A St. Louis jury awarded $15 million to the mother of a 22-year-old man who died when he fell from a barge into the Mississippi River.
Casey Redmond’s fatal accident occurred at 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 15, 2019. His supervisor had no life ring or man-overboard equipment to use to save Redmond, who was last seen going under a commercial tow boat.
Hours later, Redmond’s life vest was found floating in the river. It had been cut in half, apparently by a commercial tow boat’s propeller. Redmond’s body was never found.
Plaintiff Candace Love brought a wrongful death claim against her son’s employer, Osage Marine Services Inc., under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law. The suit alleged that Osage Marine had failed to provide a safe workplace, as the deck of barge had been strewn with debris and lacked appropriate rescue equipment.
Defendant admitted liability on the eve of trial. Patrick Bader of Bader & Murov, an attorney for Love, said he presented evidence that she had a close, loving relationship with her son and that he had provided her with financial support and services before his death.
Bader also argued that Redmond likely experienced pain and suffering before his death, as the evidence indicated that Redmond either was struck by the boat’s propeller and was maimed or killed under the water, or that he escaped the propeller but then slowly succumbed to hypothermia. Bader said Redmond might have survived in the frigid water for up to three hours.
“We had 180 minutes of conscious pain and suffering,” Bader said. “You don’t find many cases like that.”
Neal Settergren of Goldstein and Price, an attorney for the defense, didn’t return a call seeking comment. Bader said the defense disputed the damages and claimed that Redmond’s financial support of his mother was minimal. Following a three-day trial, the jury deliberated for one hour and returned a verdict of $15 million. Bader said he’d sought an award of as much as $36 million.
The case marks the second time in five years that Bader & Murov have won a multimillion-dollar verdict against Osage Marine. In 2018, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.5 million for the death of Oliver Johnson, a deck crew worker who was trapped aboard a sinking boat.
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$15 million verdict
Venue: St. Louis Circuit Court
Case Number/Date: 2122-CC08981/March 15, 2023
Judge: Madeline Connolly
First Pretrial Demand: $5,000,000
Last Pretrial Demand: $7,500,000
Last Pretrial Offer: $2,000,000
Caption: Candace Love v. Osage Marine Services Inc.
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Patrick Bader and Jacob Murov, Bader & Murov, St. Louis
Defendants’ Attorneys: Neal Settergren and Douglas Gassow, Goldstein and Price, St. Louis