Huge Verdict for Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn on December 20, 2012 - And the Story Behind It

Huge Verdict for Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn on December 20, 2012 - And the Story Behind It

 Posted by:    Mar 05, 2013  


On December 21, 2012, Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn began the first of three successful jury trials that were tried within a month of each other. Each trial ended with our clients receiving a huge verdict. Like each client, every case is unique and we cannot promise that your case would end the same way. The following is the story of Todd Spoelstra.

On September 29, 2011, Mr. Spoelstra, a 53 year old resident of South Dakota, traveled to Denver to visit some friends. Mr. Spoelstra grew up in Colorado and has several friends that live here. Mr. Spoelstra arrived in Denver by airplane late on a Thursday night. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Spoelstra was on the road in a rental car heading to a friend’s house to spend the evening. Mr. Spoelstra’s plans were derailed that night when he was rear-ended by a drunk driver named Heriberto Alamillo.

Mr. Alamillo was a 60-year-old male who had lived in the United States for more than 20 years. After colliding with Mr. Spoelstra’s vehicle, Mr. Alamillo attempted to flee the scene. Fortunately, the police arrived just as Mr. Alamillo began to flee and his vehicle stalled, effectively preventing his escape. Mr. Alamillo had an auto insurance policy with State Farm. Not surprisingly, Mr. Spolestra found that it was very difficult to deal with the folks at State Farm.

Days after the car accident, Mr. Spoelstra returned to South Dakota and was seen promptly by an orthopedic surgeon because Mr. Spoelstra was suffering from severe shoulder pain. Within a month, Plaintiff underwent surgery on his shoulder to repair a left rotator cuff tear that was caused by the motor vehicle collision with Mr. Alamillo.

Mr. Spoelstra hired Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn to represent him and we were soon able to question Mr. Alamillo as to what exactly he was doing on the night of the rear-end collision. We learned that Mr. Alamillo began his drinking binge around 5:00 p.m. when he arrived home from his job as a supervisor on a landscaping crew. Mr. Alamillo admitted that he drank six Corona Beers at his home before leaving for a bar located at I-70 and Smith Road.

On his way to the bar, Mr. Alamillo stopped at a liquor store to pick up a twelve pack of Coronas. We were surprised when Mr. Alamillo admitted that he drank one Corona after another as he drove to the bar. Mr. Alamillo arrived at the bar around 8:00 p.m. and stayed there until just before 1:00 a.m. At the bar, Mr. Alamillo continued to drink Coronas. By all accounts, Mr. Alamillo drank anywhere between 19 to 21 Corona Beers between 5:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. Shortly after leaving the bar, Mr. Alamillo caused the collision with Mr. Spoelstra. Nearly two hours after the accident, Mr. Alamillo’s blood alcohol content was a .218.

Prior to trial, we attempted to reach a settlement with State Farm Insurance Company for Mr. Spoelstra. Mr. Alamillo had an insurance policy with State Farm for $100,000 worth of coverage limits. We were surprised when State Farm refused to pay any more than $62,000 to settle Mr. Spoelstra’s claims. Because Mr. Spoelstra’s medical bills from the collision were nearly $40,000, the idea of settling for $62,000 was unacceptable for Mr. Spoelstra and our office. State Farm took such a stingy position in settlement negotiations because there had been a run of cases in Colorado where juries had not awarded significant money to victims of drunk driving. Consequently, State Farm felt that Mr. Spoelstra’s case would be a good test to see if a Denver jury would care about the injuries and losses suffered by an out-of-state resident like Mr. Spoelstra at the hands of their intoxicated insured.

On December 17, 2017, I began the trial of Spoelstra v. Alamillo with my law partner, Ethan McQuinn, in the Denver District Court. The trial lasted four days. At the end of the trial, the jury awarded Mr. Spoelstra $39,000 for medical expenses, $130,000 for non-economic damages (pain and suffering), $126,000 for permanent physical impairment, and $150,000 in punitive damages. Factoring in an interest rate of 9%, Mr. Spoelstra’s verdict is in excess of a half million dollars.

CONCLUSION:
Mr. Spoelstra had the courage to stand up to State Farm, a large insurance company, and tell them that drunk driving is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by the citizens of Colorado. At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we applaud Mr. Spoelstra for having the courage to allow us to put everything on the line to tell his story and to ask a jury for justice on his behalf.

This is why the jury system is so important. State Farm was gambling that Denver, Colorado citizens would not give full and fair compensation to Mr. Spoelstra, but they were wrong. As a juror, you hold the power to set community safety standards, because next time, it could be you or your family that is injured by a drunk driver. The jury system is what keeps insurance companies from unilaterally deciding the value of your harms and losses. We hope that Mr. Spoelstra’s story will encourage other victims to stand up for their rights.









Current Post Comments


Quick & Easy Contact

Are You a Robot? - Help

Review Us Online

Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on Google Plus
Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on Facebook
Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on Lawyers.com
Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on Yelp
Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on AVVO
Talk to Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn Past Clients

Firm Associations

  • Featured in Super Lawyer Magazine
    Featured in Super Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent Rating 2017
    AV Peer Review Rated
  • Colorado Supreme Court
    Colorado Supreme Court
  • AVVO Rated Law Firm
    AVVO 10.0 Rated Law Firm
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
    Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
  • Colorado Bar Association
    Colorado Bar Association
  • National Trial Lawyers
    National Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice
    American Association for Justice
  • American Institute of Legal Counsel
    American Institute of Legal Counsel
  • Find Law
    Featured on Find Law
  • ASLA
    American Society of Legal Advocates
  • CATL
    Class Action Trial Lawyers Association
  • Rue Rated Attorneys
    Rue Rated Attorneys
  • Justia
    Justia Member
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forums
    Million Dollar Advocates Forums
  • lawyers.com
    Featured on www.lawyers.com
  • NAOPIA
    National Academy of P.I. Attorneys
  • NOLO
    NOLO
  • hg.org
    Featured on www.hg.org
  • Top American Lawyers Association
    Top American Lawyers Association
  • Best Law Firms of America
    Best Law Firms of America
  • Trial Masters
    Trial Masters Member

Blog Post Archive

INJURY LAW UPDATES

Captcha Image
Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn
5613 DTC Pkwy #150 Greenwood Village , CO 80111
Phone: (303) 782-9999

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Copyright © Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn | By +Chad Hemmat | Denver Accident Injury Attorneys | Personal Injury Blog | About Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn | Privacy

Anderson Hemmat Logo

Secure Client Area Login




Lost your password? Click here to reset it...

Anderson Hemmat Logo

Reset Your Password