It can be difficult to effectively argue the value of circumstantial evidence to jurors accustomed to television courtroom dramas that contain "smoking-gun" direct evidence in a case. However, during closings of Araujo v. Eisner, Morgan & Morgan's John Dill uses a "rainy day" analogy to argue the strength of the circumstantial evidence at issue in his medical malpractice case.
Dill represented Jorgina Araujo, who claimed an embolism during her 2011 hysterectomy led to a stroke that left her partially blind. In the medical malpractice trial against the procedure's anesthesiology team, Dr. Tatiana Eisner and Heidi Aleman-Ortega, Dill presented circumstantial evidence of malpractice, which included Araujo's claims of partial blindness after the procedure and a single, arguably questionable entry on Araujo's surgical records. By contrast, defendants claimed that it was impossible for Araujo to have suffered a stroke during the procedure.
Without "smoking gun" proof tying the stroke to the defendants' care, Dill analogized the circumstantial evidence at trial to hearing thunder just before a person comes inside the courtroom, drenched and carrying a wet umbrella. Even if the person that has just entered denies that it's raining, Dill says, the circumstantial evidence is enough to prove that it's likely raining outside. Similarly, Dill explains, the circumstantial evidence at trial is enough to establish the defendants' negligence, despite their denials.
It's an analogy that paints the power of circumstantial evidence in terms a jury can understand. Dill's closing ultimately helped lead the parties to a settlement as the jury worked through a second day of deliberations.
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