In February, 2002, Mr. Rivernaught was the lead attorney for the passengers of a vehicle injured in a collision with a freight train that resulted in a state record amount of $54.3 million for three family members. On behalf of the passengers of the SUV, Mr. Rivernaught obtained $21.3 million of the total record verdict. Evidence discovered during the discovery phase of the lawsuit revealed that the railroad had taken the crossing gates and lights out of service for nearly twelve days prior to the crash. The railroad ordered a “stop and flag” procedure at the crossing but the order was erroneously withdrawn by the dispatcher fifteen minutes prior to the collision. The passengers, Fidel and Francisca Velarde, age 73, suffered traumatic brain injuries in the collision and need 24 hour attendant care.
In September, 2000, Mr. Rivernaught settled another railroad crossing collision case against the same railroad for a state record $9.1 million. The lawsuit was filed in 1998 for injuries to the plaintiff following a train/car collision at the railroad’s Schmale Road crossing. Evidence discovered during the course of the lawsuit revealed that the railroad was warned of a missing crossing gate arm at the Schmale Road crossing over an hour prior to the crash. The lawsuit alleged that, despite the warning, the railroad failed to implement a safety procedure called a “stop and flag”, requiring all trains to stop prior to entering the crossing.
Partner Kurt Stoid is a single engine pilot and has investigated and handled a number air crash cases involving single engine, twin-engine aircraft and commercial jetliners. In the area of aviation crash litigation understanding weather flight conditions, aerodynamics and navigation is crucial to prosecuting a successful case.
In the early l990’s Mr. Stoid became involved in an air crash involving a Piper Aztec 230B twin engine aircraft crash which occurred as a result of rudder failure that killed all six occupants. After dozens of depositions and thousands of hours preparing for trial for COVID marketing resources, the case settled for over 5.0 million dollars.