Case Study: Personal Accident / Injuries

Shooting Victim | $3.1 Million Judgment

Case Facts

On July 8, 2022, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Defendant arrived to the house he shared with our client and began drinking alcohol heavily. By approximately 10:30 p.m. that night, Defendant had become heavily intoxicated. Our client had started to fall asleep on the couch when she was awoken by Defendant kicking one of their dogs, who was trying to jump on her to get away from Defendant. Our client told Defendant to stop antagonizing the dogs and stated to him that he gets mean when he drinks. Defendant responded by calling our client derogatory names, to which our client responded that nobody wanted to be around Defendant when he drank alcohol. Defendant retaliated by grabbing her by the neck and pushing her into the couch, as if in an attempt to strangle her. Our client then pushed Defendant away from her. Defendant grabbed a filled water bottle and threw it at our client, who, in turn, grabbed the bottle and threw the water from the bottle in Defendant’s direction. Our client then told Defendant to leave the room to cool off. Defendant left the room and stumbled into the back bedroom.

Approximately five minutes after he left the living room, Defendant returned with his right hand behind his back. Defendant then proceeded to flip our client's phone out of her hand, then left again to the back bedroom.

Shortly after entering the back bedroom, Defendant returned to the living room a second time with his right hand behind his back. Our client, who was laying on the couch at the time, told Defendant to leave her alone, and that she didn’t want to deal with him. Defendant then pulled a Springfield XD .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun from behind his back, pointed it at our client, and shot her with a full metal jacketed round. The bullet entered the right side of our client's neck and exited from the rear of her right shoulder. It then proceeded to go through their couch, through their exterior wall, and into their backyard fence.

Immediately after being shot, our client screamed and tried to exit the back door of the house to find safety. However, Defendant grabbed her and attempted to drag her to the back bedroom. Our client grabbed Defendant’s cell phone from him and frantically tried to dial 9-1-1, but was unable to. She then found a way to separate herself from Defendant, ran to the corner of their living room and attempted to dial 9-1-1 from the home phone. In a panic, and unsure whether the 9-1-1 dispatcher picked up, she then ran out of the front door calling for help. Law enforcement arrived shortly thereafter, arrested Defendant and transported our client to the hospital.

Defendant was subsequently arrested, arraigned and convicted of several crimes, for which he was sentenced to prison.

Luckily for our client, she was not killed in the shooting. However, and unfortunately, she suffered significant injuries, including a gunshot wound extending from the point of entry at the right neck, through her shoulder, to the point of exit at the rear right shoulder, including significant muscle and nerve damage; adhesive capsulitis ("frozen shoulder") of the right shoulder secondary to immobility of the right shoulder and arm; and severe emotional distress.

DWC Actions

The defendant refused to communicate with our client about the damage he caused her and what he owed her as a result. As soon as our client filed for divorce, the Defendant argued that he was owed much more of the marital property than he was entitled to. Shortly thereafter, we were hired to prosecute the injury claim. We quickly filed a lawsuit, alleging assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, the Defendant absolutely refused to communicate or participate in that case despite continuing to participate in their divorce proceeding that was going on at the same time. Because of his non-participation in our matter, we moved the court to find him in "default" (meaning his notice and participation rights were limited due to his intentional non-participation), and ultimately moved the court to enter judgment against him for the harm he caused.

Key Successes

Because of our knowledge of the rights of our client and the responsibilities of the Defendant, coupled with our familiarity with the court system and its rules and processes, we successfully secured a $3.1 million judgment on our client's behalf. She can now leverage that judgment against the Defendant in her divorce proceeding, as well as against any future assets he may possess once he is released from prison.


“One cannot imagine getting shot, let alone by their spouse. The intentional harm in this case was astounding. While the Defendant thought he was smart in not participating in the litigation, presumably to stall it as long as he could, neither I nor the court had much patience for that. Thankfully, we were able to secure a healthy judgment on behalf of our client, who can now start putting the pieces of her shattered life back together. Few are more deserving than she, and I am very proud to have led the charge on her behalf.

- Tim Williams