News & Events

Yarborough Applegate Verdict One of the Top 100 Verdicts of 2014

Posted: April 17, 2015

Yarborough Applegate’s $35,940,545 verdict against Pepco in Montgomery Co., Maryland Circuit Court for their client Hugo Hernandez is one of the Top 100 Verdicts of 2014, according to VerdictSearch, the leading provider of verdict and settlement research. The Hernandez verdict is ranked 58 on the VerdictSearch’s Top 100 list.

The $35,940,545 verdict against Pepco in Montgomery Co., Maryland Circuit Court, was awarded to Yarborough Applegate’s client Hugo Hernandez, paralyzed at a Pepco substation on May 6, 2013. The jury awarded our client $869,211 in past medical bills, $45,095 in past wages, $1,080,050 in future wages, $18,946,400 in future medical expenses and $15,000,000 in non-economic damages

The verdict followed a two-week jury trial argued by lead attorneys William E. Applegate, IV, David B. Yarborough, Jr. and David B. Lail and local counsel Justin Brown of Janet Jenner and Suggs. The verdict is believed to be the largest ever in an injury case in Montgomery Co., Maryland. Post-trial, the verdict was reduced to $21,710,545 due to a $770,000 cap on non-economic damages. Yarborough Applegate intended to challenge the constitutionality and application of the cap on appeal, however, the case was settled by the Defendant’s insurers while post-trial motions were pending.

In May 2013, construction worker Hugo Hernandez Palomino was paralyzed from the neck down due to a work-related injury at a Pepco site. Hernandez was working on scaffolding at a Pepco powerhouse in Montgomery County, Maryland when a transformer that he had been told by PEPCO was de-energized electrocuted him. The shock force burned 10% of his body and knocked him off of the scaffolding. He landed on concrete, snapping his spine.

As a result of the accident, Mr. Hernandez is a C-4 ASIA A quadriplegic – permanently paralyzed from the neck down. He can no longer work and will require 24-hour attendant care for the rest of his life.

Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco), the defendant in the case, is a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc., one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. The company serves nearly two million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and New Jersey.

After initially denying liability, Pepco and their insurers, AIG and AEGIS, admitted fault but refused to pay for Hernandez’s lost wages and the future medical care costs dictated by his physicians which led to the jury trial.

According to court documents, Yarborough Applegate argued that Hernandez’s future medical care necessitates 24 hours of licensed practical nurse (LPN) care per day. An economist testified that the present value cost of funding Hernandez’s 24-hour LPN and other medical care for the next 52 years is $22.2 – 24.4 million.

“They admitted liability but refused to accept responsibility for the harm they caused” said William Applegate. “Pepco disingenuously stated publicly that they always planned to fairly compensate Mr. Hernandez, yet in court they aggressively defended and litigated this case for the over 18 months.  It was only after the jury verdict and the Court’s indication that it was denying Pepco’s post-trial motions that it finally paid the young man whose life it ruined. We are thrilled that this case has finally been resolved very favorably for our client.”

Yarborough Applegate is sought after as lead co-counsel in catastrophic and complex injury and commercial cases, not just in their home state, but also across the U.S. For more information on this verdict, view The Washington Post article.

VerdictSearch is part of ALM, a global leader in specialized business news and information. Trusted reporting delivered through innovative technology is the hallmark of ALM’s award-winning media properties, which include, The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and The New York Law Journal. Headquartered in New York City with 16 offices worldwide, ALM brands have been serving their markets since 1843.

Disclaimer: The settlements and verdicts shown here should not be considered as a description or characterization of the quality of the firm’s representation and in no way should be interpreted as a guarantee of a specific result or outcome of any particular case. As such, the reader should not rely on the cases below to develop any expectation regarding the value of his or her case.

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