O'Malley and Harvey Practice Areas
The firm's noteworthy successes and recent wins in complex cases include:
Premises liability. In an arc flash incident in an office tower in Boston the plaintiff received serious burn injuries. His medical bills and lost wages exceeded $8,000,000. His pre-trial settlement demand was $32,500,000. Our cross examination of plaintiff's electrical engineer expert witness persuaded the judge to strike all of his testimony. After a two week jury trial in Suffolk Superior Court we obtained a verdict for the defendant building owner.
Insurance coverage and bad faith dispute. A life insurance company incurred over $300,000,000 in losses in several class action vanishing premium cases and in alleged mismanagement of pension funds. It claimed its liability insurer owed it coverage under advertising injury and other terms of its CGL policies over an eight year period. It also sought treble damages under G.L. c. 93A and attorneys' fees of almost $100,000,000 for a total claim of over one billion dollars. After a four week jury trial in U.S. District Court we obtained a verdict for the defendant liability insurance carrier. The jury answered 131 special questions, all in favor of our client. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.
Civil RICO: Healthcare fraud. A chiropractor provided unnecessary treatment and wrote reports exaggerating claims in hundreds of personal injury cases. After his fraud was discovered we represented a liability insurance carrier that sued him under the civil RICO statute, seeking recovery for tort claims it had paid unnecessarily. We obtained a verdict against the chiropractor for $1,700,000, which was trebled under RICO to $5,100,000, most of which was collectible.
Bodily injury fraud. While defending an elevator company in a claimed ruptured disc case, we discovered significant fraud by the plaintiff. We obtained dismissal of the claim and we pursued and obtained payment of the defendant's attorney fees by the plaintiff.
Clergy sex abuse. Representing a school, we negotiated settlements of over twenty clergy sex abuse claims.
Construction site accident. A mastclimber at a construction site in downtown Boston toppled from the fourteenth story to the ground, killing three people and causing serious injuries to a pedestrian. We represented the subcontractor who installed the base of the mastclimber. Due to indemnity agreements the subcontractor had more exposure than any other defendant, if it was held liable. We negotiated a favorable resolution, paying approximately 18% of the total settlement.
Construction site explosion.
- A propane explosion at a construction site killed one worker and injured four, two seriously. The firm represented the target defendant, a propane gas and tank supplier. We impleaded four third-party defendants and obtained $3,100,000 in contribution, enabling the case to be settled on favorable terms.
- A natural gas explosion in a newly constructed biotech plant caused property damage exceeding $10,000,000. Representing the HVAC subcontractor, we obtained summary judgment.
Condominium construction defects.
- In a condominium with approximately 500 units, the owners association claimed it incurred over $17,000,000 in repair costs, including $1,474,000 in actual expended costs for repairs for water leaks in a three story garage. We represented the primary garage subcontractor, and were able to negotiate settlement of the garage claim for $230,000, less than 16% of the actual repair costs for the garage.
- Owners of a 231 unit luxury condominium in downtown Boston alleged numerous defects. Due to indemnity agreements our subcontractor had significant exposure if it was found negligent. We were able to negotiate a settlement of the claim against the subcontractor for 0.8% of the total settlement, and only 0.2% of the total claimed damages.
- Representing the plumbing subcontractor in a $4,000,000 property damage claim caused by water damage during construction, we obtained summary judgment on behalf of the defendant.
- Our client obtained summary judgment based on the statute of limitations and statute of repose. The Appeals Court reversed. Pursuant to our motion for reconsideration, the Appeals Court reversed itself and affirmed the summary judgment.
Condominium complex destroyed by fire. Nine lawsuits were filed against a condominium unit owner who allegedly caused a fire that totally destroyed a 67 unit, four story condominium building. He had improperly stored tanks of propane and he allegedly carelessly disposed of smoking materials. We obtained dismissal of seven of the suits based on causation issues and contractual defenses including subrogation waivers. We settled two of the cases. The total damages claim exceeded $6,000,000, the insured had $300,000 of coverage and we negotiated settlements for $83,500.
Construction defects. A restaurant sued a contractor claiming that construction defects required repairs exceeding $100,000 and caused lost profits for the restaurant in excess of $1,500,000. The contractor impleaded its subcontractors. We represented the masonry repair and waterproofing subcontractor and obtained summary judgment dismissing the contractor's claims for contractual indemnity, breach of contract and contribution.
Insurance coverage and bad faith dispute. A homeowner sued his insurer seeking coverage and treble damages after he paid $150,000 to a nanny for injuries she incurred on the job. The homeowner claimed a sales person for the insurer misrepresented to him that his homeowner's policy provided worker's compensation coverage for the nanny. We discredited this allegation, and our client settled for less than the cost to try the case.
Employment claims. Representing the largest bank in New England we obtained a defense verdict in Suffolk Superior Court in a malicious prosecution and defamation claim by a former employee who had been mistakenly accused and prosecuted for embezzlement. We also obtained defense verdicts for the bank in an employment discrimination claim in Norfolk Superior Court and an employment discrimination claim in federal court.
Wrongful death claims. Representing one of the largest utilities in Massachusetts, we obtained a defense verdict in Worcester Superior Court in a double wrongful death case (proving illegal drug overdoses were the cause, not carbon monoxide), and a defense verdict in Middlesex Superior Court in another death (carbon monoxide, but no negligence). We also obtained a directed verdict following plaintiff's opening statement in a gas explosion property damage case in Middlesex Superior Court, where a building had been leveled.
Arson. Representing a natural gas utility, we obtained a defense verdict in Worcester Superior Court in a fire that allegedly caused over $1,000,000 in property damage (arson by the homeowner, not a gas leak).
Hotel construction defects. Representing a general contractor and its two subrogated liability insurance companies, we sued 22 subcontractors and suppliers for large-scale EIFS problems in the construction of five hotels. We obtained favorable settlements from 20 of the 22 defendants, enabling our clients to make timely repairs to the hotels and preempt further property damage and possible bodily injury claims.
- Industrial lifting equipment: A foundry worker received crush injuries to his abdomen when he used a lift system to hoist equipment that accidentally fell on him. His medical bills exceeded $500,000. Our cross examination of plaintiff's two mechanical engineer expert witnesses convinced the judge to strike their testimony, resulting in a directed verdict for our client, a manufacturer, in Hampden Superior Court.
- OTC drug: Representing a drug manufacturer in a near fatal adverse reaction case in Essex Superior Court, we obtained a defense verdict.
- Nebulizer: Representing the medical equipment manufacturer in a near fatal incident involving a child, we obtained a defense verdict.
- Table saw: A sixteen year old cut off three fingers on a table saw in a high school woodworking class. We represented the saw manufacturer. The Plymouth Superior Court jury awarded the plaintiff $75,000, a win for our client.
- Punch press: Representing a punch press manufacturer in a hand crush case in Middlesex Superior Court, we obtained a defense verdict.
Mold contamination. A home owner and two minor plaintiffs brought suit alleging pulmonary injuries and destruction of their home due to mold infestation arising from faulty installation of an HVAC system. Plaintiff's demand was $500,000. After a two week trial in Essex Superior Court, we obtained a defense verdict for the contractor.
Tractor trailer accident. A passenger in an automobile incurred a broken neck when her car struck a tractor trailer that had jack-knifed on Route 495. Representing the trucking company, we obtained a defense verdict in Essex Superior Court.
Traumatic brain injury. A passenger sustained traumatic brain injuries in a rear-end car accident. She sued both the driver of the following car and his employer, a bank. The bank obtained summary judgment in regard to scope of employment, and we obtained affirmance on appeal.
Toxic Torts. Since 1982, we have represented numerous defendants in all aspects of asbestos exposure litigation in state and federal courts and coordinated national and local defenses for business and insurers new to the litigation and in need of knowledgeable defense counsel.
Vertical Transportation. In representing the nation’s largest elevator and escalator company we have consistently obtained summary judgment in cases for our client involving alleged serious injuries that include brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. In one case we recovered $32,000 in legal fees directly from the plaintiff after demonstrating through discovery the fraudulent nature of the claim.
In almost all the above cases our opposing attorneys ranked among the most talented and accomplished trial lawyers in Massachusetts.
Most cases settle. Our proven ability to win cases at trial has enabled us to obtain favorable settlements for our clients in hundreds of cases. These even include cases in which we have persuaded plaintiffs' attorneys to voluntarily dismiss their lawsuits without payment:
- A defamation suit against an insurance company manager by a disgruntled former employee
- A wrongful death suit against a nursing home resident by the estate of another resident
- A wrongful termination of employment suit
- A legal malpractice suit against an insurance company's in-house attorney
We have successfully resolved disputes in a wide range of other cases including numerous business disputes and unfair and deceptive business practices claims, disciplinary actions against other lawyers, estate contests and a plagiarism claim against a university professor. We have successfully represented insureds against their insurance companies who have denied coverage and we have defended insureds whose insurance companies have issued reservation of rights letters.
We have successfully represented plaintiffs in numerous serious personal injury and death cases, in employment disputes and in the reinstatement of professional licenses.
All of our lawyers have concentrated their practices in civil litigation for their entire careers.