A case involving an intervening cause raises an added challenge to a plaintiff's attorney: convincing jurors to look beyond the most obvious defendant responsible for an accident and instead link a plaintiff's injuries to actions that may have occurred weeks, months, or years earlier. This is particularly true in cases claiming a corporate defendant's decisions led another, unrelated defendant to cause an accident. In Young v. Nyberg, et al., Marc Matthews delivers a closing argument that convincingly completes the link between a construction company's alleged breach of safety standards on a roadside utility project and a fatal car crash.
In 2009, a Chevy sedan driven by Roger Nyberg struck a Buick driven by Allen Young, sending Young and his car into a concrete pole being used on the project. Young suffered severe neck and spinal injuries and died three years later. His son, Timothy Young, sued Nyberg and others, including L.E. Myers, the company that oversaw the construction project.
At trial, Young's attorneys argued Nyberg would not have struck the concrete pole if L.E. Myers had closed the lane of traffic closest to the work. In closing arguments, Young's attorney, Marc Matthews, walked jurors through evidence of lane closure requirements he claimed L.E. Myers ignored to save money. Acknowleding that Nyberg was the direct cause of the collision, he urged jurors to look beyond Nyberg and hold the construction company responsible for the collision that killed Young. Comparing the the project to a death trap, Matthews told jurors, "In the end, Mr. Nyberg just sprung the trap. He didn't set it. That trap was set when the lane wasn't closed. The company (L.E. Myers) set that trap, and they made money in the process."
Matthews' closing sealed the connection for jurors between Young's death and L.E. Myers. And, it ultimately paved the way for an $11 million verdict, including $9.8 million in punitive damages against the contruction company.
Not a subscriber?