How do you tell a jury to put a dollar figure on damages beyond medical expenses and lost paychecks? Nicholas Rowley’s closing argument on the value of life set the stage for an $8.3 million verdict to the family of a Vietnamese immigrant killed in a deadly collision with a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority vehicle.
Xian Lin, 56, died following a rear-end collision on an L.A. freeway with an MTA vehicle in May 2014. The MTA vehicle, driven by Craig Pound, was allegedly travelling about 66 miles per hour just before the wreck.
To close the three-day trial on damages alone last March, Rowley, of Carpenter, Zuckerman and Rowley, emphasized the depth of non-economic loss the family suffered by their patriarch’s death. “The life now that they have because of the MTA’s negligence doesn’t include the love, companionship, comfort, [and] care when it comes to that patriarch, that man,” Rowley told jurors.
Noting Lin’s culture placed central importance on the companionship and leadership Lin provided his family, Rowley said Lin’s loss stretched across the generations. “When I talk about [Lin’s] grandson, it’s because it is relevant, it does have bearing on the companionship that he had yet to give to his daughter, to his wife, to his son; if his son is worthy of being a man to marry,” Rowley said. “In their tradition, in their culture, you’ve got to have the ability to be that patriarch, to be that man worthy of marriage. Not just someone who shows up in the country, and you’re lost and you’re still trying to figure out what the signs say.
“You’ve got to be able to be that protector, to be that leader.”
Rowley's closing argument helped seal a 9-3 jury verdict awarding $8.28 million in non-economic damages and another $75,451 in medical costs.
The powerful close in Lin is one in a string for the attorney. Rowley recently made headlines by donning a chicken outfit during closings at trial of a school district accused of responsibility for the beating of a student dressed as a chicken at a football rally. That closing helped secure a liability verdict against the Kern County School District, which ultimately settled the claim for $10.5 million.
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