Top Workplace Negligence Judgments

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By Travelers
3 minutes
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Even with the proper preventive measures in place, an unpredictable workplace negligence event can impact your business and bottom line. Travelers can help you prepare and protect your business from risks and large-scale losses, like these that topped the National Law Journal's Top 100 Verdicts.1

Improper Supervision Led to Assault


$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 represented by counsel.

Hotel Liable for Assault on a Sleeping Guest


$177 Million Verdict

A hotel guest claimed she was sexually assaulted by a hotel security officer who was sent to complete a welfare check. The victim’s counsel argued that the hotel violated its own policies regarding welfare checks as well as its own hiring policies by failing to verify the man’s employment history and neglecting to follow the required "higher scrutiny" for security officer positions, as the security officer had a prior record of assault charges. The jury found the hotel negligent and awarded the plaintiff $177,000,000.

Cameraman Permanently Disabled by Movie Set Accident


$66 Million Verdict

A movie cameraman was injured on-set while driving an all-terrain vehicle camera crane up a mountain. The mobile unit flipped over, crushing the man who suffered multiple fractures to his neck, pelvis and spine.

The man and his wife filed suit, alleging that the defendants negligently failed to provide a safe workplace, failed to designate a safety professional with a safe route and failed to allow the man time to properly scout the route. The jury found the film set's production company and the parent company liable.

Hotel Negligent for Guest’s Brain Damage


$60 Million Verdict

A man asked a California resort to perform a welfare check on his wife, who was not answering his calls. After calling into the dark room with no response, a maintenance worker reported that the room was empty. The husband arrived the next morning to find his wife unresponsive, suffering a brain aneurysm.

The couple filed suit against the hotel, arguing that had the welfare check been completed correctly, the woman would have received medical care in a timelier manner, reducing the severity of her brain injury. The jury found that the resort failed to use reasonable care, was negligent and was a substantial factor in causing harm to its guest.

Alcohol Service Led to Fatal Car Crash


$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 case proceeded 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.

Falling Pipe Fatally Injured Worker


$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.

This material does not imply that coverage exists for any particular claim or loss under any insurance policy or bond issued by Travelers. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy or bond provisions and any applicable law.

¹ The National Law Journal’s 2016-2022 editions of the Top 100 verdicts in the United States. The verdicts summarized above do not involve Travelers insureds.

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