The holidays: a time for friends and family, not to mention TVs filled with football and festive films. But if you need a quick break from the gridiron and garland on the big screen, CVN has you covered with a collection of key, verdict-turning trial highlights.
Delivering a compelling opening can be a challenge in product liability trials, where equipment specifications and similarly dry material are often central to a case. However, in openings at trial over a fatal duck boat crash, Karen Koehler artfully channeled a duck boat captain to detail her case and set the foundation for a nine-figure verdict.
While medical malpractice trials often focus on a battle of experts and complicated standards of care, sometimes an argument appealing to a jury's "common sense" can be the most effective way to turn a case. In a med mal trial over a patient’s blindness, Paul Weathington’s forceful close deftly keyed on expectations of treatment and follow-up care responsibilities to help clear a Georgia neurologist.
A prospective juror that expresses strong opinions on issues adverse to a case can be a critical landmine during voir dire. Such opinions risk swaying other members of the venire. However, during jury selection in a 2018 medical malpractice case, Nick Rowley upended a prospective juror’s pro-tort reform stance when introducing his damages claim.
The most successful defenses often go beyond simply arguing broken links in a plaintiff’s case. Typically, they also persuasively raise an alternate causation theory in which the defendant is not liable. At trial over a long-time smoker’s death, Kathryn Lehman’s closing argument masterfully employs that strategy to help clear one of the nation’s largest tobacco companies of liability.
During closings of trial against a trucking company blamed for a crash that injured a Georgia motorcyclist, Michael Goldberg and Eric Rogers teamed for a powerful argument on pain and loss that delivered an $8 million verdict on about $171,000 in claimed economic damages.
Arguing damages stemming solely from non-economic loss can be difficult: A jury has no hard set of numbers to use as a starting point in calculating an award, while surviving plaintiffs' ability to cope following an incident can be used as an argument to mitigate non-economic loss. However, in closings of a 2019 damages-only trial over the death of a Florida mother hours after childbirth, Todd Michaels secured an eight-figure win by upending a defense contention on non-economic loss.
Arguing the long-lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury at trial can be difficult. Symptoms may not be immediately and obviously visible to others, and the defense may argue that the impact of the injury is less than what the accident victim claims. But at trial in June over a traumatic brain injury a Georgia taxi driver suffered, Bethany Schneider’s vivid closing countered defense arguments on the injury's severity and won a seven-figure verdict.
Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP’s Allison Brown contended there was no evidence connecting Johnson & Johnson's talc-based Baby Powder to a South Carolina woman's peritoneal mesothelioma. Jurors ultimately cleared J&J in the case, the third cosmetic talc-related lawsuit to go to trial in the state.
Bradley Beckworth, representing the Oklahoma AG's office, delivered his closing statement in the first lawsuit in the country to go to trial over claims drug companies are responsible for the ongoing opioid crisis. Judge Thad Balkman ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay the state $572M.
Slip-and-fall cases involving a static condition often hinge on whether the condition was in plain view, and thus, what the plaintiff reasonably could be expected to see. In a trip-and-fall case involving a woman injured at a metro Atlanta jazz club, Lewis Brisbois’s Brantley Rowlen delivers a closing argument walk-through that helped clear the club against a $2 million claim.