A Safe Community
Much of our work serves not just our clients, but the community as well.
One of the firm’s more noteworthy cases was Douglas v. Home Base & Dimler Chrysler Corporation of America. In 2003, Mesa’s Home Base employees overloaded Eloy resident Mini Douglas’s pickup with concrete, resulting in a blown tire, causing her to spin wildly on I-10 and slowly roll backwards into a concrete freeway overpass pillar. The defective seatback of her Dodge Ram pickup collapsed, slamming her head into the backseat, rendering her a quadriplegic.
Settling the case against Home Base for over $3,000,000, a jury returned a verdict of $57,000,000 against Dimler Chrysler, including $50,000,000 in punitive damages (later vacated on appeal). It was believed to be the largest personal injury verdict in Arizona history at that time. Personal injury settlements and product liability verdicts induce companies to adopt safety policies for employees and manufacture safer products.
This same ideal of community safety has also guided the firm to invest time and energy toward various causes. In 1994, ASARCO Mining Company proposed converting the nearby remnant of its open pit mine south of town into the world’s largest garbage dump, 1000-feet deep, 3000-feet across. Attorney Tom Cole spearheaded a citizens group that grew so large, and whose protest was so loud, that the Casa Grande City Council finally reversed itself and refused to permit it.
In 1996, a waterbed frame manufacturer banned in California sought to relocate outside Casa Grande and spew its volatile organic compounds into our community and Mr. Cole again led a group and initiated a lawsuit that successfully opposed it. Then in 2003, Natural Energy proposed doubling the size of its in-town electrical power plant in order to transport the power to California. The plant emitted particulate pollutants adverse to lung and heart health, prompting Mr. Cole again to rally the community in successful opposition to the proposed expansion.