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Some of Steve’s Significant Cases

Steve Magas – The Magas Firm

SIGNIFICANT CASES

Steve Magas has been practicing law since 1982.  After spending a year and a half working in the 12th Appellate District for The Honorable Richard N. Koehler, Steve started his career in private practice.  He worked for a variety of small to medium-sized law firms handling a very diverse variety of civil matters before opening THE MAGAS FIRM in 2009.  Steve also spent a number of years as In-House Trial Counsel for CIGNA Insurance, learning how insurance companies think and act from the inside!  Steve was also appointed Assistant Special Prosecutor in a huge investigation of the Hamilton County Auditor’s office which resulted in a 200+-count indictment and the prosecution and conviction of former Auditor Joseph DeCourcy on a series of felony counts.

Steve has been lead trial counsel in hundreds of lawsuits throughout Ohio.  He has tried to many cases to verdict in many counties including Hamilton, Butler, Clermont, Warren, Clark and others.  Steve’s cases have included Wrongful Death and serious injury cases involving brain damage, fractures, back fractures, disk injuries, nerve damage and more.  In addition to wrongful death and injury cases, Steve’s litigation backgaround also includes Civil Rights cases, Will Contests, Insurance Bad Faith claims, Medical, Legal and Accounting Malpractice Cases, and Trade Secret litigation.

Call [513-484-2453] or write [Bikelawyer at AOL.com] TODAY for a FREE CONSULTATION about YOUR case!

Steve’s Bike Law Practice

Steve has handled more than 250 “bike cases” – representing riders injured in crashes caused by negligent motorists, loose dogs, road or trail problems and frame or component failure.  Steve has handled cases from the most simple to the highly complex, including cases involving broken bones, scars, catastrophic loss, brain injury and death.  Steve also works as an advocate for cycling, working for free on public interest cases, lobbying and writing articles on “bike law” for numerous publications.  His “Bike Law” practice has been recognized nationally by Lawyer’s Weekly USA and locally in the Cincinnati magazine, Cincy Business magazine and the Cincinnati Post. A few of Steve’s more memorable bicycle cases are described below.

  • Tony Patrick v. Lawless, et al. – Tony Patrick was riding his bicycle in southeast Ohio with a young club rider.  They were both experienced, fit amateur racers who had ridden these roads every week as part of a regular, fast Tuesday Night Ride.  On this day, they were tired, having ridden a long ride the day before, so they let the pack go and came in on their own.  A Deputy Sheriff saw them riding into Chesapeake, Ohio and began to interact with the two riders.  There is quite a dispute, factually, over what happened.  The story was told in great detail by Bob Mionske in Bicycling Magazine’s legal blog and ended with Tony being Tasered by two different officers, attacked with a baton, arrested and charged with serious crimes.  Fortunately, the criminal case resolved favorably.  Steve represented Tony in a civil rights case filed against the arresting officers and their bosses.  We alleged False Arrest, Assault, Battery and violations of federal law stemming from the arrest and  excessive force.   After a year of discovery, we were able to reach an amicable, and confidential, settlement.
  • Doe v. ABC Bicycle Co. - Confidential Settlement – Steve was asked to represent a Florida physician who suffered a brain injury which prevented him from practicing medicine when his bike fell apart after hitting a curb.  Experts determined the frame was defective.  Steve brought in local trial counsel and was co-counsel in a products liability claim against a well-known U.S. bicycle manufacturer.  After several years of litigation a confidential settlement was reached on the eve of trial.
  • Doe v. XYZ Bicycle Co. – Confidential Settlement –  Steve was asked to represent a New Jersey rider who suffered severe facial injuries when her bike, a custom made bicycle and one of the most expensive in the world at the time, fell apart as she rode out of her driveway.  Steve worked with local counsel in product liability litigation.  Steve’s experts determined the cause to be the bike company’s use of the wrong sized head-set and the company paid a significant confidential settlement.
  • Dr. H v. ABC Insurance – Confidential settlement.  Steve represented a physician who suffered a dangerous neck fracture when a motorist pulled out of a driveway in front of him.  The cyclist required neck fusion surgery and lost several months of work from his medical practice.  The motorist only had state minimum coverage, but Steve was able to tap into the physician’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as well as his “umbrella” coverage to secure a substantial settlement that fully compensated his client.
  • Hall v. XYZ  Pizza – $250,000.00 settlement.  A 52 year old active rider was injured when an 18 year old boy driving his dad’s Ford Expedition while delivering pizza for a national chain turned left in front of him.  The cyclist’s injuries included a significant leg injury requiring surgery.
  • City of Trotwood v. Selz, Steve represented cyclist Steve Selz in a traffic case in which Selz was ticketed for “impeding traffic.”  Steve organized a very public response to the prosecution, involving the Ohio Bike Federation, publicizing the case, publishing the pertinent court documents online, including the entire trial transcript, and taking the case to the court of appeals.  [www.ohiobike.org]. An important victory for bicyclists was achieved when the appellate court reversed the conviction and held that bicycle operators have a legal right to use the roadway and can not be banned from the roads or ticketed for “impeding traffic” when they are traveling at a reasonable speed for a bicycle.  The case further serves as a model for soliciting community involvement in important cases.
  • John Doe v. ABC Corp - Steve’s client was a pedestrian, not a cyclist, this time.  A rather odd pedestrian, though.  John Doe was working for a company that had a contract to replace all the reflectors you see in freeway lanes.  He was walking from Lexington, KY to Cincinnati, OH, with a road crew, popping out the old reflectors and installing new ones.  As he bent over a pick up truck came from behind and ignored the numerous warning signs and vehicles.  The bumper of the truck struck the client’s head, causing a very serious brain injury.  The client underwent life saving surgery in Lexington then came to Cincinnati for more surgery.  The motorist only had $100,000 in coverage.  However, Steve sued the client’s employer was able to make obtain an agreement that the employer’s auto coverage would be used.  The client suffered a permanent brain injury.  A settlement in excess of $1.9 million was obtained and a trust was established to take care of the man and his family for the rest of his life.

Dog Cases

Dogs continue to be a major worry for cyclists.  Steve has handled more the 40 cases in which a dog caused a rider to crash.  Injuries typically include serious shoulder injuries, many of which require surgery.  Ohio has a GREAT dog law that holds the dog’s owner responsible even if the dog never touched or bit the cyclist, and just wanted to play.  Claims against a dog owner are typically covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies.  Steve has handled MANY dog cases in which riders suffered Fractured Clavicles, Fractured Hips, Rotator Cuff Injuries and Facial Injuries.  If a DOG caused YOU to crash, call Steve at 513-484-BIKE [2453] or write for a FREE CONSULTATION today!

Some of Steve’s Significant Wrongful Death Cases Include:

  • Estate of Larry Mugrage v. Martin, (June 16, 2008), Clermont County Common Pleas Court.  On March 16, 2006, Charles Martin had a verbal encounter with his 15 year-old neighbor, Larry Mugrage.  The dispute was over whether Larry walked on Martin’s grass.  Martin threatened to kill the boy, then went into his house, loaded a .410 shotgun with deer slugs, and sat at his window, watching Larry play basketball with his friends.  When Larry and one of his buddies started walking back down the quiet suburban street, Martin came out of his house with the gun, pointed and fired at Larry, hitting him.  Larry started to run for his life, but Martin tracked him and shot again, hitting Larry in the back and killing him. Steve represented the Mugrage family in a wrongful death case against the shoooter.  After trial, the family was awarded a judgment in excess of $3,5000,000.00.
  • Estate of Russo v. City of Cincinnati, 953 F. 2nd 1056 (U.S. 6th Circ, 1992)- Steve represented the family of a mental patient who was shot more than 20 times, and TASER-ed several times, by Cincinnati Police Officers when he refused to return to hospital after a 3-hour pass.  Steve was co-counsel for the family of the shooting victim in wrongful death claims against the officers and the City based on state and federal constitutional and civil rights claims, including excessive force and improper training.  Steve argued the case before the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and helped secure the reversal of the trial court’s dismissal of key claims.  The case later settled on confidential terms.  This 1992 case appears in many textbooks and articles on Excessive Force and Tasers.  It was one of the very first cases in the country to discuss Tasers as noted in this article on Taser.com.
  • Estate of Burress v. John Doe - A 15 year old boy and his 12 year old buddy were riding two abreast on a 55 mph country road in southwest Ohio.  An 18 yr old boy was driving up behind the two cyclists and recognized the 15 yr old from football practice.  He came right up behind them and honked the horn to startle the boys before moving over to pass.  The 12 yr old, who was hugging the white line, went right and ended up in a ditch.  The 15 yr old  but was struck by the car’s bumper as the car began its passing maneuver too close.  The boy was pitched onto the hood of the car and died from head injuries when he struck the roof before being flipped off onto the pavement.  The police told the boy’s mom that the accident was HIS fault, not the motorist’s fault.  They held the bike up to the front of the car and matched the indentations on the car to damage to the bike.  Using this “analysis” the police concluded that the boy had turned left in front of the car.  I had a world class bicycle accident reconstructionist, Jim Green, take a look at the police report and the bike.  He could tell from the rear wheel damage that the bike had been “rear-ended” BEFORE it was pivoted around and smacked the front of car as police determined.  During the trial the police officer who investigated the accident admitted on cross examination that he was wrong and that my expert was right.  Shortly after that, the case settled.

Steve was appointed as Assistant Special Prosecutor:

Insurance Law Practice

  • Steve has worked both as in-house trial counsel for a large international insurance company and as an insurance defense lawyer for an aggressive litigation firm.  He has handled fire cases, fraud cases, bad faith cases and more.  A few of his insurance law cases include:
  • Clements v. Ohio State Life Ins. Co., 33 Ohio App. 3d 80 –  Case established that an insurance agent could bind the insurance company by telling the potential insured that coverage existed.  Here, an agent told Mrs.  that she was covered.  A short time later the company denied coverage following the discovery of terminal cancer.
  • Doe v. ABC InsuranceSteve represented a local builder who purchased a dump truck on the same day as his father [who had the same name as the client] purchased the same make/model of truck.  They both had the same insurance agent and the client’s mother handled the books for both father and son, including notifying the insurer of the truck purchases.  When the client’s truck accidentally jumped out of gear and rolled down a hill, causing property damage and personal injury,  the insurer claimed it had no notice of the son’s purchase and refused to pay the claim, even though it DID have notice of the father’s purchase.  Steve was able to defend the son from numerous lawsuits and claims arising from the incident and then obtain a complete confidential settlement from the insurer covering all the claims plus attorney fees.

Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice

Steve has handled hundreds of auto accident claims and medical malpractice claims over the past 25 years and has obtained settlements and verdicts in excess of one million dollars.  He also developed significant experience handling medical malpractice claims while running the Cincinnati office of Wolske & Blue.  Some of Steve’s significant personal injury and medical malpractice cases include:

  • Silz v. ABC Insurance Co. - $1.9 Million Settlement – Steve represented a young, single father of two who suffered a severe brain injury when struck by a vehicle.  Through a carefully crafted settlement, a trust now provides money for the man’s care, and the care of his children.  The trust also bought a home for the family and the monies obtained will provide a lifetime of benefits for the injured father and his children.
  • John Doe v. ABC Hospital - Confidential Settlement.  Steve was co-trial counsel on a medical malpractice claim in which a young child with a rare neurological condition died following surgery.  The claim was that the hospital and surgical or post-surgical team failed to appreciate a change of condition that represented a cardiac event leading to the child’s death.  The case resolved for a significant confidential settlement at mediation and prior to trial.
  • Jane Doe v. ABC Hospital – Confidential Settlement.  The client, born with spina bifida, was treated for a broken leg.  A significant bedsore developed due to the hospital’s failure to regularly check on and move the young lady, whose condition prevented her from feeling the sensation of the developing sore.  A significant confidential settlement was negotiated.
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