In what the Utah Supreme Court called “a case of first impression,” Brayton Purcell LLP has helped pave the way for families of deceased victims who are searching for justice within the state.
Adjusting to life after losing a loved one is not easy. Many family members of those who have passed away from an asbestos-related disease choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for the passing of their loved ones. More often than not, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed after the patient themselves filed a personal injury lawsuit prior to their passing.
After the personal injury jury trial and passing of Vickie Warren in May 2010, the asbestos companies responsible for her death filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought against them by her heirs in 2012. “The defendants…[urged] that heirs should be barred from bringing a wrongful death suit when the decedent has already sued in an underlying personal injury action.” As a result of Brayton Purcell LLP and the plaintiffs’ tireless efforts, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed its denial of the defendants’ motion to dismiss and established that a “wrongful death is an independent cause of action not barred by the existence of a final judgment in the decedent’s underlying personal injury suit….”
Senior trial partner, Gil Purcell, had this to say about the situation in Utah: “It’s amazing how sometimes we have to fight so hard just to establish what should be obvious – a model PI plaintiff like Vikki was, who timely files her PI case, brings it to verdict, wins and successfully defends her judgment on appeal simply does NOT eliminate or somehow adversely effect the subsequent wrongful death rights and remedies belonging to her heirs.” Purcell was both the trial attorney for the personal injury case and argued the appeal before the Utah Supreme Court.