CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Geordan Logan delivering his closing argument
Las Vegas, NV - A Nevada state court jury has awarded more than $14 million to a cyclist struck by a driver for a Las Vegas gentleman’s club, and the full trial was recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.
The Clark County jury returned their verdict on May 25 in a trial that kicked off on May 17.
Plaintiff Thunder Roybal sued Louis Bellomo and SHAC LLC, which operates the Sapphire Gentleman’s Club, following a 2016 accident that resulted in four major surgeries to treat crush injuries to his shoulder, neck and chest.
The defense argued Roybal’s supposedly unsafe behavior caused the accident, that not all his surgeries were directly related to injuries sustained in the crash and suggested he may have staged the accident, but the jury rejected those positions and assigned Roybal zero liability for the accident.
Gavel-to-gavel of the full trial, including all witness testiony, is available with a subscription to CVN’s online trial video library, which features hundreds of other civil jury trials highlighting top plaintiff and defense attorneys from throughout the United States.
After the trial attorney Sean Claggett of the Claggett & Sykes Law Firm told CVN that the defense made no settlement offers whatsoever throughout four years of litigation, until they eventually offered $500,000 midway through the trial.
Claggett said the referring attorney initially offered to settle the case for $1 million, and the rejection of that offer may serve as the groundwork for a bad faith claim by Sapphire against their insurer, Berkshire Hathaway-owned National Indemnity Company.
“There’s some tough questions that the adjuster is going to have to answer,” Claggett said.
Attorneys for the defense did not respond to a request for comment.
Claggett’s team asked for $18 million at trial, but he said the award still surpassed the $12 million that his pre-trial focus groups and data analysis predicted.
Claggett described his work with jury consultant John Campbell of Empirical Jury and noted their big data analysis of the case (the subject of an upcoming book) indicated an 86 percent likelihood of a plaintiff verdict.
The verdict breaks down to roughly $2.13 million in past medical expenses, $3 million for past pain and suffering and $9 million for future pain and suffering.
Claggett cited his client’s in-person testimony as one of the key factors in persuading the jurors. He described how the defense frequently mentioned Roybal’s opiate use in an attempt to tarnish his credibility, but Claggett said jurors told his co-counsel after the trial they were unconvinced.
“When Thunder took the stand it was clear he was not who they were trying to portray him as,” he said.
Claggett said he knew heading into trial that Roybal’s opiate use would factor heavily in the trial, but he urged younger attorneys not to shy away from so-called “bad facts.”
“Look, our client used a lot of opiates, and we had to own that fact,” he said. “A lot of times young attorneys get scared of bad facts. You have to address them.”
Claggett also said the jury responded poorly to defense arguments that Roybal himself lied about the circumstances of the accident in order to collect damages, characterizing the position as “ridiculous.”
“The defense went for an all out win,” he said. “They wanted to tell a story that this was a staged wreck and none of the evidence pointed that at all.”
“All the evidence pointed to the simple fact that the defendant was an inpatient angry driver who ran over a bicyclist,” Claggett emphasized. “It was that simple.”
Roybal was also represented by Geordan Logan of Claggett & Sykes.
The defense was represented by Justin Zarcone of Winner Booze & Zarcone.
The case is captioned Roybal Roybal v. Louis Bellomo & SHAC LLC, case number A-18-778040-C in Nevada’s 8th Judicial District Court in Clark County.
E-mail David Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org