Hotel Guest Electrical Shock Case Results in 8-figure Verdict

A vacation to celebrate a milestone birthday in the iconic city of Las Vegas should leave one with wonderful memories to look back on far into the future. For the client of Maier Gutierrez & Associates, he certainly has memories, but some are not the kind a person wants, namely a 6-year legal battle and a lifetime of pain. Staying at a major Las Vegas hotel for his 30th birthday with his wife and parents was all part of the celebration, but as they prepared to leave and the client went into the walk-in closet to iron his shirt, the celebration came to an abrupt end. As he plugged the iron into the wall, he remembers only a flash of light and hitting the wall before his father found him screaming in pain on the floor. He received treatment at UMC in Las Vegas and then continued his care at the UC Irvine Burn Center upon his return to southern CA. His hand, which appeared bruised shortly after the injury occurred, later blistered, and he suffered permanent injuries to his right hand, arm, and foot as a result of the electrocution. Medical experts testified that the current entered through his right hand and went out his right foot, damaging tissues and cells along the way, and eventually resulted in a below-knee amputation of his right leg. He continues to suffer from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), as well as phantom pain in his amputated limb, and has very limited use of his right hand and arm. With many years left to work, he now cannot provide for himself and his family in his previous job as a roadside mechanic.

Maier Gutierrez & Associates took on this case earlier this year, in February, and did not have much time to prepare. This was a difficult case given how hard it was to prove the electrocution, and the hotel had preserved the wrong outlet (which they continued to deny until finally admitting the possibility in closing). Their main defense was that there was insufficient electrical current to cause the injuries and pushed that the amputation was caused by the client’s prior cancer in his foot as a child. Maier & Gutierrez worked closely with Alicia Campbell on big data focus groups, as well as with Paramount Focus Groups to help ascertain damages and ensure they weren’t asking for too much, which would be off-putting to a jury. To help support their claims, they came to Focus Graphics to create several exhibits to be used during opening and expert testimony. A combination of illustrations and animations were used to show a summary of the client’s pain management over the course of 5 years; how low voltage electrical injuries can cause internal damage; how CRPS works; and the process of inserting a spinal cord stimulator to help reduce the pain of CRPS. Photos were also used alongside illustrations to show how the path of electricity caused the external injuries and led to necrosis of the foot and the eventual amputation. These exhibits used throughout the trial – during opening, as demonstratives for the experts to explain complicated concepts to the jury, and in closing – along with the information learned from multiple focus groups, helped Maier, Gutierrez, and their team secure a verdict of close to $22M.

The team at Focus Graphics created a whole suite of exhibits that complemented each other and greatly assisted our team and our medical experts in explaining complex ideas in a very understandable way for the jury. The medical slides on how low voltage electrical injuries cause internal damage to the cells was instrumental in us making the link for the electrocution causing the below the knee amputation and CRPS. With so much riding on this testimony due to a lack of physical evidence, simple demonstratives were imperative. Focus Graphics never fails to deliver impressive visuals!” 

Attorney Joseph Gutierrez
Attorney Jason Maier

~Joseph Gutierrez, Esq. & Jason Maier, Esq., Las Vegas, NV | Maier Gutierrez & Associates


Our team of animators, illustrators and medical professionals are ready to make your demonstratives ready for your next mediation or litigation. Request a Quote or give us a call at (702) 849-0090.