Willie Gary is renowned for his electric openings that pull jurors to the edge of their seats, and his opening statement in last month’s wrongful death trial over a physician that crashed into the back of a landscaping truck followed that standard, setting up a seven-figure verdict.
William Donley, 60, a South Florida physician known for his house calls and volunteer work around the world, died when he crashed into the back of a parked landscaping truck while on a long-distance bicycle ride in August 2011.
In his opening, Gary, from Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watkins & Gary and representing Donley’s widow, Latricia, told jurors Donley, an avid cyclist, crashed into the landscaping crew’s partially obscured truck while it was illegally parked in a bicycle lane. “These defendants sit there, 12 o’clock, in the shade, distorted perception like you wouldn’t believe, and they had lunch, blocking the sidewalk, blocking the bicycle lane. They had no respect for the law,” Gary said. “They brag about it!”
Gary, who highlighted Donley’s attention to detail over his decades as a doctor, argued the landscaping crew, and not inattention on Donley’s part, was to blame for the accident. “He was a stickler for details. There’s no way on God’s earth that he would have just driven into the back of the truck,” Gary said. “No way.”
Gary’s powerful opening helped set the stage for a $3 million verdict, although jurors found the doctor 70 percent liable for the collision, likely reducing the final award.
Email Arlin Crisco at [email protected].
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