment and Jury Verdict here:


$132.5 Million Award in Bus Crash Verdict

In El Paso County, trial concluded with the jury awarding $132.5 million to the families of two migrant workers killed in a 2005 bus crash. The Los Paisanos Bus Company was found negligent in the maintenance of the commercial vehicle (including allowing it to be driven with bald tires) and the jury determined this neglect contributed to a fatal bus crash where two migrant workers from Mexico died.

Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP successfully represented the victim of this deadly 2005 bus crash, taking the case to trial before the jury, who reached a verdict of $132,500,000.00 million in the resulting wrongful death action. To learn more, review the complete Jury Charge with Judgment provided by WigingtonRumleyDunnBlairLLP on Scribd:

$173 Million Jury Verdict in Hot Tap Pipeline Explosion (On Appeal)

Jessie Gonzalez was killed by an explosion of a natural gas pipeline, which occurred when Southcross ordered a “hot tap” of an active gas line in order to avoid the lost profits of shutting down the line. When it became evident that Southcross had ordered and implemented the hot cap in violation of federal regulations and industry standards, WRDB filed suit against Southcross.

Hot tapping is a technique by which a person cuts into a gas pipeline while gas is still flowing through it. It enables natural gas companies to perform maintenance or repairs on a pipeline without turning it off, thereby avoiding the substantial monetary costs of a shutdown. Because hot tapping involves cutting into contained flammable or combustible materials, the industry considers the operations to be exceptionally dangerous. If special precautions are not taken during hot tap operations, a substantial risk exists of an explosion. Given these inherent risks, it is no surprise that hot taps are heavily regulated.

Southcross Energy Partners G.P., L.L.C. (“Southcross”) is a natural gas company that owns and operates pipelines in Texas. During trial, the company’s highest safety officer is William Boyer admitted that Southcross failed to follow applicable regulations with respect to the hot tap operation that resulted in the death of Jessie Gonzalez. Mr. Boyer testified that he was responsible for ensuring that Southcross complied with its duty to operate its pipelines safely. He further agreed that, when an injury occurs, a company should endeavor to figure out the root cause of the incident and never downplay it as “just an accident.” However, Mr. Rumley’s cross-examination of Boyer revealed a much different story. During trial, Mr. Rumley forced Boyer to admit that in private, he has a much different perspective. Evidence revealed that during a private conference on maintaining a company’s image, Boyer told oil executives that “significant incident[s]” are inevitable and “it is just a matter of time before you will have [one].” When such an “incident” does occur, he advised, operators should “[e]mphasize that it was an accident and unfortunate.” It is important, he continued, to “convey genuine interest in repairing the damage and finding the cause of the incident.” In private, Boyer said nothing about actually repairing the damage, finding the root cause, or avoiding catastrophes in the first place. It was this testimony that justified punitive damages against the company.

The jury found that Southcross’s failure to ensure that the hot tap was performed by a qualified crew was negligent and caused the injuries and death of Jessie Gonzalez. The jury verdict totaled: $173,720,000 with $153,720.00 in actual damages: $10,770,000.00 to Elizondo and $142,950,000.00 to the Gonzalez family. It also assessed $20,000,000.00 against Southcross in punitive damages, with $5,000,000.00 awarded to Elizondo and $15,000,000.00 to the Gonzalez family. The case is currently on appeal.

Following the verdict, lead trial lawyer, David Rumley stated: “We are pleased with the jury’s verdict. Southcross ignored not only applicable federal regulations with respect to hot tap operations but ignored its own policies and procedures in an effort to save money by refusing to de-energize the gas pipeline before conducting operations. This case is a clear example of the inherent problem with an oil and gas industry that places money over safety. Southcross was more interested in continuing the flow of money through its gas pipeline than stop the flow and perform the operations safely. Furthermore, the jury got a window inside of what really happens in meetings of oil and gas executives where they say one thing in public but than in private they care only about money.”

2. Representative Settlements

The following table provides a representative list of settlements reached on behalf of our clients. This is not a complete listing. It is updated periodically. This table is provided for illustrative purposes only.

The net recovery to the client(s) is listed, thus the actual case settlement is larger.

Case Description Net Client(s)' Recovery
Airbag Defect $2,622,000.00
Roof Crush Defect $900,000.00
Door Latch Defect $825,000.00
Door Latch Defect $2,127,832.00
Automobile Collision $1,133,128.00
Restraint System Defect $559,878.00
Tire Defect $3,805,588.00
Roof Crush Defect $900,000.00
Go-Cart Defect $1,984,541.00
Vehicle Rollover $1,160,370.00
Vehicle Rollover $1,711,181.00
Negligent Tire Maintenance $2,511,607.00
Vehicle Rollover $600,000.00
18 Wheeler Accident $2,187,192.00
Fuel System Defect $1,156,759.00
Tire Defect $2,205,000.00
Door Latch Defect $1,521,207.00
Vehicle Rollover $650,000.00
Door Latch Defect $509,266.00
Roof Crush Defect $600,000.00
Roof Crush Defect $795,117.00
Oil Field Negligence $1,405,586.00
Vehicle Rollover $743,998.00
Oil Field Negligence $1,218,195.00
Commercial Fraud $7,554,125.00
Vehicle Rollover $581,477.00
Airbag Defect $523,415.00
Vehicle Rollover $1,995,689.00
Restraint System Defect $1,151,223.00
Transmission Defect $730,920.00
Commercial Fraud $1,447,909.00
Restraint System Defect $2,709,022.00
Refinery Negligence $995,000.00
Construction Negligence $632,063.00
Tire Defect $914,531.00
Commercial Tire Defect $582,708.00
Refinery Negligence $2,734,721.00
Vehicle Rollover $773,177.00
18 Wheeler Accident $1,050,997.00
SUV Rollover $532,272.00
SUV Rollover $530,695.00
Tire Defect $2,957,743.00
Oil Field Negligence $1,568,193.00
Commercial Fraud $1,361,441.00
Fork Lift Defect $956,256.00
Tire Defect $776,165.00
Restraint System Defect $915,937.00
Automotive Seat Defect $478,407.00
18 Wheeler Accident $799,587.00
Electrical Fire $699,148.00
Fuel System Defect $1,818,699.00
Door Latch Defect $1,301,115.00
Tire Defect $1,108,242.00
Vehicle Rollover $800,547.00
Vehicle Rollover $499,981.00
Vehicle Rollover $744,972.00
Vehicle Rollover $617,081.00
Tire Defect $1,214,522.00
Vehicle Rollover $879,206.00
Product Liability $808,832.00
Commercial Fraud $1,774,842.00
Vehicle Rollover $1,563,656.00
Oil Field Negligence $1,880,986.00
SUV Rollover $534,219.00
Tire Defect $734,951.00
Platform Collapse $650,264.00
Vehicle Rollover $335,668.00
Work Site General Negligence $665,379.00
Premises Fire $956,122.00
Seat Belt Defect $483,621.00
Airbag Defect $800,547.00
SUV Rollover $1,240,821.00
Tire Defect $1,420,588.00
Airbag Defect $753,694.00
Roof Crush Defect $603,267.00
Industrial Equipment Defect $522,669.00
Premises Fire $362,441.00
SUV Rollover $11,587,815.00
Tire Defect $2,149,171.00
Automotive Defect $516,451.00
Industrial Equipment Defect $1,658,991.00
Industrial Equipment Defect $862,944.00
Commercial Vehicle Negligence $2,144,471.00
Automotive Defect $544,695.00
Automotive Defect $2,700,000.00
Industrial Equipment Defect $860,475.00
Tire Defect $711,104.00
General Negligence $2,902,134.00
Automotive Defect $883,350.00
Tire Defect $2,079,773.00
Commercial Vehicle Negligence $1,416,890.00
General Negligence $489,283.00
Tire Defect $731,802.00
Commercial Vehicle Negligence $939,458.00
Oil Field Negligence $6,559,014.00
Automotive Defect $5,267,750.00
Oil Field Negligence $690,824.00
Oil Field Negligence $787,366.00
Tire Defect $888,373.00
18 Wheeler Accident $2,479,322.00
Tire Defect $2,588,032.00
Premises Negligence $4,029,207.00
Oil Field Negligence $2,631,964.00
Oil Field Negligence $558,305.00
Tire Defect $921,347.00
Commercial Vehicle Negligence $6,924,096.00
Automotive Collision $1,501,368.00
Commercial Fraud $2,682,886.26
Automotive Seat Defect $11,588,818.00
18 Wheeler Accident $762,504.00
Oil Field Negligence $11,075,812.00
Oil Field Negligence $1,078,729.00
Oil Field Negligence $669,282.00
Product Defect $10,286,053.00
Tire Defect $445,074.00
Consumer Defect $924,155.00
Automotive Collision $561,231.02
Oil Field Negligence $2,822,449.96
Tire Defect $1,188,204.27
Construction Accident $6,136,523.34
Tire Defect $543,510.46
Construction Accident $1,665,846.15
Commercial Vehicle Negligence $423,647.79
Oil Field Negligence $1,777,101.20
Construction Accident $3,104,635.89
18 Wheeler Accident $571,332.00
Oil Field Negligence $7,067,662.00
Oil Field Negligence $7,963,224.00
Oil Field Negligence $1,157,364.00
Oil Field Negligence $1,141,727.00
Product Defect $4,058,633.00
Tire Defect $3,974,315.00
Automotive Collision $2,276,267.93
Oil Field Negligence $1,386,371.75
Automotive Collision $606,767.78
Commercial Vehicle Collision $622,535.04
Oil Field Negligence $3,231,490.14

For more information regarding our past victories in both courtroom verdicts and negotiated settlements, please read summaries of some of our past cases as well as their corresponding media coverage.