DRI Member John B. Stewart Secures Win in Negligence Case
Following a five-day trial and 90 minutes of deliberation, a federal jury sitting in Boston answered “no” to the first jury verdict question whether the defendant snow removal contractor was negligent, ending the case. The defendant was represented by John B. Stewart, of Murphy|Stewart|McCarthy, P.A., in Springfield, MA. The case was Nadeau v. Hunter Lawn Care, LLC, Civil Action No. 20-cv-11167-ADB.
The Plaintiff had sought personal injury damages for his broken ankle, and loss of consortium damages on behalf of his five-year-old son. Before trial, the parties had mediated the case through the court mediation program with a U.S. Magistrate Judge, but that proceeding ended with the parties far apart. Trial took place between May 10-15, 2022.
In Plaintiff’s opening statement, counsel said she would return at closing argument and ask for an award of $300,000 to $500,000. This presented a dilemma, since objecting would draw more attention to this, along with the attendant costs of being seen by the jury as trying to keep something from them. An admonition of counsel by the Court, it was thought, would do more harm than good. A mistrial motion was unlikely to be well-taken. Eventually, a defense motion to prohibit the Plaintiff from asking for a specific figure in pain and suffering damages based on Davis v. Browning-Ferris Indus., Inc., 898 F.2d 836, 837-838 (1st Cir. 1990), or to make a per diem or other mathematical formula argument, make personal opinion or golden rule arguments, was brought to the Court, which ruled counsel could not make those sorts of arguments in closing.
DRI Member and Traub Lieberman Partner Lisa Rolle Obtains Complete Defense Verdict and Dismissal in Favor of Motor Carrier Company
On October 6, 2022, following a seven-day trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Traub Lieberman Partner Lisa Rolle obtained a complete defense verdict and dismissal in favor of a Motor Carrier Company (the “Company”) and its employee, a tractor trailer driver (the “Driver”). The Plaintiff claimed injury on November 20, 2017 when an 18-wheel tractor-trailer owned by the Company and operated by the Driver made a left turn in front of Plaintiff at the intersection of 116th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan. As a result of the accident, Plaintiff claimed to have sustained injuries to bilateral knees, neck, and back, which required four surgeries: left knee arthroscopy, right knee arthroscopy, two level cervical fusion, and single level lumbar fusion. The Plaintiff claimed more than $1.5 million in medical expenses. Following a seven-day trial, an eight-person jury unanimously found that the Driver was not negligent. The settlement demand before trial was $3 million. The offer was $300,000.
Jackson v. Crete Carrier Corp. and Michael Garner SDNY 20-v-01269 Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang