WRONGFUL DEATH: $1.2M
Injuries claimed: Estate of Brandon Pippenger: Pre-death conscious pain and suffering.
Brandon’s parents: Loss of Brandon’s society and companionship under wrongful death statute, as well as severe emotional distress resulting from witnessing the incident and the injuries to their son.
Court: Marathon County Circuit Court
Case name: Pippenger v. Laidlaw Transit, Inc., et al.
Case number: 07-CV-149
Judge: Hon. Gregory B. Huber
Verdict & settlement: Settled prior to trial
Settlement amount: The parties agreed to settle at mediation conducted before Charles Stierman for the total amount of $1.2 million.
Date of incident: Dec. 5, 2005
Disposition date: Jan. 23, 2009
Original filing date: Jan. 9, 2007
Plaintiffs attorney (firm): Lynn R. Laufenberg, Laufenberg Law Group, Milwaukee; Christine Bremer-Muggli, Bremer & Trollop, Wausau
Defendants attorney (firm): Carmen Anderson, von Briesen & Roper, S.C., Milwaukee Insurance carrier: American Home Assurance Co.
Plaintiffs expert witnesses: Jeffrey Peterson, Skogen Engineering (accident reconstruction); Faruk Abuzzahab, M.D., Wausau (biomedicine/injury mechanics); Carlisle Beasley (student transportation safety)
Defendants expert witnesses: Owen Schipplein, Ph.D. (biomechanics/accident reconstruction); John Tucker, M.D. (emergency medicine); Herzl Spiro, M.D. (psychiatry); Kyle Martin (student transportation)
Plaintiff counsels’ summary of the facts: Brandon Pippenger, then age 12, died after being run over by a Laidlaw Transit bus as it made a right turn after leaving a bus stop located across the street from his home. Brandon was attempting to get the bus driver’s attention as the bus was pulling away from the bus stop. The incident was witnessed by his mother. His father was also on the scene within minutes. Both reported that Brandon was conscious and trying to communicate. This was confirmed by a neighbor and by EMTs. Brandon lost consciousness on the way to the hospital and died of massive internal injuries. Both mother and father were diagnosed with and treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This diagnosis was confirmed by the psychiatrist who later examined them at the request of the defendants. The Pippengers alleged that Laidlaw was negligent in placing the bus stop too close to a corner in violation of its own procedures. They also alleged that the driver was negligent for failing to follow procedures which required checking for late-arriving students and “triple-checking” his mirrors before pulling away from the bus stop. Laidlaw alleged contributory negligence on the part of both Brandon and his mother.