Monday, January 26, 2009

Another successful trial!

I am pleased to report a positive trial result Arne Cherkoss and I achieved in Jefferson County two weeks ago. The case involved a car collison where liability was denied. The facts are these:

Our client was driving her small pickup on Highway 26. She drove slowly from Dover Lane, which is the road from which she turned onto Highway 26. She was hit from behind at 60 miles per hour as she attempted to make a left turn into a driveway. When the police arrived, they found her turn signal still activated (the defense attorney argued that it was either turned on as Defendant attempted his pass, during the crash, or after the crash, though there was no evidence of this). Indeed, the evidence proved that our client had functional brake lights and left turn signal. It further proved that she activated her turn signal at the appropriate distance, stopped to allow traffic to pass, then attempted her left turn.

The defendant further claimed that there was no oncoming traffic, and that our client never stopped, but rather, was driving 20 miles per hour the entire time. He testifeid that, as he sped up to 60 and attempted to pass, our client suddenly turned left in front of him. While we didn't believe that the defendant (a truly nice gentleman) was lying, we do believe that he was remembering things differently than had actually occurred. Indeed, he was 89 years old at the time of trial, and in such bad health that his testimony had to be videotaped. We feel that his age may have played a part in his memory, as he remembered many other things differently than the police officer had noted (such as the weather, time of day, persons at the scene, who said what, etc.).

The defense attorney hired a doctor to testify against our client. However, upon my careful cross examination, the doctor admitted that our client had suffered all of the injuries she claimed in the lawsuit! As it turns out, the defense attorney didn't provide him with all of our client's medical records. Further, the defense attorney hired a private investigator to literally hide in the bushes for 4 days and videotape our client. However, when the played the video in trial, all they could show was 15 mintues of our client doing exactly as her doctor had told her!

Thankfully, we were blessed with a very smart and attentive jury. We also had a wonderful judge, and the defense attorney was a true gentleman to boot. The case was tried from beginning to end in two days, with very little disagreement between the attorneys. In the end, the jury came to a reasonable verdict. We are told that it is one of the largest civil jury verdicts in Jefferson County in years. We were also told from the judges that they were pleased with the outcome, and felt that the jury did right by our client.

Hat’s off to Arne Cherkoss, who did very well in his fourth jury trial with our firm. He took notes for me in jury selection, and made important decisions in that process. He also handled the direct tesimtony of all of our witnesses, other than the police officer and our doctor, which I handled myself. He gave an excellent closing argument, while I handled the rebuttal. It is because our firm's team approach towards handling and trying cases that we can achieve such results. In the end, we were relatively pleased with the process and outcome all the way around.

- Tim Williams

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