Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman Named Attorneys of the Year

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Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman of PritzkerOlsen, P.A. have been named Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer, a legal periodical.

Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman

Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman

The insurance company refused to offer any settlement. We believed strongly in our case and worked hard to prove it. The result brought closure to the family and helped them move on.

Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman of PritzkerOlsen, P.A. have been named “Attorneys of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer. Each year Minnesota Lawyer recognizes the best achievements in the Minnesota legal profession with the Attorneys of the Year awards presentation. Nominations for this coveted award were submitted by judges, bar groups, clients and fellow attorneys.

Pritzker, Hageman and the other 2011 Attorneys of the Year will be recognized at an awards program on Feb. 23 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis.

In addition to their other achievements this year, Pritzker and Hageman obtained a significant verdict from a Hennepin County, MN, jury on April 14, 2011 in a wrongful death case on behalf of the heirs and next-of-kin of a bicyclist named Julie Casey, who was killed on August 15, 2008 when she was run over by the rear wheels of the trailer of a right-turning tractor-trailer at a busy intersection (Estate of Casey v. Western National Mutual Insurance Company, No. 27-CV-10-10984). The case exemplifies the importance of independently reviewing and carefully investigating cases that at first blush seem difficult if not impossible to win.

Following Ms. Casey’s death, the consensus of the investigating police officers had been that Ms. Casey should have seen the truck and that the accident occurred because Ms. Casey was unable to remove her feet from her new clipless bicycle pedals and rode into the side of the trailer. Pritzker and Hageman’s investigation of the case revealed, however, that the accident had not occurred as the investigators had initially believed. In fact, discovery revealed that the truck driver had failed to monitor his right outside mirrors at all during his turn, which is crucial, due to the significant “off-tracking” which occurs with turning trucks. This failure was compounded by the truck driver’s admission that he believed he was pulling a 48-foot trailer, as opposed to a 53-foot trailer. Moreover, after obtaining the truck driver’s logbooks, Pritzker and Hageman were able to determine that there were numerous falsifications, which should have caused the driver to be out of service at the time of the accident. The falsifications in the logbook, which cast doubt on the truck driver’s account of the accident, were compounded when he repeated them under oath at his deposition.

Fred Pritzker noted “Eric and I are proud of the result in this case. The insurance company refused to offer any settlement. We believed strongly in our case and worked hard to prove it. The result brought closure to the family and helped them move on.”

At trial, the defense asserted that Ms. Casey was primarily at fault because she had fallen off her bike prior to getting run over, should have seen the semi and did not have the right-of-way. The jury disagreed. After an eight-day trial, the jury found 70% fault on the truck driver and 30% fault on Ms. Casey and awarded her heirs and next of kin $2,469,339 in damages.

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