Willis v. Defendant Floor Covering Distributor

  • Cook County, Illinois10/01/1999
    Client: Defendant Floor Covering Distributor
    Outcome: $24 million contribution verdict in favor of the firm’s client


This case arose from the much-publicized 1996 accident on Interstate 94 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that took the lives of six children of the Reverend Duane Scott Willis and his wife Janet.

The family was in their minivan when it struck a 50-pound tail light housing that dropped from the semi-truck driven by Ricardo Guzman. The van burst into flames, and the Willis parents were burned as they unsuccessfully attempted to save their children, who burned to death.

Following a $100 million settlement of the underlying personal injury case, which included $14 million on behalf of DBMS's client, a contribution claim was tried by the floor covering distributor and the automobile manufacturer defendant against a non-settling defendant.

The resulting favorable verdict represented a 100% recovery by DBMS's client.