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Verdicts & Settlements

Child’s coffee burns prompt $475,000 settlement (access required)


Breakfast out with the grandparents didn’t go quite as hoped when 3-year old Mason Conley and his 4-year-old cousin visited Sea Captain’s Restaurant in Myrtle Beach in May 2011. Their waitress left a pot of coffee near the two children, who then knocked it over, spilling coffee on Mason’s lap and giving him second- and third-degree burns.

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Owner of sunken yacht collects $1.5M (access required)


The seas were calm and the weather was clear when a 2008 Marquis yacht, the Frayed Knot, sank while docked at home on the Tailrace Canal. Though the yacht was inoperable because of water damage, it floated, and for 14 days after — until it was dry-docked — it showed no signs of sinking again. Sound fishy?

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Bankrupt tobacco company’s settlement hits $10 million, could climb higher (access required)

A few years ago, Calvin Phelps was a cigarette millionaire who bought a Jazz Age palace filled with antiques and stocked his garages with Italian sports cars. Last month, one of Phelps’ Mocksville, N.C.-based companies agreed to pay millions of dollars to escrow accounts it shortchanged in several states, including North Carolina and South Carolina, while Phelps pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in Mississippi. He could spend more than 40 years in prison and forfeit up to $2 million for dodging $5 million owed on cigarette sales.

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Interstate wrongful death settled for $700K (access required)

Barbara Coppley was driving up Interstate 95 last July, on her way to visit her eldest son in Virginia when she hit a drive shaft from a tractor trailer that had fallen into her lane. As she was standing in the interstate median, inspecting the damage to her car, the driver of a 2005 Lincoln hit the same drive shaft, lost control of his car and hit Coppley. She died at the scene.

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Deadly farm equipment crash results in $1M settlement (access required)

Annie Ham survived the collision that killed her husband when a combine harvester being hauled on a flatbed truck sheared off the side of their car. Submitted photo

A woman who witnessed her husband’s grisly death in a traffic crash involving a huge piece of farm equipment has settled her wrongful death and survival lawsuit for $1 million. Annie Ham, 65, was riding in a car with her husband, Willie Ham, 62, in January 2009 when their car collided with a combine harvester being hauled on the back of a flatbed truck in the opposite lane of Highway 403 in Florence County.

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Parents of Taser victim accept reduced award (access required)

Ken Harris, plaintiff attorney

The parents of a 17-year-old from Charlotte who died after a being struck in the chest with a Taser accepted a $5.5 million reduced award last month against the stun gun’s maker. Ken Harris, a Charlotte attorney on the family’s legal team pictured at left, said he believes it is one of the largest jury awards ever made against Taser.

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