In a tragic accident, ten-month-old Chivas Frechette fell out of an unscreened second-story window and suffered severe injuries. He was hospitalized for more than three months at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. For six weeks of that period, he was in a coma and fed through a tube that was run through his nose and into his stomach.
His mother, Melissa Frechette, realized that her son would end up with massive medical bills and would need enormous financial support. She turned to Hupy and Abraham in Milwaukee to win that support for her child, and we assembled a team headed by Attorney Michael F. Hupy that included attorneys, paralegals, and investigators. We examined and photographed the scene of the accident and talked with potential witnesses.
Our investigation revealed that the landlord had failed to put a screen on the window despite numerous requests by Mrs. Frechette. Next, we did legal research to discover if a landlord has ever been held responsible for such an accident. What we found was just the opposite of what we hoped: several previous court cases ruled that a landlord has no responsibility for such an accident. This put us in a very difficult legal position. In order to help little Chivas, we had to win a type of case that no other law firm had ever won. We enlarged our team to include engineers, economists, vocational experts, and doctors in order to build a winning case for Chivas.
Shortly before the trial, the judge made it even tougher for us: he ruled that even though the landlord had violated a local ordinance by not installing a screen, we could not tell the jury about this violation of the law. The judge stated that the purpose of the local ordinance was keeping insects out of the Frechette apartment, not keeping people in.
We kept fighting for Chivas and on the eve of the trial, a settlement was reached. It took tough lawyering, but the landlord’s insurance company agreed to pay Chivas Frechette $1.4 million. The child is now provided for and a great burden has been lifted from his family’s shoulders.
Remember: lawyers are here to help. At Hupy and Abraham, we will do everything we need to in order to successfully represent you and your case.