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Major Personal Injury Case Salvaged


It takes courage to step into the line of fire at the last moment. However, during the week of October 4, 2004, a Colorado woman phoned Domina Law Group with an emergent need for decisive action.

The 38-year-old Colorado woman was driving a commercial bus, with a large number of passengers, on an interstate highway system when problems inside the bus developed, resulting in diminished maximum speed. This caused the bus to move slower than other traffic and required the driver, who was to become Domina Law Group’s client, to make a decision: pull to the side of the road and place at risk every passenger on the bus, which was too large for the shoulder to accommodate, or proceed forward with caution to the next exit while hugging the right side of the road. The driver wisely chose the latter course.

Just before the exit was reached, a truck driver, who may have been reaching for an object on the floor of his vehicle, struck the bus from the rear, causing devastating injuries to those on board, including Domina Law Group’s Colorado client.

When Domina Law Group lawyers were contacted, trial was less than a week away. The Colorado woman, who suffers massive injuries, and has been dramatically debilitated, urgently needed help. Her Colorado lawyer had settled her worker’s compensation case, then pulled out of her personal injury case in Nebraska, leaving her without a lawyer. She was unable to respond to court requirements, and the day Domina Law Group lawyers contacted her, a Nebraska judge dismissed her case for noncompliance with court orders. The client learned of the dismissal when a lawyer for another party to the case physically visited her home to see why she wasn’t getting help. This contact, from a conscientious lawyer for another party, led to a call for emergency assistance from Domina Law Group.

Timothy G. Himes, Michael Stumo, David A. Domina, and Kim Weber combined to rescue the Colorado woman’s case. Within 24 hours of the initial contact, filings were made in court to set aside the adverse judgment, prove the serious limitations faced by the Colorado woman, relate the circumstances of her prior lawyer’s abandonment of the case, and ask for reinstatement. The next day, a hearing was held in open court, where Domina Law Group lawyer Timothy G. Himes successfully argued the adverse judgment should be set aside, and the Coloradoan should have her day in court.

Persuasive documents submitted by Domina Law Group, together with effective argument, persuaded the Magistrate Judge to take an important step by reinstating the woman’s case; however, the burden of reinstatement carried some conditions. Trial must commence on schedule on the liability feature of the case, but not on damages. The woman must attend trial, and Domina Law Group must represent her.

Five-and-a-half days after being contacted, and three-and-a-half days after the court set aside its judgment ending the Colorado woman’s case, Domina Law Group’s Timothy G. Himes, assisted with capable briefing and evidence preparation from Michael Stumo and paraprofessional Kim Weber, appeared in the United States District Court to try the massive liability issue posed by the case.

As a result, the right to trial was saved, the client’s case was saved, and the right to present the Colorado woman’s damages to a fact-finder for an award of damages for a devastating life-long injury was salvaged.

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