James E. Betz - Attorney at Law

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$1,160,000.00 Jury Verdict Award
Jim Betz and his partner Robert P. Christensen obtained a $1,160,000 jury verdict against a hay baler manufacturer in the products liability case of C. L. v. Hay Baler Manufacturer. C.L.'s arm was caught between two compression rollers that were not adequately guarded. The jury found that the hay baler was defectively designed. C.L.'s arm was so badly mangled, surgeons had to surgically amputate it above the elbow. The hay baler manufacturer blamed C.L. for his own injuries, and was only willing to offer a minimal settlement prior to trial.

$500,000.00 Jury Verdict Award
R.S. v. Local Group Home. R.S. was raped in a group home for vulnerable adults where she lived in St. Paul, Minnesota. The man who raped her was a fellow resident, who entered the female quarters of the home while the staff person on duty that evening was two floors away listening to music.
The group home was unwilling to offer a fair settlement for R.S.'s post-traumatic stress disorder injuries, despite the fact that they knew the perpetrator of the rape had violent propensities prior to the date when this incident occurred. As a result, my partner, Robert P. Christensen, and I tried the case to a Ramsey County jury and obtained a verdict of $500,000.

$150,000 Arbitration Award
J.E. v. Underinsured Motorist Carrier. J.E. was a very pleasant woman in her mid-60's who had numerous prior problems with her neck and back, resulting in approximately eight back surgeries prior to being struck by another vehicle as she was driving south on Highway 95 in Lakeland, Minnesota. At the time of the collision, J.E. had stainless steel rods installed in her back from previous surgeries. As a result of the jarring that took place in the automobile collision, her surgeon thought it would be best to remove the steel rods. 
As the rods were being removed, J.E.'s spinal cord was torn and dural fluid leaked into her back, resulting in arachnoiditis. J.E. recovered the maximum insurance available to her from the negligent driver's insurance policy and made a claim under her own policy for underinsured motorist benefits. The insurance company refused to pay the $100,000 limits of her policy, claiming that J.E.'s prior back surgeries and conditions were causing the ongoing problems, but not the automobile collision. Further, the insurance company contended that the arachnoiditis was actually in existence before the collision occurred, and that it was not responsible for payment of her damages. J.E. took her claim to a three-arbitrator panel, and she recovered the maximum benefits available under her underinsured motorist policy, for a total recovery of $150,000.

$53,000 Jury Verdict Award
D.J. v. Local Landlord. D.J. was a carpenter in his mid-20's who was working hard to support his wife and newborn son. He lived in a side-by-side duplex in Minneapolis and was renting from a landlord who knew there were problems with water draining onto a stepped sidewalk adjacent to the building. D.J. informed the landlord on numerous occasions about the problem with the downspout draining onto the stairway, but the landlord failed to do anything about it. On his way to work one day, D.J. slipped on the ice, fell to his feet, and suffered excruciating pain. The pain was caused from muscle strain and a bulging disc. No surgery was required, but he underwent extensive physical therapy and chiropractic treatments. As a result of his injuries, D.J. was unable to perform as many side jobs as he was able to perform prior to the slip and fall, resulting in lost income.
The landlord refused to accept responsibility for D.J.'s injuries, and blamed D.J. for slipping on ice that he should have known about and claimed that he wasn't entitled to recover for his lost earnings since he had not reported his previous income from side jobs on his income tax returns. The jury did not believe the landlord and awarded D.J. $53,000 for his injuries.

$37,000 Jury Verdict Award
K. P. v. Drunken Driver. K.P. was a registered nurse who was traveling home one evening on southbound 35W at approximately 55 m.p.h. She was rearended by a drunken driver who did not have control over his vehicle. K.P. was a single mother with one child left at home, who suffered from a pre-existing degenerative condition that was aggravated by the trauma she sustained in the collision. 
The insurance company tried to blame K.P.'s increased problems on her pre-existing condition, despite the fact that she had not treated with a doctor for any of her pre-existing conditions for a period of approximately two years prior to the collision. The jury did not agree with the insurance company, and awarded K.P. $37,000 for her injuries.
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