Berman & Simmons in the News, 3rd Quarter 2023

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Whether online, in print, or on TV, we’re proud our important work is routinely featured in the region’s top news forums and shared nationally. This recap of media coverage during the third quarter of 2023 spotlights the many ways in which we’re helping our clients find justice and recover fair compensation after experiencing a serious personal injury due to the negligence of

Notable Client Work

Attorney Michael Bigos and his client Deputy David Cole answer questions during a news conference.
Attorney Michael Bigos and his client Deputy David Cole answer questions during a news conference.

Firm represents Maine Sheriff’s Deputy in Lawsuit Against Sig Sauer; David Cole was hurt when his service weapon misfired while on duty 

Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy David Cole is suing New Hampshire gun maker Sig Sauer for negligence, claiming it knew its widely distributed P320 pistols were prone to firing spontaneously, yet didn’t take them out of service. Cole was shot in the leg in 2022 when his holstered pistol unintentionally fired while he and several other Sheriff deputies were attempting to serve a warrant.

Deputy Cole was hospitalized and underwent several orthopedic surgeries to treat the bullet wound. After months of medical care, therapy, and restrengthening, he is back on the job. But he is left with changed anatomy, scars, and emotional trauma – reopening some of what he experienced when his father Corporal Eugene Cole was murdered on the job in 2018. Berman & Simmons attorney Michael Bigos represents Deputy Cole, who is one of over 100 survivors of unintentional discharges in other similar incidents around the country.

Read more: Somerset County Deputy Sues Sig Sauer over Alleged Gun Misfiring |

17-year-old deceased client Michael Strecker suffered needlessly at the end of his life, eventually succumbing to heat stroke.
17-year-old deceased client Michael Strecker suffered needlessly at the end of his life, eventually succumbing to heat stroke.

Berman & Simmons files federal case against school for high school senior’s wrongful death

Michael Strecker was just 17 years old when he died during a school-organized field trip in September 2021. Berman & Simmons attorney Michael Bigos is on the legal team bringing a federal wrongful death suit against MSAD #61, Superintendent Alan Smith, and humanities teacher Jessica K. Daggett.

Read Related Story: Attorney Michael Bigos Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Attorney Bigos said: “Parents send their children into the care of a school trusting they will be safe and protected. In Michael’s case the unthinkable happened. Michael was in obvious distress when he asked his teachers for help on a class outing. Instead of getting the aid he needed, his chaperones tortured him, denying him care that led to his death. The policies and procedures of the school denied Michael his constitutional rights. To make our community safer and to protect all Maine students on outdoor experiential trips, this school, its superintendent and the teacher who carried out the inhumane policies of the school must be held accountable for their behavior.”

Read News Story: Classmate speaks out amid lawsuit over Lake Region High School student’s 2021 death.

Berman & Simmons sues Fryeburg Fair after client was seriously and permanently injured

Client Gene Miner sustained serious injuries when a harness racing gate knocked him to the ground.
Client Gene Miner sustained serious injuries when a harness racing gate knocked him to the ground.

Gene and Beverly Miner haven’t missed a Fryeburg Fair together since 1959. Last year, however, was unlike any other for the Standish couple, when Gene was seriously injured at the fair’s harness racing track. A longtime fan of the races, he was standing with a group of other fans at the rail to watch a race when the starting gate swung wide, knocking Gene to the ground. He was unconscious for several minutes and sustained a head injury and permanent arm and hand injuries. Beverly says her husband hasn’t been the same since. The former Shaw’s Supermarket meat manager now needs extra help with simple household chores. 

Attorney Dan Kagan, representing the Miners, has said that fairs in Maine “are a legacy tradition, enjoyed through generations. And like in many main attractions, while we all love them, we rely on those who organize them to present them in a safe manner. It’s unfortunate when that safety gets lax and someone gets hurt. And while we’re filing this lawsuit, we are hopeful that the folks involved in this case will work with us to come to an appropriate resolution so that everyone can move along and learn lessons of safety for the future.”

Read News Story: Maine couple sues Fryeburg Fair alleging negligence following harness racing incident

Berman & Simmons Sues Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital and Surgeon on behalf of once active Milbridge Woman for Medical Malpractice that Led to Her Permanent Impairment

Client Mary Shea was an avid prior to her botched hip and knee replacement.
Client Mary Shea underwent hip replacement to return to her active lifestyle but was left with permanent pain and disability. 

When 64-year-old Mary Shea sought hip replacement surgery in 2019 she expected to resume an active lifestyle. Instead, the Milbridge woman continues to suffer significant pain, instability, weakness, and mobility impairment due to multiple errors and negligence by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Peter Copithorne and Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital. 

In the lawsuit against the hospital and physician, attorney Elizabeth A. Kayatta enumerates the multiple junctures where Mary was failed by her medical providers, starting with the failure by Dr. Copithorne to review the correct post-operative x-rays after Mary’s surgery. Once he recognized the error two-and-a-half months later, he had missed the window for an easy fix of her post-operative complication. Instead, Dr. Copithorne followed up with invasive surgery. During that operation, he sawed through Mary’s femur and left a gap in her bone that was too large to heal postoperatively. Even after additional surgeries and extensive rehab, she was left with permanent injuries. 

Read News Story: Maine surgeon removed part of woman’s femur, lawsuit says (

Berman & Simmons files 30th childhood sexual abuse lawsuit against Maine Catholic Diocese

Working on behalf of six adults who were sexually abused in Maine by Catholic clergy, Berman & Simmons reached the grim milestone of thirty lawsuits against the Maine’s Catholic Diocese. Two of the survivors spoke publicly about their experiences in a highly emotional news conference.

Each of the 30 cases outlines the abuse of power by priests and nuns against minors across Maine. They demonstrate that the Maine diocese knew about rampant sexual abuse by its priests and other clergy for decades, chose to not stop it, and failed to warn parishioner families of the allegations.

Some of the six survivors were unable to come forward to pursue legal action until the statute of limitations was lifted in 2021; research that shows the average age for survivors to come forward is 52.

Read News Story: Maine Catholic Diocese faces 6 more childhood sexual abuse claims

Firm News and Legal Expertise

Christopher Boots Completes Leadership Academy

Attorney Christopher Boots successfully completed the Maine State Bar Association (MSBA) Leadership Academy for 2023. This accomplishment underscores Attorney Boots’ commitment to professional growth and leadership within the legal community.

The MSBA Leadership Academy is a selective program that aims to develop and enhance the leadership skills of attorneys across the state of Maine who are in their first ten years of legal practice. Through a comprehensive curriculum and practical training sessions, participants are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and strategies necessary to excel in leadership roles within their legal practices and the broader legal profession.

Nine Berman & Simmons Lawyers Earn Best Lawyers Accolades

This year six Berman & Simmons attorneys are among the The Best Lawyers in America for 2024 and three are cited as Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.

Congratulations to The Best Lawyers in America for 2024:

And Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch:

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected lawyer ranking service in the world. For 40 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the lawyers best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties.