FindLaw Newsmaker Profiles - John Edwards
JOHN EDWARDS
Democratic Candidate President, 2008

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The Thomson Legal Record for John R. Edwards
Providing the complete litigation record for John Edwards
Born: June 10, 1953, Seneca, South Carolina
Occupation: Director of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Prior Occupations: U.S. Senator, North Carolina
Trial Lawyer
Education: B.S., North Carolina State University, 1974
J.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1977

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Major Cases Litigated by John Edwards:
The charts below contain a selection of the multi-million dollar cases litigated by John Edwards during his legal career, including personal injury & product liability cases, medical malpractice cases, and motor vehicle injury cases.
PERSONAL INJURY & PRODUCT LIABILITY CASES
Beyond representing clients in routine personal injury cases, Edwards developed a specialty in swimming pool injury cases. In one case involving a 5-year-old girl who was disemboweled by suction from a pool drain, the jury awarded her $25M, the highest personal injury award in North Carolina history at the time.
Case Summary of Facts Case Type Result
Lakey v. Sta-Rite Industries
(Wake Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1996)
5-year-old girl was disemboweled, but survived, after being caught and suctioned by wading pool's defective drain. Despite 12 prior suits with similar claims, manufacturer continued to make and sell drain covers lacking warnings. Product
Liability
$25M
settlement
Passe v. General Transport Systems, Inc.
(Wake Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1997)
850-lb. box delivered to attorney's home, fell on him breaking his back, causing paraplegia, and confinement to wheelchair. Negligence $4M
settlement
Weckbacher v. J.B. Hunt Transport
Servs., Inc.
(U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D.N.C. 1997)
33-year-old died during rescue attempt after head-on pickup–tractor-trailer collision. Settlement included worker's comp claim. Wrongful Death $3M
settlement
Buck v. Atlantic Veneer Corp.
(Carteret Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1987)
Worker fractured both ankles, jaw, and skull after fall from 24-foot scaffold in defendant's plywood plant. Premises
Liability
$2.3M
verdict
Morgan v. Southeast Jurisdictional Admin.
Council, Inc.
(Wake Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1988)
14-year-old girl rendered quadriplegic from neck injury resulting from improperly supervised dive into shallow end of defendants' pool. Premises
Liability
$875K
settlement
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES
Another specialty Edwards developed was in medical malpractice cases involving problems during births of babies. According to the New York Times, after Edwards won a $6.5M verdict for a baby born with cerbral-palsy, he filed at least 20 similar lawsuits against doctors and hospitals in deliveries gone wrong, winning verdicts and settlements of more than $60M.
Case Summary of Facts Case Type Result
Griffin v. Teague, et al.
(Mecklenburg Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1997)
Application of abdominal pressure and delay in performing c-section caused brain damage to infant and resulted in child having cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia. Verdict set record for malpractice award. Medical Malpractice

$23.25M
verdict

Campbell v. Pitt County Memorial Hosp.
(Pitt County, NC, 1985)
Infant born with cerebral palsy after breech birth via vaginal delivery, rather than cesarean. Established North Carolina precedent of physician and hospital liability for failing to determine if patient understood risks of particular procedure. Medical
Malpractice
$5.75M
settlement
Wiggs v. Glover, et al. Plaintiff alleged infant's severe cerebral palsy was caused by negligent administration of pitocin, failure to use fetal monitor, or timely intervening in baby's fetal distress. Medical
Malpractice
2.5M
settlement
Cooper v. Craven Regional Med. Ctr., et al. Infant suffered severe brain damage after obstetrician failed to moderate use of Picotin after baby displayed clear fetal distress. Medical
Malpractice
$2.5M
settlement
Dixon v. Pitt County Memorial Hospital
(Pitt County, NC)
Birth-related injuries including cerebral palsy and mental retardation allegedly caused by obstetrician's failure to diagnose fetal distress, including umbilical cord wrapped around baby's neck prior to delivery. Medical
Malpractice
2.4M
settlement
Sawyer v. St. Joseph's Hospital Doctor prescribed drug overdose of anti-alcoholism drug Antabuse, resulting in permanent brain and nerve damage. Medical
Malpractice
$3.7M
verdict
Estate of Fuller v. Mazzaglia 38-year-old female committed suicide after psychiatrist discontinued suicide watch. Medical
Malpractice
$2.3M
verdict
Allen v. Bostic
(Forsyth Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1991)
Doctor's delay and failure to properrly treat 45-year-old's severely lacerated foot ultimately required amputation of foot three years later. Medical
Malpractice
$.6M
settlement
MOTOR VEHICLE INJURY CASES
Another specialty Edwards developed was in motor vehicle accident and injury cases involving tractor-trailers.
Howard v. Collins & Aikman Corp.
(NC Superior Ct., 1990)
Suit against trucking company by estate of man killed by company driver, arguing that company acted recklessly in paying drivers by the mile, thereby encouraging unsafe conduct. Truck
Accident
$6.5M
verdict
Kim v. Poling & Bacon Construction Co., Inc.
(Wake Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1992)
Head-on car-truck collision injured 5 in car, including 7-year-old who suffered fractured skull and massive brain injury Truck
Accident
$5.9M
settlement
Casey, et al. v. Fredrickson Motor Exp. Corp.
(Buncombe Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1991)
Part-time employee suffered severe brain damage after vehicle collided with defendant's semi-truck. Truck
Accident
$4.5M
verdict
 
Newsmaker Profile:
As a veteran trial lawyer, John Edwards brings to his Vice Presidential candidacy years of legal experience honed in personal injury cases in state and federal courts. Until he graduated law school at the University of North Carolina, he explains in his autobiography The Four Trials, "[t]here were no lawyers in my extended family. There were millworkers, grocery clerks, ministers, Marines, boxers - but not lawyers." When he was eleven years old, Edwards wrote that he wanted to be a lawyer "to protect innocent people from blind justice the best I can." Edwards pursed this vision trying to live his life by righting wrongs, captivated by television shows like The Fugitive and Perry Mason. Twenty-seven years after he passed the bar exam, Edwards' track record as a litigator remains remarkable: according to North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, he obtained verdicts and settlements for his clients totaling more than $175 million over his career.
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News and Commentary:
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