Michael C. Rader and Michelle Marvel resolve case for family of the 10-year-old killed last summer on a local Kansas City waterslide. Settlements for the family totaled morethan $19.7 million.
On Aug. 7, 2016, Caleb Schwab died while riding the Verruckt slide at Schlitterbahn, a water park in Kansas City. Verruckt, German for “insane,” was marketed as the world’s tallest waterslide at its 2014 opening. Schwab is the son of Kansas State Rep. Scott Schwab, R-Olathe. Scott Schwab, his wife, Michele Schwab, and the Estate of Caleb Schwab filed the wrongful death action.
On Jan. 11, the family settled with SVV 1 LLC, and KC Waterpark Management LLC, which collectively make up Schlitterbahn for $14 million, and with raft manufacturer Zebec of North America Inc. for $500,000. The settlement was approved by District Judge Thomas M. Sutherland. Sutherland approved a second round of settlements on April 12 with the National Aquatic Safety Co., a consulting firm, for $232,125; and with Henry & Sons Construction Co., which built the ride, for $5 million. Altogether, the settlements totaled $19,732,125.
Rader said retained experts were instrumental to obtaining the settlements. To help sift through theories of liability, he consulted with experts from fields including polymer fiber science, biomechanical engineering, computer forensics, accident reconstruction, warnings operations, restraint devices and ride design. Some of the design and testing of the slide occurred in Texas, allowing the plaintiffs to argue that Texas law applied. Rader said Texas’ law regarding noneconomic damage caps in child wrongful death claims is more favorable than that of Kansas. “We never could have made a viable argument that Texas law applied without first becoming well versed in the facts regarding the design, construction and operation of this ride,” he said.
After Schwab’s death, one of the most pressing issues the attorneys handled was an intense interest in the case by media outlets around the world. The young boy was decapitated when the raft in which he was riding became airborne and crashed into metal rods supporting the slide’s overhead netting, his attorneys said.
$9.5 million settlement
As the weather cooled, a Missouri father turned on the furnace in his family’s recently purchased home. It was the first time they had used the furnace that winter. By the next evening, the man and his daughter were found dead and his wife and son had suffered severe carbon monoxide poisoning with resulting permanent brain damage.
Post-accident inspections found significant amounts of rust blocking the flame ports on the furnace’s burners, disrupting the normal gas flow and causing incomplete combustion. This condition resulted in the production of carbon monoxide in lethal amounts.
$7.5 million Ray County, Missouri Judgment
Mike Rader obtained a $7,505,176.26 judgment in Ray County, Missouri on behalf of a family for the wrongful death of their daughter. On January 25, 2015, Rachel Bailey was traveling to Richmond, Missouri, from Independence, Missouri in a 2005 Nissan Altima. While traveling eastbound on 210 Highway, a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix being operated by the defendant crossed the center line and hit Ms. Bailey’s Nissan head on. It was later determined that the defendant was legally intoxicated. As a result of the collision, Rachel was pronounced dead at the scene.
$7.5 million settlement
The firm earned a $7.5 million settlement for the family of a motorcyclist who died after an accident with a truck driver who failed to yield to oncoming traffic. After investigating the accident, Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader discovered that the truck driver failed several road evaluations regarding yielding at intersections – the very issue that caused the accident – and that he twice failed his commercial driver’s license exam. The case, which involved six liability and damage experts, resolved after two mediations.
$4.1 million settlement
After nearly twenty months of contentious litigation, Mike Rader and Michelle Marvel resolved a commercial motor vehicle (eighteen-wheeler) crash case for $4,100,000.00. The trucking accident occurred in Jackson County, Missouri and resulted in the death of a 72-year-old retired man. He was struck by the eighteen-wheeler as he attempted to enter an intersection on his motorcycle. After much discovery, it was determined the trucker was undertrained and unqualified to operate the truck. This was uncovered along with evidence showing the trucking company failed to enforce its own safety policies.
$1.6 million settlement
Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader concluded a case involving the sale and mismanagement of a Fentanyl-based opioid narcotic. The health care providers and pharmacy involved paid $1.6 million and the pharmaceutical company settled for a confidential amount.
$1.5 million settlement
The accident occurred in the early morning hours while the plaintiff traveled on eastbound Interstate 70 from her family farm to a farmers market in Kansas City. While driving eastbound in the right-hand lane, a 2008 Gulf Stream RV being driven in the left-hand lane (fast lane) by the defendant crossed into the plaintiff’s lane of traffic, causing the vehicles to collide. At the time of the accident the defendant was returning to Ohio from a vacation in Colorado Springs. As a result of the accident, the eastbound lanes of I-70 were closed for over four hours.
There were no independent eyewitnesses to the accident, and neither plaintiff nor the defendant had any specific memory regarding the accident. Neither driver was cited as a result of the accident. However, as a result of an in-depth investigation concerning tire marks left on the roadway, the location of the accident debris and analysis of the damage to the vehicles, the investigator was able to confirm that the collision occurred as a result of the RV crossing into the plaintiff’s lane of traffic, leaving no time for her to react.
During the course of the case it was also discovered that the driver of the RV had been pulled over earlier that morning by local law enforcement in another state for a welfare check due to a report of careless driving. The case was settled by Mike Rader for $1.5 million.
A 55-year-old patient was diagnosed with an adrenal adenoma and a week later, surgeons performed a left adrenalectomy. During the procedure, the physicians removed what they thought was plaintiff’s left adrenal gland. In fact, they had erroneously removed the tail portion of his pancreas, which went undiagnosed until eventually discovered by CT scan a week later. As a result of the extensive damage caused by the pancreatic removal, Plaintiff’s condition slowly deteriorated, causing his untimely death. The case was settled for $950,000.
$950,000 Wrongful Death Settlement
Michael Rader represented the spouse of 55-year-old man who needlessly died during a routine surgery. Plaintiff was diagnosed with an adrenal adenoma and a week later, the surgeons performed a left aderenalectomy. During the procedure, the physicians removed what they thought was plaintiff’s left adrenal gland. In fact, they had erroneously removed the tail portion of his pancreas which went undiagnosed until eventually discovered by CT a week later. As a result of the extensive damage caused by the pancreatic removal, Plaintiff’s condition slowly deteriorated causing his untimely death.
In preparation to move into an independent living facility, the elderly tenant went to her future apartment to clean the windows. The woman had only been on the property on two previous occasions and was not aware of the dangerous condition of the sidewalk.
While walking toward her apartment on the only sidewalk provided, she tripped on a 1½-inch, 90-degree rise. The woman was rushed to the local emergency room where she was diagnosed with an orbital bone fracture. She later died from complications of injuries sustained in the fall.
It was discovered through the course of deposition testimony that the living facility’s representatives and owners were aware that this condition was dangerous to elderly people and had been present for a long period of time. Additionally, the condition of the sidewalk at the time of the accident violated several national building standards regarding walkways. The case was settled for $462,500.