Noteworthy Cases

  • Mr. Leary achieved a settlement in the amount of $875,000 lump sum on behalf of plaintiff in a personal injury case where the plaintiff (a 37-year-old male) driver of a trash truck suffered injuries to his neck, shoulders, chest, ribs, intestinal system, lumbar spine, buttocks, and temporomandibular joint. This case involved a herniated disc, an L5 laminectomy and foraminectomy surgery, followed by a transforaminal interbody fusion at L5-S1, injuries to the jaw, left shoulder impingement/rotator cuff tear, and right shoulder impingement. Plaintiff had substantial pre-existing conditions.

  • Mr. Leary successfully challenged, on behalf of his clients, the validity of signatures pertaining to trust documents claiming such signatures were forgeries. This enabled the clients to receive assets in the trust which they otherwise would not have received. The principal asset in the trust was a judgment in the trustor’s favor for an amount in excess of $5,000,000, a judgment which was funded by the time of the forgery trial by Mr. Leary. The case involved the use of handwriting experts, and the testimony of witnesses on both sides to determine credibility of such witnesses. The trustee was removed as a result of the five-day bench trial.

  • Mr. Leary represented a young man who was involved in an auto accident on school premises, arguing that a seizure disorder resulted after the plaintiff had struck his head. The defense had a solid argument that they were not liable for the injuries. The defendants’ insurance policy limits were only $15,000 (with Farmers Insurance). A policy limit demand for the $15,000 was made; Farmers Insurance did not attempt to tender these policy limits until two days after the demand expired. After the policy limit demand had expired (leaving the defendants personally exposed to a potential judgment against them in excess of the policy limit of $15,000), Mr. Leary, on behalf of the young man, declined to accept the $15,000. A pre-trial settlement of $250,000 lump sum then ensued, which was $235,000 more than the defendants’ insurance amount.

  • Mr. Leary, while practicing law in Minnesota, and in a case of first impression, represented the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action. The plaintiff’s first lawyer missed a deadline to file and serve an “affidavit of expert review.” Mr. Leary attempted to cure the first plaintiff lawyer’s error by acquiring and providing an “affidavit of expert review” to the defense. Nevertheless, the defense argued that the case should have been dismissed pursuant to a statute stating that a failure to comply with a defendant’s demand for an “affidavit of expert review” would result (upon motion) in a “mandatory dismissal” of the action, as specified in the relevant statute.The defense argued in essence this was a statute of limitations that the first lawyer missed. Mr. Leary successfully overcame these arguments at the trial level and then on appeal (after defendants appealed, with the opinion eventually being published as authority, Parker v. O’Phelan (1987) 414 North Western Reporter 2d 534), asserting that the time for filing the affidavit may be enlarged even when an extension to file such affidavit is sought after expiration of the 60-day limit, that the statute requiring the affidavit was not a statute of limitations, and that the trial court had not abused its discretion in so ruling. Mr. Leary’s result has helped many plaintiffs and their lawyers in Minnesota.

  • Mr. Leary’s adversaries have identified him as “an outstanding lawyer” and on occasion have referred injured persons and relatives to Mr. Leary for legal representation.

  • Mr. Leary represented two distinguished veterans, a retired navy captain and a retired army colonel in a dispute where a homeowners association attempted to stop these veterans from displaying the American flag on flagpoles at their respective homes. The navy captain was involved in the planning of D-Day Invasion of Normandy during World War II and was served with the homeowners association’s lawsuit to remove his flagpole on the 50th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. The Army colonel’s spouse assisted Jewish persons to escape persecution. Mr. Leary successfully overcame the position of the homeowners association’s by arguing that the association had not sought to resolve the dispute in arbitration prior to seeking relief in court. The veterans were able to continue to display the flags. The case was covered by radio and print media. (The newspaper articles are linked below).

    - Controversy gets run up the flagpole (June 18, 1994)

    - Attorney Thomas Leary represents WWII veterans and repels attackers in flagpole flap (July 10, 1994)

  • Mr. Leary represented a single mother running a small balloon shop, which burned down after an alleged arson caused by a commercial neighbor. Over 25 attorneys had previously declined to represent this plaintiff. After the commercial neighbor was found not guilty of arson with respect to the fire (but guilty of a string of other crimes) in federal court, the insurance company (Fireman’s Fund) for the commercial neighbor refused to pay on the fire insurance policy to Mr. Leary’s client, the single mother. Fireman’s Fund even refused to participate in any pre-litigation settlement discussions, because in Fireman’s Funds view, there was “nothing to settle,” despite the fact that Mr. Leary obtained a $1,000,000 lump sum default judgment against the insured of Fireman’s Fund relative to the mother. In the subsequent litigation representing the mother in a third party bad faith-judgment creditor action, Fireman’s Fund settled with the mother for $475,000.

  • Mr. Leary represented the passenger (wife) of a man (her husband) in an automobile incident where husband was towing a Corporation X trailer full of retail merchandise for Corporation X. Corporation X had failed to hook up the trailer brakes to the truck being used to tow the trailer. The truck brakes alone were inadequate and failed on a steep grade, causing the truck and trailer to become “runaway vehicles” which then crashed, causing severe injuries to the passenger-wife. The company was sued for failing to hook up the brakes, but denied they had ever heard of husband-driver, claimed that the husband driver was not their employee, that husband was his own company hired by one of the corporation’s other independent contractors, that the truck brakes were defective (the truck was not a Corporation X truck), and that the husband-driver was solely responsible for failing to hook up the brakes. At the time Mr. Leary took this case over from another attorney, the highest offer to settle was the amount of the “cost of defense.” Within six months of taking over the case, Mr. Leary obtained a settlement of $2,000,000 lump sum for the passenger-wife.

  • Mr. Leary represented a man (after at least two other attorneys had attempted to resolve the matter on behalf of the man) who was injured in a rear-end automobile incident. The man had treated prior to the accident for problems that had already existed with his cervical spine. After the accident, the man was required to undergo a three-level cervical fusion surgery. The defense maintained that the problems with the cervical spine and need for surgery were cause by a degenerative condition which had already existed, and that they were not responsible. Mr. Leary argued to the contrary, and pointed out that the defense claimed they had “lost” critical evidence in the case (such as x-ray films). The settlement offer increased from $40,000 to the settlement for $275,000 lump sum , while a motion to include a spoliation of evidence cause of action against the IME physician and the auto insurance carrier was pending.

  • Mr. Leary represented a woman who was leaving Qualcomm Stadium one night after a Padres baseball game. As the woman was exiting and walking among the large crowd, she was injured when she tripped over a raised (over one inch) edge section of sidewalk. Based on the claim of improper crowd control, inadequate lighting and the dangerous condition of the raised sidewalk edge, and in spite of the defense disputing these claims and the nature and extent of the woman’s injuries, the case settled for $105,000 lump sum.

  • Mr. Leary represented a man in a claim arising out of a multi-vehicle auto accident on the freeway. The several defendant drivers disputed the nature and extent of the injuries, and claimed that the other defendants were responsible. The injuries consisted of left shoulder impingement syndrome. Mr. Leary obtained a settlement on behalf of his clients in the amount of $249,999 lump sum.

  • Mr. Leary resolved by way of settlement a premises liability and negligence case where a wall collapsed and fell on a 55 year old, heavy-set man, who was a tenant of an apartment complex. The man did not present well as a witness and did not want to proceed to trial under any circumstance. (The man suffered from schizophrenia / mental health issues, and there was evidence of a history of alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide attempts.) There were claims by the defense that the man had been drunk at the time of the incident, perhaps causing the incident himself, and evidence that one of the man’s own relatives had come in contact the wall and caused it to fall on the man. The man suffered knee injuries requiring a total knee replacement after conservative treatment failed. The defense argued that the medical evidence indicated that the man suffered a bruise only to his leg as a result of the loss and that the surgery was due to a pre-existing condition. Despite the problems regarding presenting the man as a witness on his own behalf, and despite the defense’s position that it did not have prior notice of any problems with the wall, the case settled for $275,000.00 lump sum plus a waiver of a cross-claim by the principal defendant for $50,000.00 against claimant.

  • Mr. Leary resolved by way of binding arbitration award a case involving a bicyclist who was hit while riding downhill through an intersection at night. The case was referred to Mr. Leary by a defense attorney and former adversary of Mr. Leary. The injuries to the cyclist included a fractured tibia (broken leg). The defense argued that the bicyclist was at least 50% at fault, due to lack of visibility (improper clothing, lighting), excessive speed, and failure to use caution to avoid the incident. The parties agreed to save litigation costs by submitting the matter to binding arbitration, with a maximum possible "high" award of $250,000.00, and a low of $135,000 (with the exact amount awarded to be determined by the amount of comparative fault on the part of the cyclist). The arbitration took place, with a finding of zero percent comparative fault on the part of the cyclist and therefore an award of $250,000.00 lump sum.

  • Mr. Leary represented an electrician who was hit in the eye with the nail from a nail gun and was permanently blinded in that eye. The electrician was working on one side of a thin-papered wall, with the nail-gunner on the other side of the wall on a scaffold. The evidence indicated that the electrician bore much of the blame for the incident. The evidence and deposition testimony indicated that the electrician could see and hear the nail-gunner on the other side of the wall, whereas the nail-gunner could not see and hear the electrician and did not know the electrician was in the area. There was also evidence that the electrician was warned earlier in the day not to go near the area where nail-gunning was occurring, and that the electrician was again warned by someone else immediately before being shot, but failed to heed such warnings and instead positioned himself on a ladder directly opposite the nail gunner. In addition, the electrician had been convicted of at least 2 recent prior felonies (one clearly involving dishonesty) which probably would have been admitted into evidence against the electrician. Finally, the electrician’s own version of events had continued to change during the litigation. Mr. Leary was able to settle the case for $500,000.00 lump sum, prior to the expert-witness phase of the litigation.

  • Mr. Leary represented a security guard working at a hospital. The security guard was punched in the nose and fell to the ground, suffering a broken nose and injuries to his knee and shoulder. Mr. Leary settled the case on behalf of his client against the assailant, an emergency room patient with mental health care issues, for $123,000.00 of the assailantís own money (there was no insurance coverage for such conduct).

These outcomes are not guarantees of success in future matters.