Plaintiffs' Recoveries

Chicago Lawyers – Record of Success

The Zimmerman Law Offices, P.C. has a record of successful cases for victims of car accidents, defective products, medical malpractice and other civil litigation clients.

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Recognized as one of the “Top 40 Illinois Lawyers Under the Age of 40,” attorney Thomas Zimmerman has extensive experience fighting for plaintiffs in class action lawsuits, including the case against the book A Million Little Pieces.

The Chicago, Illinois law firm Zimmerman Law Offices, P.C. has recovered over $200 million on behalf of plaintiffs. Since 1996, they have successfully represented plaintiffs in a wide array of matters, including:


CONSUMER RIGHTS / FRAUD

Class Action for Cellulite Cream$62 million recovery for a nationwide class of customers who purchased products that were advertised to reduce cellulite in the human body. We obtained expert testimony to demonstrate that the active ingredients in the products could not shrink fat cells or fundamentally change the structure of skin, such that the products would have no physiological effect on cellulite in the body. Cash refunds were paid to the purchasers of the products, and the manufacturer changed its advertising to stop making those claims. We included in the class recovery $1 million in donations to charities.

Class Action from Inflated Newspaper Circulation $31 million recovery for a nationwide class of businesses and individuals who placed advertisements in a newspaper. The publisher charged advertisers a rate that was based upon and related to the publisher’s representations as to the newspaper’s circulation. However, the publisher significantly overstated the newspaper’s circulation for several years, which caused the advertisers to overpay to advertise in the newspaper. Cash refunds were paid to the advertisers to reflect the amount of their overpayment. We included in the class recovery $4.8 million in donations to charities.

Class Action for Consumer Fraud in Book Claiming to Be Non-Fiction Memoir $2.35 million recovery for a nationwide class of customers who purchased a fictional book while under the impression that the book was a non-fiction memoir. As a result of the misleading marketing, customers bought the book when they would not otherwise have done so, had they known the book was full of embellished and inaccurate depictions of the author’s life. The author admitted portions of his book were embellished on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Class Action Against a School for Misrepresenting Accreditation$1.2 million recovery for a statewide Illinois class of individuals who enrolled in a school based on the school’s representations that the school was accredited and approved by the State to offer a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program, and that graduates of the program would be immediately qualified to take necessary State board exams to become CNAs. The school’s CNA program was not approved by the State, and its graduates were unable to become CNAs. Cash refunds were paid to the students to reimburse them for their tuition overpayment. Additionally, the school paid the tuition for its students to attend a CNA program at a different school, and paid the students a cash stipend to compensate them for their time spent attending the other CNA program.

Credit Report Contained Erroneous “Past Due” Account Listing$87,500 recovery for a woman whose bank erroneously reported to the credit reporting agencies that her account was past due. The woman’s credit score dropped as a result of the erroneous listing. The woman made numerous requests to the bank to correct the error, but to no avail. After suing the bank for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), we successfully negotiated a settlement whereby the bank agreed to pay $87,500 to the woman, reduce the interest rate on her loan from 7.25% to 5.25%, remove the erroneous past due listing from her credit report, and notify the credit reporting agencies that there should be no negative effect on her credit from this loan.

CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS

Class Action to Recover Cellular Phone Fee $48 million recovery for a statewide Illinois class of businesses and individuals who paid a municipal infrastructure maintenance fee on their cellular phone bills. Through litigation, the Illinois Supreme Court declared the fee to be unconstitutional, and we obtained refunds for cell phone customers from the Illinois municipalities that imposed the fee. In addition to having a plaintiff’s class of cell phone customers certified by the court, we also convinced the court to certify a defendant’s class of Illinois municipalities, which is notable as it is very difficult and uncommon for a court to certify a defendant’s class. Certification of a defendant’s class allowed us to recover refunds from all Illinois municipalities in a single lawsuit, rather than having to sue each municipality separately. We included in the class recovery $5.1 million in donations to hospitals for the care and treatment of indigent patients in need of emergency medical treatment in rural areas of the state.

Class Action for Power Outages $7.75 million recovery for a statewide Illinois class of businesses and individuals who sustained financial damages due to widespread and prolonged power outages. The outages resulted from the power company neglecting to maintain its transmission and distribution systems, and from placing electric loads on its cables that exceeded the cable’s ratings. Thereafter, the company made improvements to its power facilities and distribution systems.

Class Action for Unsolicited Faxes $4 million recovery for a nationwide class of businesses and individuals who sustained damages resulting from the receipt of unsolicited facsimile advertisements. The defendant’s insurance carrier denied coverage for this lawsuit under the defendant’s insurance policies. We settled with the defendant with the understanding that we could not recover any money from the defendant’s personal assets, but rather we would have to litigate the insurance coverage issue and seek to execute the judgment against the defendant’s insurance company. Thereafter, we initiated and pursued a third-party citation proceeding against the insurance company, and through litigation we ultimately recovered the full amount of insurance coverage under the policies. We included in the class recovery $250,000 in donations to charities.

Class Action for Defective Baby Formula $3.5 million recovery for a nationwide class of Spanish speaking purchasers of baby formula. The instructions for preparation and use printed in Spanish on the product’s labeling were incorrect, as they instructed the user to mix two scoops of powder formula with water rather than correctly using only one scoop of powder. As a result, class members purchased and used twice as many cans of formula as they otherwise should have, and some children experienced vomiting and diarrhea. We included in the class recovery a $100,000 donation to a local charity that focuses on serving the nutritional and educational needs of Hispanic children.

Class Action for Improper Debiting of Bank Accounts$1.5 million recovery for a statewide Illinois class of individuals who were members of a health club. The club improperly imposed one-time charges and monthly dues increases on its members, and debited its members’ bank accounts to collect the charges without adequate notice or authority. Class members received cash refunds and other benefits in amounts equal to the overcharges.

Class Action for Refund of Surety Bond Premiums $203,000 recovery for a statewide Illinois class of individuals who had paid a premium in full for the entire first year term of a probate surety bond. Either the amount of insurance protection provided under the bond was reduced from the original bond amount to a lower amount prior to the expiration of the term of the bond or the bond was terminated prior to the expiration of the term of the bond, and the insurance company did not refund any unearned premium for the remaining term of the bond. There was no Illinois law or regulation relating to insurance company accounting requirements for unearned premium directly on point, and this was a legal issue of first impression in Illinois. We analyzed National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Statements of Statutory Accounting Principles (SSAP) and Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statements of Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) that pertain to insurance companies, and we argued that these accounting standards supported our theory that the insurance company had to establish a “reserve” for the unearned premium, such that the unearned premium was not “fully earned” in the first year. We included in the class recovery a $110,000 donation to local charities.

Class Action for Extended Health Club Membership $138,000 recovery for a statewide Illinois class of individuals who joined a health club and whose membership agreements provided for an initial membership term of more than two years. Class members received cash refunds to reimburse them in full for their overpayment related to the extended membership term. We included in the class recovery $32,000 in donations to charities.

DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS

Product Liability for Defective Drug $1 million recovery for a child whose mother was administered epinephrine during her pregnancy. The drug constricted the mother’s uterine blood vessels which decreased the oxygen to the fetus, resulting in neurological impairment. The complex medical issues included pharmacology, neurology, radiology and obstetrics, so we developed a video animation for the jury to demonstrate precisely how the drug affected the mother’s circulation and the resulting effect on the fetus’ circulation and brain tissue.

Product Liability for Defective Hip Prosthesis $475,000 recovery for 66-year-old man who had a defective prosthetic hip implanted. The defect was caused by a certain part on the prosthesis that would rapidly wear out and disintegrate. The patient had to undergo a second surgery to remove the defective prosthesis and implant a different device, as well as additional medical treatment and physical therapy. The device manufacturer has since recalled the product.

Product Liability for Defective Drug Vioxx$323,000 recovery for a 63-year-old man who suffered a non-fatal heart attack after taking Vioxx. The drug company denied that the drug caused his heart attack, as he was a chronic smoker with pre-existing heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and uncontrolled diabetes. Through expert testimony were able to prove that the drug more than likely caused or contributed to the heart attack.

BUSINESS LITIGATION

Business Dispute Over Stolen Clients$1.5 million recovery for a corporation whose former employee stole client files and corporate property, and brought them to a competitor who took over the client accounts. We sued the former employee and competitor for conversion, tortuous interference with a business expectancy, and racketeering under the RICO statute. Treble damages were awarded and the verdict amount was tripled pursuant to the RICO statute. Of note, during the pendency of the litigation we appealed an adverse ruling dealing with the RICO cause of action. The appellate court agreed with us and reversed the trial court’s ruling, and we established new legal precedent in Illinois regarding what needs to be shown to establish the elements of a RICO enterprise.

Shareholder Files Derivative Action against Majority Shareholder $157,000 recovery for minority shareholder in privately held company. Representing the minority shareholder, we sued the majority shareholder in a derivative action for breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of funds and self-dealing. We convinced the court to appoint a receiver to take control of the company’s operations and perform a forensic accounting of the company’s income and expenses. In order to end the litigation, the majority shareholder purchased all of the minority shareholder’s stock in the company, paid our attorney’s fees, and compensated the minority shareholder for the damages he sustained as a result of the majority shareholder’s alleged misconduct.

Enforcement of Non-Solicitation Agreement in Contract – An information technology (IT) company entered into a contract with a credit union to provide IT services. The contract contained a non-solicitation clause that prohibited the credit union from attempting to hire any employees of the IT company. However, the credit union extended an offer of employment to one of the IT company’s employees who had performed work for the credit union in connection with their contract for IT services. We successfully made the credit union withdraw its employment offer, and cease and desist its solicitation of the employee.

PERSONAL INJURY

Premises Liability for Fall in Front of Restaurant $1 million recovery for 70-year-old woman who fell in front of a restaurant when she tripped over a jagged metal post which was set into the concrete pavement and elevated approximately two inches vertically above ground level. The post was the remnant of an old canopy that was cut down by the restaurant owner who did not want to spend the money to completely remove the post, but instead placed a flower planter next to the post to obscure it. The woman sustained broken bones, bruises, lacerations, internal injuries, aggravation of her preexisting cardiac condition, and a permanent paralysis to her right arm and hand, and she now uses a walker to compensate for the weakness in her right leg. She also continued to experience headaches as a result of hitting her head when she fell.

Premises Liability / Toxic Tort for Exposure to Mold $460,000 recovery for several elementary school students who were exposed to toxic mold and elevated levels of carbon dioxide in a “sick building.” The school was built on a wetland and flooded. Aspergillus, penicillium, mucor, rhizopus and stachybotrys mold grew in the school due to incomplete drying of carpets following the flooding, and the mold grew on ceiling tiles from leaking pipes. Inadequate heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems caused elevated carbon dioxide levels in the indoor air. The children’s injuries included allergic reactions, ear and sinus infections, rashes, strep throat, chronic headaches and fatigue, eczema, and exacerbation of asthma.

AUTO ACCIDENTS

Personal Injuries from Automobile Accident $700,000 recovery for an 82-year-old woman who sustained a torn rotator cuff and herniated lumbar disc when her car was rear-ended by another car. The woman experienced neck, shoulder and back pain, with decreased range of motion in her shoulder. She required rotator cuff surgery to repair the tear, and epidural steroid spinal injections for her back pain. We matched the other driver’s cellular telephone records with the time of the accident on the police report to show that the driver was talking on her phone when she rear-ended the woman.

Pedestrian Hit by Car in Crosswalk $120,000 recovery for 50-year-old woman who was hit by a car as she crossed the street. The woman experienced neck and shoulder pain which resolved, but her knee pain persisted. She was diagnosed with torn ligaments in her knee. Her knee injuries included chondromalacia patella, which caused her pain when sitting for prolonged periods and when walking down stairs. She underwent knee surgery, but continued to experience intermittent pain in her knee following the surgery.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Medical Malpractice for Failure to Diagnose Hemorrhage $1.3 million recovery for a child whose doctors failed to diagnose and treat his brain hemorrhages. The radiologist failed to diagnose the hemorrhage on the radiology studies of the child’s brain, and the pediatrician failed to diagnose the child’s hydrocephalus notwithstanding the child’s abnormally large head circumference. Subsequent physicians made the proper diagnosis, and surgically placed a shunt system in the child’s brain. The delay in diagnosis and treatment lessened the effectiveness of the subsequent surgical treatment, resulting in neurological impairment.

Medical Malpractice for Birth Injury $850,000 recovery for a child injured during delivery due to the failure to timely recognize and treat “fetal distress.” The fetal monitoring strips showed there was decreased blood flow to the baby, but the doctor did not perform an emergency cesarean section as required under the obstetrical standards of care. The child sustained functional impairment as a result of oxygen deprivation prior to birth.

Medical Malpractice for Failed Kidney Transplant $750,000 recovery for 38-year-old woman due to a transplant surgeon’s error while performing a kidney transplants. The surgeon sewed the ureter to the patient’s peritoneal cavity rather than to her bladder, causing her abdomen to fill-up with two gallons of urine. The fluid collection compressed the renal veins, resulting in the death of the transplant kidney. The woman had the kidney removed, and she went back on dialysis treatments until a new kidney could be implanted.

Medical Malpractice for Failure to Diagnose Cancer $591,000 recovery for 73-year-old man arising out of a primary care physician’s failure to diagnose prostate cancer. The patient’s prostate was enlarged and his PSA test results were elevated. The doctor never informed the patient that these findings could be indicative of cancer, and he did not order follow-up tests to investigate the cause of the abnormal findings. By the time the cancer was detected, it had spread to the man’s bones. An urologist treated the cancer by surgically removing the patient’s prostate and administering a regimen of drugs, and the cancer went into remission. After trial, the jurors stated that they were persuaded to find the defendant negligent in part due to our cross-examining the defendant’s retained expert witness with a textbook he authored that contradicted the opinions he rendered in this case.

DENTAL MALPRACTICE

Dental Malpractice from Foreign Object Dropped Down Throat $41,500 recovery for 35-year-old man who sustained injuries when his dentist, while cleaning the man’s teeth, dropped the “hook” off his dental hand piece down the man’s throat. The man was hospitalized until he passed the “hook.” The man was bleeding out of his anus for several days following his discharge from the hospital, but the bleeding stopped and there is no permanent intestinal damage.

PHARMACY MALPRACTICE

Pharmacy Malpractice from Flu Shot $55,000 recovery for 59-year-old woman who was injured when a pharmacist injected a flu vaccine into the wrong spot on the woman’s shoulder. The improper injection caused inflammation and tendinitis in an area near her rotator cuff, resulting in pain and decreased strength and range of motion. She required medical treatment and physical therapy to her shoulder. A portion of the money was paid to compensate her husband for his loss of care and companionship while his wife was recovering from her injuries.

WRONGFUL DEATH

Wrongful Death from Failure to Diagnose Angina $2.2 million recovery for the family of a 36-year-old man arising out of a primary care physician’s failure to diagnose angina. The patient told his doctor he was having pain in his arm and shoulder. The doctor wrongly diagnosed it as a musculoskeletal problem, and he did not perform a cardiac examination or order any diagnostic tests. The man had a heart attack and died days later. We retained a handwriting expert who determined that the doctor altered his medical records after the patient died by writing in the records that he performed a cardiac examination on the patient, including fictitious results intending to show that the concocted cardiac examination was normal. The jury reduced the $4.5 million verdict by 50% to account for the patient’s comparative negligence in failing to seek treatment the night before he died, when he awoke in excruciating pain.

Wrongful Death from Improper Cancer Treatment $1.7 million recovery for the family of a 40-year-old woman arising out of a surgeon’s negligent resection of a cancerous stomach tumor, which caused the cancer to “seed” in her bloodstream and spread throughout her body. The surgeon committed further negligence by failing to order appropriate tests when the patient complained the following year of pain in the area of her liver and having fresh blood in her stool, which are symptoms of liver involvement. Subsequently, an oncologist diagnosed metastatic liver cancer which originated from the stomach tumor, and the woman died.

Wrongful Death from Automobile Accident $1.3 million recovery for the families of two children killed in a van rollover. The driver of the van was traveling at 95 mph when the accident occurred, which complicated our “design defect” case against the automobile manufacturer. We obtained a protective order from the court so the van could not be altered, and our experts inspected the van and surrounding area to reconstruct the accident. As a result, our experts were able to opine that the van was defective in that it was designed with a lack of crashworthiness of its occupant compartment, which caused the passengers to be ejected from the van during the rollover.

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Rated by Super Lawyers: Thomas Zimmerman