The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position after a jury verdict for plaintiff. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this bus accident/brain injury case and its proceedings.)
Well, this temporary job, to go through all these things, being in a coma, don’t go home, live in a rehab facility, have folks tell you when to get up, when to go to bed, going through all sorts of therapies, do that for almost two years, what would be a – what would be a fair hourly rate if you have to put in a classified ad to get one person to sign up, if you could, what’s an hour worth?
[” But think again about the classified ad. Classified ad: full-time job, thirty years plus, sign up today, sign up today, and you will be expected to do the things that [plaintiff] has had to go through and will have to go through the rest of your life. How many people would sign up for that? “].)
Counsel’s argument was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to ask each juror personally what he or she would expect as compensation for plaintiff’s injuries. Indisputably, counsel’s statements amounted to an improper golden rule argument that prejudiced the defense. Defense counsel objected to the improper argument, but the trial court overruled the objection.
In failing to sustain the objection and admonish the jury to disregard counsel’s argument, the trial court permitted the jury to consider this argument and place themselves in the shoes of the plaintiff rather than impartially weighing the evidence. The jury, wrongly encouraged by plaintiff’s counsel to view themselves as personal partisans of the plaintiff, responded by awarding $15.1 million in non-economic damages. The argument by plaintiff’s counsel set forth an improper way for the jury to measure the non-economic damages in this case, and resulted in the jury awarding excessive pain and suffering damages. (See Part 8 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.