|VIDEO| How Nicholas Maniotis' Challenge to Plaintiff's Credibility Cleared State Farm in Rollover Crash Case

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Dec 3, 2021 4:38:58 PM

A plaintiff’s credibility can often be the central issue that turns a jury verdict. During closings at trial over a Florida rollover crash, Nicholas Maniotis delivered a forceful challenge to the plaintiff’s credibility and set up a defense verdict.

Michael Thompson was struck by another vehicle while driving a pickup truck for his employer in 2019. The collision rolled the pickup onto its hood and sent it into a utility pole. Thompson filed suit against State Farm, his employer’s insurer, claiming the crash left him with a herniated disc in his back and a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. 

But Maniotis, of Flanagan & Maniotis, and State Farm’s attorney, argued that Thompson actually injured his knee before the accident and that he exaggerated his back injury. And during closings, he made Thompson’s credibility a focal point of the case. 

Maniotis spent much of his closing walking jurors through Thompson’s testimony, highlighting statements he said were inconsistent with medical records and post-accident reports. For example, Maniotis reminded jurors of post-accident documents showing Thompson didn't complain of knee pain immediately following the crash. “Where’s the knee that’s supposedly shredded in two?” Maniotis asked.


By contrast, Maniotis pointed to medical records that showed Thompson sought treatment for knee problems well before the accident. Importantly, Maniotis told jurors, those records stood in stark contrast to Thompson’s testimony that he had never suffered serious knee problems before the crash. 

That inconsistency was one of many in the case, Maniotis told jurors as he highlighted testimony that he argued did not align with medical documents.

And Maniotis pushed back against any implication that the inconsistencies stemmed from Thompson’s confusion or failure to remember. 

"If you don’t know the answer you don’t just make up an answer. You say I don’t know,” Maniotis said. “And when you make up an answer and say things that are false, you know what that does? It destroys your credibility.”

Maniotis argued that the inconsistencies surrounding his knee were like rotten meat in a stew, rendering all of Thompson’s claims questionable. 

“One rotten piece of meat will spoil the whole stew,” Maniotis said. “You put the rotten piece of meat in the stew, you throw the whole stew out.”

Jurors ultimately cleared State Farm of liability, finding the accident did not cause Thompson’s injuries.  

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Topics: Thompson v. State Farm