One car rollover accident

Injuries: Two teenagers dead, one teenager with a skull fracture/brain injury

Outcome: Confidential Settlements

Anyone watching the news in the spring of 1999 will be familiar with this case. We represented three separate families who had children either killed or severely injured in a van crash near Janesville, Wisconsin, on March 25, 1999. The background was a company from Iowa was going around the country recruiting kids to go on month-long road trips selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. The working conditions were terrible and extremely unsafe, as this case will exemplify.

On the date in question, a van was being driven by an employee from this company. In the van were several minors who had been recruited to sell magazines. The employee from the company was speeding which caught the attention of the police. The police attempted to pull over this van.

Acting on instructions from the owner of the company, the employee attempted to change seat positions with one of the minors so that the minor would take the ticket, not the employee of the company. While attempting this driver switch at high speeds, they lost control of the van causing it to roll several times coming to a rest upside down. Several of the minor passengers were killed and several others were severely injured.

Two of the families who had children killed in this accident retained Johnny Cochran of the Cochran Law Firm. He then in turn hired our firm as co-counsel.

In addition, a young man who had been in the accident and had sustained a skull fracture and a substantial brain injury hired us as well. We then represented two families and one injured person in relation to this accident.

We commenced the lawsuit against the owners of the company, all of the various insurance companies involved, and against a publishing clearinghouse. It was our theory that the actual publishers of the magazines should be brought to justice as these kids were killed or severely injured while attempting to sell their product. It was our theory that they were aware that these practices were occurring and yet did nothing to stop it.

After years of litigation, including an appearance before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, confidential settlements were reached on all claims.