As the last words a jury hears before it enters deliberations, rebuttal closings are critical for plaintiff's attorneys. A powerful rebuttal not only blunts the most important points of a defense’s closing, but it puts an exclamation point on the plaintiff's case. At trial over a crash that paralyzed a bicyclist, Arash Homampour’s rebuttal helped key a liability verdict against the City of San Diego.
Cyclist Juan Carlos Vinolo was struck by a car driving on the wrong side of the road at San Diego’s Fiesta Island park. The 2014 crash left Vinolo paralyzed from the chest down. Vinolo claims that overgrown bushes and high berms without appropriate signage created a blind corner that caused the crash.
The defense, for its part, contends the driver who struck Vinolo was high on meth at the time and was solely responsible.
Homampour, of The Homampour Law Firm, opened his rebuttal on Vinolo’s behalf with a broadside to the defense and what he said was the implication that plaintiff had unrealistic expectations of the park.
“You want to know who wants a utopia? This man,” Homampour said, placing his hand on Vinolo’s shoulder. “He wants to turn back time and get the city to do its job [with] its property. To either shut down that road to bicycle traffic, or to do its job and make sure there [are] no blind corners and all the signs are up.
That’s his utopia. He wouldn’t be paralyzed, we wouldn’t be here if they had done their job.”
Homampour then hammered the defense for what he said amounted to pushing blame on the driver. “The legal responsibility is on the city and they’ve accepted no responsibility,” Homampour said. “All they’ve done is [argue] ‘meth,’ ‘meth,’ ‘felony,’ ‘meth.’ Like we told you from the beginning.
“They’ve accepted no responsibility for an incident that was totally preventable f they had done their job.”
Those defense contentions addressed, Homampour walked jurors through evidence he said showed either appropriate signage or removal of landscaping would have alerted the driver to Vinolo in time to stop and avoid the crash.
“Please don’t reward the city for its nonsense,” Homampour implored to conclude his rebuttal. “Please don’t reward the city for its attempt to trick and confuse you.”
Jurors found the city 27 percent liable, setting up a potential eight-figure trial on damages.
Not a subscriber?