"We seek justice for people who have suffered from the negligence of others," says the website of Fetterman & Associates, a well-known plaintiffs' law firm in Florida. "If you are the victim of injuries . . . please contact us for a free consultation." And that consultation will be especially convenient to arrange if you were already in the law firm's conference room when you were injured.
Robert Friedrich sued the Fetterman firm after he allegedly fell and hit his head while at the firm's Palm Beach office in 2003. Friedrich had visited the firm to discuss suing somebody as a result of a car accident he had been involved in nine days before. He left with more legal options than he had come in with, because during that consultation the chair he was sitting in collapsed and he hit his head on another piece of furniture in the firm's conference room. He claimed to have suffered neck injuries for which he later sued the firm and the company from which it bought the chair. (The manufacturer apparently could not be identified.)
In May, a Palm Beach County jury found both companies liable for the conference-room chair collapse. The jury assigned 67.5 percent of the fault to the furniture store, and 32.5 percent to Fetterman & Associates. It awarded Friedrich over $200,000 for medical bills and tacked on another $2 million in what was probably some combination of pain-and-suffering and punitive damages, likely making this the most expensive free consultation Fetterman has yet provided.
In a statement, Fetterman blamed the manufacturer. "The man sat in a defective chair," the statement said. "The manufacturer should have been responsible for it entirely."