The Trial: Willetts v. Acton
The Attorney: Jay Eidex (Sharon W. Ware and Associates), for the defense.
Defending a negligence case becomes more difficult when your client has broken a law in the events giving rise to the suit. Determining how much fault to admit and the best way to mitigate the appearance of that fault are often critical to the case's outcome.
In Willetts v. Acton, a personal injury case covered by CVN Local, Leslie Willetts sued Jay Eidex's client John Acton for injuries Willetts sustained when Acton's car struck hers. Complicating matters for Eidex was the fact that Acton was cited for DUI in the crash.
Eidex picks his battles early in his opening statement. He admits to Acton's DUI and contrasts the circumstances surrounding the citation (Acton's family problems prior to the accident and his subsequent rehabilitation efforts and sobriety) with what he describes as Willetts's relatively minor injuries. It's a delicate balance to make your client appear sympathetic while ensuring that you don't seem insensitive to the plaintiff's injuries. In this case, Eidex's deft opening statement laid the foundation for the jury to award no damages to Willetts, despite finding Acton at fault.
View Willetts v. Acton on demand.