Settled Down

Published May 11, 2012

The personal injury trial took a week, but the jury deliberated for just four hours. The case involved a plaintiff who fell from an ambulance and suffered a brain injury.

Lawyers for both sides were certain the verdict would go for the defense. “I’ve got to get this kid something,” the plaintiff’s lawyer was thinking. He had asked for millions from the jury, but settled for $350,000 just before the jurors were to announce their verdict in open court.

When the lawyers talked to the jurors afterwards, they said they were going to award the kid $9 million. At that point, “all hell broke loose.” The plaintiff’s lawyer was yelling in the hallway and yelling in the courtroom. He tried to get the judge to call the jury back and announce the verdict. “It was chaos.”

Later, the plaintiff’s lawyer claimed he didn’t have authority from his client to settle the case and asked for a new trial. “I made a mistake,” he said. A decision by the court is pending.

Source: Scott Graham, “Jury, Interrupted: Judge Wrestles with Lawyer’s Costly ‘Mistake,'” The Recorder [California], April 20, 2012