Mr. Burnett is a cum laude graduate of Knox College, a fine liberal arts college in Illinois. He then attended Case Western Reserve School of Law, from which he obtained his juris doctorate.
Mr. Burnett began his legal career as a Marine officer assigned as a criminal defense attorney and attached to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. In the very first case assigned to him, instead of negotiating a plea agreement, he took the case to trial, obtaining a "not guilty" verdict from a jury for a Marine Gunnery Sergeant accused of illegal drug use. Within a short period of time, Mr. Burnett began to handle the most serious cases at Camp Pendleton, including a national security case for which he needed to obtain a top secret security clearance before he could even speak with his client about the charges. He left active duty holding the rank of Captain and attained the rank of Major during his service as a reservist.
Following his time as an active duty Marine officer, Mr. Burnett began to handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. He has worked on "both sides of the fence", representing doctors and corporations accused of negligence resulting in catastrophic injury and wrongful death, as well as plaintiffs for these same types of claims. A skilled trial advocate, he has taken 46 cases to verdict. The cases set forth below represent a sampling of the types of cases in which Mr. Burnett has been involved and his results:
- Represented the family of a fifty-seven-year old restaurant owner whose interventional cardiologist failed to detect and timely intervene to repair a perforation of his left anterior descending artery that occurred during stent placement. This resulted in a condition known as cardiac tamponade, which caused the patient's heart to stop beating and he died. The case resolved for confidential amount.
- Represented a young boy for his eye doctor's failure to detect and timely correct amblyopia, resulting in legal blindness in one eye. With significant allegations of parental negligence, this matter resolved for a confidential amount.
- Represented the mother of a deceased infant in which the obstetrician failed to detect and treat maternal hypertension during her pregnancy, resulting in stillbirth. This case resolved for a confidential amount.
- Represented parents In a premises liability case in which they placed a crib for their infant in the only place most suitable in an apartment bedroom, which was beneath a window with a venetian blind. The infant became entangled in a blind cord, resulting in death by strangulation. With significant allegations of parental fault, the matter settled for a confidential amount.
- Prosecuted case against an obstetrician and a hospital for failure to timely detect placental abruption/fetal distress and timely intervene via C-section, resulting in cerebral palsy and moderate mental impairment. The jury awarded $15,000,0000 for the child and $2,0000,0000 for the parents. A post-trial Motion for Pre-Judgment Interest resulted in a judgment of $32,000,000. The case resolved for a confidential amount after oral argument in the appellate court.
- Represented children in cases in which delivery was complicated by a shoulder dystocia (a difficult delivery because the infant's shoulder becomes stuck as he/she travels down the birth canal) and in which physicians failed to manage the dystocia within the standard of care by pulling hard on the head during delivery, resulting in brachial plexus injuries, which in turn resulted in various degrees of permanent paralysis to the infants' arms. These cases resulted in confidential settlements.
- Represented a commercial truck driver for post-traumatic stress disorder sustained when a motorist intruded into his lane of travel, causing him to veer to his left to avoid a collision and then attempt to get his rig back into his lane of travel. After avoiding the collision, the driver was unable to prevent the rig from tuning onto its side and sliding into a wall adjacent to the highway. After the rig collided with the wall, the driver was trapped in his seat for about ninety minutes. During this time, the driver smelled the overpowering odor of diesel fuel, which had spilled onto the highway. Aware of the very real threat of a fire from the spilled diesel fuel, he valiantly and steadfastly maintained his composure until rescued. A previously very active, bold man, the driver became virtually housebound secondary to post-traumatic stress disorder. The jury awarded him $2,368,000.
- Represented a man for soft tissue injuries sustained when a driver negligently drove her car into the car in which his wife was sitting while he was leaning into it and handing her mail. As a result of injuries sustained in the collision, he was unable to interact with his many grandchildren as he had before the collision. The jury awarded the seventy-five-year-old man $243,000.
- Represented a patient on whom a general surgeon performed unnecessary hiatal hernia surgery, resulting in numerous complications. Trial went to verdict and the jury awarded plaintif $150,000.
- Represented a woman whose neurosurgeon failed to detect evidence that an aneurysm in her brain was about to burst, which resulted in a catastrophic brain bleed. The matter resolved for $3,600,000.
Mr. Burnett is a frequent lecturer on trial advocacy techniques as well as on the prosecution of personal injury, wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. An enthusiastic outdoorsman, he has been active in Project Healing Waters for years, an organization dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing.