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Verdicts & Settlements


Most civil cases settle long before they see the courtroom. At Merkel & Cocke, we do not make that assumption. Our skilled litigation attorneys assume that every case will ultimately end up in a jury or bench trial. However, our strategy gets results. Our experience and results have resulted in a strong reputation throughout the South. This makes for larger settlement offers. We will work hard to obtain the maximum amount of settlement authority the defendant has and then advise you as a firm as to whether we believe the settlement to be fair. At that point, you will then make the ultimate decision whether you wish to take the settlement offer made or proceed with trial. A sample of the settlements and verdicts are below.

Verdicts And Settlements Of Note

Medical Malpractice – Elective cesarean

In this medical malpractice case, the physician did an elective cesarean section despite tests showing immature lungs in the fetus. After birth the child had prolonged hospitalizations for breathing difficulties. The Plaintiff received as six figure settlement.

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Luckett v. University of Mississippi Medical Center

In the case of Luckett v. University of Mississippi Medical Center that was tried to a verdict, our client, Patricia Luckett was admitted in labor. Prenatal testing conducted through the Madison County Health Department indicated that Ms. Luckett suffered from gestational diabetes, a condition which can allow the baby to grow excessively large. On admission, UMMC failed to note this condition, failed to perform assessments of estimated fetal weight, and allowed a first year resident attempt vaginal delivery on what turned out to be a 12 lb., 14 oz. baby. Predictably severe shoulder dystocia was encountered, and the child suffered a severe brachial plexus injury to his shoulder. The case was tried before Circuit Judge Winston Kidd, who awarded the injured child damages and prejudgment interest in an amount which was approximately equal to the statutory cap, $500,000.

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Client Struck by 18 Wheeler

In a case dealing with a trucking accident, our client was operating a truck in Benton County Mississippi on U.S. Highway 78. Our client was struck from the rear by an 18 wheel truck, causing his vehicle to crash. Our client received substantial injuries and died approximately 3 weeks later. The case settled for well over a million dollars.

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Medical Malpractice – Client Died

In a medical malpractice case, our client had pre-term premature rupture of her membranes. Our client was admitted to the hospital for observation. After 4 days, our client developed chorioamnionitis, an infection of the uterine cavity. The client died the next day. It was asserted the physician and hospital were negligent in failing to appropriately counsel the patient and in failing to timely evacuate the uterus and administer antibiotics. This case also settled for well over a million dollars.

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Medical Malpractice – Misdiagnosis

In a medical malpractice case, our client presented to the emergency room with shortness of breath. A chest x-ray was done, which was read the next day by the radiologist as showing a suspicious lesion. The report was not communicated to the patient. Two years later, the client was diagnosed with lung cancer, and later died. We asserted a claim that the physicians and hospital were negligent in failing to disclose the lesion, and that delay allowed our client’s cancer to metastasize. This case settled for over a half million dollars.

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Medical Malpractice – Permanent Foot Drop

Our client injured his back on the job. After conservative treatment failed, a neurosurgeon recommended lumbar fusion. In performing the procedure, a pedicle screw was placed in a position to compress nerve roots, causing permanent foot drop. This case settled for just under a half million dollars.

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Legal Malpractice

In this legal malpractice case, the defendant attorney filed a medical malpractice action for the death of child from sepsis. However, the defendant attorney failed to meet the procedural and substantive requirements required by the law, causing the plaintiff’s case to be dismissed twice. We filed suit on behalf of the plaintiff against her former attorneys for legal malpractice and were successful when we settled the case for just under a half million dollars.

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Medical Malpractice – Massive Heart Attack

In another medical malpractice case, the patient presented to the emergency room with chest pain radiating into his arm. The initial EKG and cardiac enzymes were inconclusive, but were not repeated. The client suffered a massive heart attack. The case settled for six figures.

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Child Birth Injury

A child was delivered to his mother with gestational diabetes. Despite ultrasounds predicting fetal weight well in excess of 5000 grams, her doctor attempted vacuum delivery from a plus 1 station, resulting in severe shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury. This case also settled for over a half million dollars.

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Slip and Fall at a Casino

We obtained a large settlement for our client who injured her knee when she tripped over the “joint” separating the land based and water based portion of a Tunica County casino.

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Medical Malpractice – Unnecessary Surgery

In a medical malpractice case versus a podiatrist who had provided unnecessary surgeries, we obtained a settlement six figure award.

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Medical Malpractice – Emergency Room Misdiagnosis

In a medical malpractice case, our client died from pulmonary embolus. In this case, our client went to the emergency room on two occasion complaining of chest pain and was sent home. She died the next day from a pulmonary embolus. It was proven that the emergency room doctors should have suspected a pulmonary embolism and admitted her to the hospital for treatment which would have prevented her death. We settled the case for mid seven figures.

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Medical Malpractice – Post Surgery Infection

In another medical malpractice case, our client was a known diabetic who underwent a knee replacement surgery and developed a serious infection post-operatively. Although she had signs and symptoms of infection, she was discharged from the hospital approximately two weeks after the surgery without being placed on antibiotics. The infection raged to the extent that nearly all of the skin and tissue surrounding the knee was lost. Eventually, the client required an above-knee amputation. Our client was awarded mid six figures.

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Automobile Accident – Head on Collision

In a car wreck case, an elderly lady was the passenger in an automobile which was struck head-on by on oncoming vehicle. Everyone involved in the accident was killed. Merkel & Cocke proved that the driver of the other fell asleep and crossed the center line of the road into the oncoming lane of traffic. Merkel and Cocke’s clients, the wrongful death beneficiaries of the elderly passenger, were awarded mid six figures.

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Lady Dies after Child Birth

A lady who had recently given birth to her first child underwent a relatively routine surgery to remove her gall bladder. Following the surgery, while on anti-coagulation therapy, she began to bleed internally in the hospital. The nurses and doctors in charge of her care failed to timely recognize the signs and symptoms of an internal bleed until it was too late. The young lady died as a result of the internal bleeding, and her very young son was awarded a seven figure settlement.

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Truck Accident – Rear End Collision

Client was operating a truck in Benton County on US Highway 78. Client was struck from the rear by an 18 wheel truck, causing his vehicle to crash. Client received substantial injuries, and died approximately 3 weeks later.

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Car Accident Case – Suffered Brain Damage

In this car accident case, our client was a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle. The client suffered brain damage. A large six figure settlement was reached.

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Medical Malpractice Case – Hysterectomy

In this medical malpractice case, the patient underwent hysterectomy. During surgery her ureter was ligated and not recognized. The Plaintiff received as six figure settlement.

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Medical Malpractice – Shoulder Prosthesis at the Wrong Angle

In a medical malpractice case in which the defendant surgeon improperly inserted a shoulder prosthesis at the wrong angle. Our client was an elderly woman who had to undergo a second surgery to remove the first prosthesis and insert another. We settled for mid-six figures.

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Man Struck by Tractor Trailer

Settlement for a young man who was injured when he struck the rear of a tractor trailer which moved into his lane of traffic while making a right hand turn was settled for six figures.

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Slip and Fall at Casino

While a client of ours was dining at a casino buffet, he slipped on water that had leaked from a pipe that drained the ice water from the buffet. We successfully investigated the matter and determined by previous employees that were no longer employed by the casino that management had knowledge of this dangerous condition. However, representatives of the casino testified differently. This resulted in a successful settlement of six figures to compensate our client for his knee injury.

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Improperly Supervised while Lifting Weights

A minor child was injured while lifting weights for football at his local school. He was improperly supervised and the equipment provided was faulty. This resulted in a severe neck injury that resulted in an award of six figures.

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Injured Back at Casino

In another casino case, our client was injured when a casino employee ran into her while carrying money bags which resulted in injuries to her back. We successfully received a six figure award.

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Workers’ Compensation – Injured Back

We successfully proved a total loss of wage earning capacity in a workers’ compensation claim whereby our client injured his back when he fell off a riding lawn mower.

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Injured at a Convenient Store

We successfully obtained a settlement in a Tennessee premise liability case whereby our client was injured in a convenient store by a third party.

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Contract Misrepresentation – Real Estate

In a case involving contract misrepresentation, our client alleged negligence on the part of listing real estate broker in failing to disclose other offers and conflict of interest. The Plaintiff received as six figure settlement.

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Erb’s Palsy Injury

In this medical malpractice case, the child was delivered from a +1 station by vacuum delivery. The child suffered an Erb’s Palsy injury. Another six figure settlement was received by our client.

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Medical Malpractice – Discharged Prematurely From ER

In this medical malpractice case, the patient presented to ER with chest pain. Despite abnormal EKG findings the patient was discharged and later died of a heart attack. Another six figure settlement was reached.

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Medical Malpractice – Leg Amputated as a Result of Surgery

In this medical malpractice, the patient was involved in a motor vehicle accident and fractured her hip. In repairing the hip, the surgeon drilled through her hip bone into an artery. As a result of the loss of blood flow to the lower left leg, the patient’s leg had to be amputated. The Plaintiff received as six figure settlement.

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Workers’ Compensation – School Bus Driver, Ruptured Disk

In a workers’ compensation case, our client who was a school bus driver for a public school district was involved in a car accident that resulted in a ruptured disk to her back. We successfully received an award for her total loss of wage earning capacity.

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Workers’ Compensation- Slip and Fall

We successfully settled a workers’ compensation claim for total loss of use of his lower extremity when a teacher slipped and fell and injured his right knee.

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Medical Malpractice Case – Mammograms not acted on

In this medical malpractice case, radiologists who analyzed clients yearly mammograms noted the same suspicious mass on three occasions before recommending that a biopsy be performed. Additionally, the client’s regular family physician failed to perform clinical breast exams, which would have revealed a palpable mass. When a biopsy was finally performed, approximately four years after the mass was first noted, it revealed that the mass was, in fact, cancer, which by that time had metastasized. Merkel & Cocke asserted that the delay in diagnosing and treating the cancer caused the cancer to spread throughout the client’s body to the point that it was incurable. The client was awarded close to a million dollars.

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18 Wheeler hit Miata

Recovery for a young girl injured in automobile collision when an 18-wheeler ran a red light and hit her Miata, throwing her out of vehicle. She sustained numerous broken bones and permanent impairment. We settled for almost seven figures.

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Medical Malpractice – Hysterectomy

In the medical malpractice of McKinnley v. Simha, the Plaintiff underwent an abdominal hysterectomy. During the procedure, her right ureter was clamped and ligated. A Shelby County Tennessee jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff in the amount of $300,000.00.

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Medical Malpractice – Misdiagnosis

In another medical malpractice, the Plaintiff injured his back on the job. A cervical CT revealed a herniated disk, but the Plaintiff was discharged without diagnosis. Over the ensuing days, the Plaintiff developed partial paralysis of lower extremities. Plaintiff reached a six figure settlement.

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Medical Malpractice – Wrong Medication

In this medical malpractice case, the Plaintiff presented to the emergency room with a scratch to his right eye. The emergency room physician prescribed an eye medication that is contraindicated for continued use. The Plaintiff suffered partial loss of vision. Another six figure settlement was reached.

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Medical Malpractice – Physical Therapy Misdiagnosis

In this medical malpractice, the Plaintiff suffered carpal tunnel syndrome. The Plaintiff’s physician ordered physical therapy. The physical therapist, without approval, ordered cervical traction resulting in back injury. A six figure settlement was reached.

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Medical Malpractice – “Bad Baby”

In this “bad baby” medical malpractice case, the Plaintiff was born with severe hypoxic brain damage. The Plaintiff alleged the physician and hospital were negligent in failing to timely deliver. The Plaintiff received as six figure settlement.

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Medical Malpractice – Misdiagnosis

In this medical malpractice case, the Plaintiff was diagnosed with a bruit, or irregular flow of blood in the carotid arteries. A carotid ultrasound was ordered. Based on the results, a carotid endarterectomy was ordered, which in turn resulted in a stroke with permanent neurologic and physical deficits. The Plaintiff claimed he was not an appropriate candidate and should not have had surgery. A seven figure settlement was reached.

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Medical Malpractice – Mother not Screened for Group B

In another medical malpractice case, a mother presented in labor with pre-term premature rupture of membranes. The mother was not screened for group B strep during pregnancy and was not given antibiotics in labor. The child was delivered and developed group B strep meningitis. The Plaintiff received as six figure settlement.

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Medical Malpractice – Misdiagnosed Surgery

In this medical malpractice case, the client was diagnosed with an aortic aneurism. Surgical stenting was recommended. Following surgery the patient developed ischemic complications and died. A mid seven figure settlement was reached.

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Clients Improperly Treated for Cancer

We represented several clients who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer by their treating physicians and improperly treated with injections to contain the cancer. However, there was one major problem. Our clients did not have cancer. This resulted in settlements of approximately $3,000,000.00.

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Excessive Force from Local Sheriff’s Department

Our firm represented clients in sixteen cases versus a local sheriff’s department in various civil rights matters stemming from excessive force throughout the entire department. Our firm successfully settled all of these cases, except one. The sheriff was ultimately removed from his position.

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Slip and Fall in a Casino

In a slip and fall case versus a casino located Tunica County, we were successful in obtaining an award of almost six figures for our client who slipped and fell where rain water had existed on the marble floor at the entrance of the casino.

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Legal Malpractice – Statue of Limitations Passed

In a legal malpractice case where the statute of limitations was missed by the initial attorney, we successfully settled the matter for excess of six figures.

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Toliver v. City of Clarksdale

Despite an initial police report claiming that our client was responsible for the injuries he sustained in an automobile collision, we were able to show that he was not at fault. The accident occurred when our client, Toliver, was driving through an intersection with a highway that was under construction. He was hit by an oncoming police car and suffered permanently disabling brain damage. The police report indicated that Toliver had run a stop sign, but our thorough investigation revealed that this was not the case. The stop sign, in fact, had been down at the time of the accident. The police report had been falsified to protect the officer who hit our client. We settled with the subcontractor and city ahead of time and received a jury award of $20 million from the police officer and general contractor. The judge asked the general contractor to pay $10 million, because of the officer’s inability to pay.

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Marlow v. Moore

We demonstrated that our client suffered a severe birth injury as a result of the obstetrician’s negligence. The night before the infant was born, the mother’s contractions slowed but she was left untreated by the obstetrician and his nursing staff. During delivery, the doctor’s inappropriate use of forceps left the child with arm and shoulder injuries. When the baby was born, the obstetrician refused to let the neonatal nurse intubate the child as was necessary, trying instead to do it himself. After repeated failures, he allowed the nurse to correctly perform the procedure. We were able to show that the negligence of the physician and his staff was a direct cause of our client’s permanent brain injuries. The defendants (the obstetrician and his hospital) settled for a combined $1,900,000.

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Gibbs v. Kings Daughter Hospital

Our 18-year-old client suffered paralysis and bowel and bladder dysfunction after emergency room staff failed to diagnose her arterial venous malformation. Gibbs first went to King’s Daughters Hospital emergency room with intense lower back pain. She was subsequently released. The next evening, she went to Delta Regional Medical Center, but they sent her back to King’s Daughters, where she was again released. The next night, Gibbs had numbness in her legs. Her physician at King’s Daughter examined her and released her. By the next morning, Gibbs was paralyzed from the waist down. An ambulance brought her to Delta Regional, where a neurologist finally diagnosed her paralysis and ordered a myelogram. Because he did not order the myelogram “stat,” however, her surgery was not performed for 12 hours. By then, permanent damage had occurred. The neurologist and Delta Regional settled for a confidential amount. A jury verdict against King’s Daughters and the emergency room physician awarded Gibbs $2 million.

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Heath v. State Industries, Inc.

Three-year-old Kendra Heath accidentally knocked over a gasoline container in her home’s storage room, and the pilot light in her family’s water heater caught fire. She suffered burns over 60% of her body and required extensive medical treatment, including multiple surgeries. The manufacturer of the water heater, State Industries, Inc., did not include adequate warnings about the dangers associated with gas-operated water heaters. We argued that the company was responsible for warning consumers not to place the water heater near flammable products such as gasoline and to keep it at least one and a half feet above the ground. Our clients were awarded $1.7 million dollars by the jury to which the judge added $290,000 to cover Kendra’s medical expenses.

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Chism v. Tubertini Construction Co.

Our clients sued on behalf of 17-year-old Chism, who died due to severe burns he received after putting his gas lawn mower in the storage room where his gas water heater was located. We demonstrated fault on behalf of the water heater’s manufacturer, State Industries, which failed to provide sufficient warning labels and safety instructions, the home owner, who installed the water heater in a location likely to contain gasoline and flammable liquids, and the builder and plumber, who did not take necessary safety precautions by placing the water heater directly on the floor in a room where gasoline was likely to be stored. The defendants settled for a combined $525,000.

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Prestage v. Sperry-New Holland

Our client, a 21-year-old farmer, was working on his 1969 Ford New Holland combine when an accident cost him his leg. He was using the machine to harvest and thresh wheat. In this type of combine, after the wheat is collected, the machine separates the heads from the straw and deposits the heads in a holding tank. The separation is facilitated by two rotating augers, a leveling auger and a discharge auger. They help to move the grain through the machine. At the time of the accident, the discharge auger was clogged, and our client was trying to reach a stick to fix it. As he leaned forward, however, his shirt was caught on the bolt of the leveling auger, and he was pulled down into the tank. His foot slipped beneath the discharge auger’s shield and was severely injured. He had to have his leg amputated below the knee. We argued that the combine’s protruding bolt was defective, the shields insufficient, and the manufacturer’s manual deficient in explaining how to safely fix discharge auger clogs. Although Prestage was found to be partly at fault, the jury found the manufacturer strictly liable. Our client was awarded $1.4 million, and his wife was awarded $212,250.

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Five years ago Cindy Mitchell came to my rescue! My uncle had a surgery where the doctor made some major mistakes! Many months of physical suffering and financial hardships followed. Cindy helped us get back on our feet and gain a sense of a somewhat normal life again.

– Kevin R., client

Contact Information

Merkel & Cocke, P.A.

30 Delta Avenue
Clarksdale, MS 38614

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1388
Clarksdale, MS 38614

Toll Free: (800) 844-0461
Phone: (662) 627-9641
Fax: (662) 627-3592


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