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Michael Nelsen v. Hillyard, Inc., et al.

Press Release – Record $21 Million Verdict for Iraq War Veteran

October 16, 2009

A San Bernardino, California jury returned a record verdict on Friday afternoon, October 16, 2009, in an automobile accident case of over $21 million ($21,067,093.53) in favor of a 29-year-old, single Iraq War Navy veteran, Michael Nelsen of Orange County, California against Hillyard, Inc., one of the largest distributors of cleaning equipment and supplies in North America.  Mr. Nelsen was represented by Los Angeles trial lawyers Panish Shea & Boyle LLP (Brian J. Panish and Spencer R. Lucas were trial counsel).

On August 17, 2007, a Hillyard driver negligently rear-ended the vehicle in which Mr. Nelsen, then 27, was a passenger.  Mr. Nelsen’s vehicle was traveling at a speed of approximately 15 miles per hour when it was struck by the Hillyard van traveling at 80 miles per hour.  As a result of the impact, Mr. Nelsen sustained numerous fractures, including a broken femur, and suffered a stroke resulting from blood clots that developed as a result of his injuries.  The stroke resulted in permanent brain damage of 2/3 of the left side of his brain.

Mr. Nelsen, who had previously completed two tours in Iraq with the United States Navy, was a talented and creative artist who was studying at the California Art Institute at the time of the collision.  As a result of his devastating injuries, he will require 24-hour care for the remainder of his life.

“This verdict will allow Michael to get as close as possible to living the life he deserves,” said lead trial counsel, Brian J. Panish.  “The verdict will free up time for his family members who have been so dedicated to caring for him since the accident,” Panish added.  “The family wants to thank Judge Brian McCarville and the people of San Bernardino County for giving them a fair and just trial,” Panish said.

This is the second recent case for an Iraq war veteran by Panish Shea & Boyle.  The firm obtained a $13.5 million settlement for Army Chief Warrant Officer Juan Beltran who was injured on a maintenance test flight in Tikrit, Iraq.

Michael Nelsen v. Hillyard, Inc., et al., Case No. CIVSS 800884

Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Bernardino

The Hon. Brian S. McCarville, presiding

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