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Willie Gary is renowned for his electric openings that pull jurors to the edge of their seats, and his opening statement in a wrongful death trial over a physician that crashed into the back of a landscaping truck followed that standard, setting up a seven-figure verdict.
In a compelling closing argument 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.
As critical as a well-prepared closing is, sometimes the moments with the biggest impact are delivered as a counterpunch to a remark by opposing counsel. That’s how James Butler framed the 60 seconds of silence during rebuttal argument at trial against Chrysler over a fire that killed a toddler.
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.
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.
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.
Mark Lanier's masterful opening at trial against J&J over the cancer 22 women say they developed because of the company's talc products laid the foundation for a massive verdict against the consumer products giant.
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.
Defense attorneys in medical negligence cases must often overcome jurors’ natural tendency to engage in hindsight bias when they consider a doctor’s care. At trial over the communication and treatment surrounding a Florida woman’s ectopic pregnancy, Louis La Cava’s closing on staff expectations and an artful warning on hindsight bias helped clear the doctors that treated her.
|Watch| How Jonathan Gdanski Helped Secure an 8-Figure Verdict in Tobacco TrialA vivid analogy can be a powerful way for a jury to connect with an argument. In the punitive phase of a 2019 trial against the nation’s two biggest tobacco companies for the death of a Florida smoker, Jonathan Gdanski outlines a hypothetical teacher-student discussion to drive home the point of civil punishment, and helps deliver an 8-figure verdict in the case.|Watch| Steve Vartazarian's Closing Seals $4.5M Verdict in Bellwether Hip Implant Trial
In the first lawsuit involving Wright Medical's hip implants to go to trial, Steve Vartazarian uses his closing to attack Wright's argument that his client, Alan Warner, had enough information to give consent for surgeons to replace his hip with Wright's "Profemur R" artificial implant. Warner's implant snapped while he stood at the kitchen sink, allegedly after being weakened by a laser etching technique that made it more susceptible to failure.
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.
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