One year after joining Berman & Simmons, Charles “Chuck” Hehmeyer wins the biggest ever award by a Maine Lawyer in another state’s court.
Berman & Simmons attorney Charles “Chuck” Hehmeyer made history this month with a unanimous $25 million federal jury verdict in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of a motorcycle driver who was catastrophically injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer. This is a record-high award for a Maine attorney trying an out-of-state case.
The verdict in the case of Sweigart v. Voyager Trucking Corporation, et al., was delivered November 4, after a two-week trial in which a surgeon testified that the motorcyclist suffered the worst injuries he had ever seen a person survive. One of the jurors fainted and had to be removed from jury service after seeing professional medical illustrations of the injuries.
While Hehmeyer is a new Maine resident, he has collaborated with Berman & Simmons for over 15 years on a variety of complex medical malpractice and personal injury cases, all instances where people’s pain and sometimes death could have been avoided. He built a reputation as a leader in the field by securing many seven and eight-digit settlements in birth injuries and other cases where children have been seriously injured from the inferior hospital or medical treatment. Those awards help children receive the best treatment and care for the rest of their lives. As the only attorney to regularly represent families across the country who have a child with a metabolic disorder or a congenital metabolic defect, he helped facilitate important improvements in newborn care and change newborn screening practices across the United States.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chuck on the largest and most complex medical malpractice cases in Maine and achieving extraordinary results for our clients,” said Berman & Simmons Managing Director Craig Bramley. “I was delighted when Chuck told me that he wanted to move his family to Maine and join our firm. He has integrated into our firm better than I could have imagined, bringing his wisdom and tenacity. Having seen how he devoted himself to this record-breaking case to achieve this incredible result makes me even prouder to work with him.”
Hehmeyer and his family moved from Philadelphia to Maine a year ago, part of a steady migration of professionals coming to the state during and since the covid pandemic. As a nationally acclaimed legal expert in personal injury and medical malpractice Hehmeyer had the option of moving his practice anywhere. He chose to join the accomplished team at Berman & Simmons, the largest personal injury firm in Maine with 20 lawyers and over $1.35 billion recovered for clients.
The verdict comes on the heels of a unanimous $5 million Cumberland County jury verdict in September obtained by Berman & Simmons attorney Travis Brennan on behalf of a Bowdoinham man who nearly died due to a negligent medical misdiagnosis, and the 2021 settlement for Larry Lord, who was burned in a Farmington, Maine, gas explosion in 2020. That case was resolved without trial for an undisclosed sum.
In another nationally significant truck crash case, Berman & Simmons attorneys Jim O’Connell and Alicia Curtis represent the family of a Woolwich, Maine, man who was killed by a delivery driver working for an Amazon subcontractor. In both the Sweigart and Amazon matters, Berman & Simmons lawyers are working to assure that large companies who engage underinsured, fly-by-night carriers cannot shirk their responsibilities to injured motorists by asserting that their drivers are “independent contractors.”
“The legal minds at Berman & Simmons are unmatched. Couple that with a firm culture focused squarely on compassion, client advocacy, and a determined pursuit of justice, along with best-in-the-nation resources, I am extremely happy to call Maine my home,” Mr. Hehmeyer said.
Hehmeyer is currently collaborating on a variety of cases with his peers at Berman & Simmons with a focus on being a champion for people who suffered harm that should have been avoided to help them regain control of their lives.