Defense Successes - Fall 2018 Edition
Section: Fall 2018

Car Accident Did Not Destroy Plaintiffs’ Marriage
Griggs v. Sheff
County – Snohomish
Defense Attorneys – Brandon Stevens, Alice Brown of Law Offices of Alice C. Brown
Plaintiff Attorney – Brian Sullivan, Melissa Sullivan of Sullivan Law Group
Last Demand  - $22,500 for each Plaintiff
Last Offer - $15,000 and $18,000
Jury Award - $5,500 and $8,500
Carrier - GEICO
This was an admitted liability car accident.  Plaintiffs sought only general damages.  Plaintiffs were rear-ended at low speed and treated over the course of 5 months with the last 3 months entirely passive treatment. Medical bills were not entered into evidence, so only general damages were at issue and decided by the jury. The Plaintiffs blamed the car accident for the decline of their marriage. Although they did separate after this accident, they are still married and were not able to prove a causal link. One Plaintiff had two significant subsequent medical diagnoses, obstructive sleep apnea, and diabetes.  Plaintiffs’ counsel attempted to suggest in closing argument that the car accident was responsible for the decline in function in Plaintiff’s pancreas.   Objections to that argument were sustained.

Dr. Jennifer James testified for the defense and one of the more entertaining moments of the trial came when Brian Sullivan’s first question on cross-examination was “So you believe you are an honest person?!”  to which Dr. James replied “Who are you? 

Although this was a general damages only case, immediately before the jury was charged, Plaintiff attempted to add lost wages into the mix. The judge seriously considered allowing the argument but agreed to exclude that damage after he was provided with Plaintiff’s discovery responses showing they were not claiming lost wages.  Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $50,000 each. The defense suggested $1,000 - $2,000 for each Plaintiff.  The jury deliberated for approximately 3 hours before awarding $5,500 and $8,500.
Defense Moves to Exclude Medical Bills With Good Results
Yermakovich v. Miller
Defense attorney: Kelsey Farnam, Moore and Davis
Plaintiff’s Attorney: Mike Myers of Mike Myers & Company PLLC:
County – King
Carrier- Progressive
Kelsey Farnam tried this case in King County District Court (East Division/Issaquah) over the course of two days in July to a 6-person jury.  Plaintiff was rear-ended by Defendant and liability was admitted.  Plaintiff treated over the course of about four months but her pain ratings were down to 1/10 by three months post-accident.  Plaintiff conceded she was resolved by the time treatment ended. Medical specials were not disputed.  Prior to trial the defense took a creative approach and paid the medical specials, then moved in limine for their exclusion at trial. As a result, only general damages were to be decided by the jury. Photos favorable for the defense were excluded as irrelevant. 

The last demand was $15k in general damages ($25k inclusive). The last offer was for $5k in general damages ($15k inclusive). 

At trial, Plaintiff demanded $100k in general damages.  Kelsey pitched $3k for a three-month STI.  In the middle of trial, Plaintiff proposed a high/low of $25k/$50k which was declined. 
The jury awarded $10k in general damages. 

Although above our last offer of $5k, the $10k awarded by the jury was nearly the amount as the pre-trial eval/autho of $8k for general damages, and was $5k below Plaintiff’s last pre-trial general damages demand of $15k. 
Defense Verdict in Admitted Liability Trial 
Sam Oh of Todd Bowers & Associates received a defense verdict in a two-day trial over and admitted liability rear-end collision.  Romanowski v. Mendyuk & James River Ins. This matter was tried before a jury over two days in King County District Court with Judge Anne Harper as the presiding judge.  Plaintiff claimed damages for loss of earning capacity as well as pain and suffering from claimed injuries of a mild concussion and soft tissue injuries to the neck, back, and arms.  The Plaintiff’s case consisted of perpetuation testimony from two treating providers and live testimony from the Plaintiff and his partner.  No medical records or bills were submitted by the Plaintiff as the claimed bills were nominal.  Defense’s case consisted of live testimony from a forensic economist and the Defendant.  The primary case strategy of defense was to undermine the credibility of the Plaintiff and his witnesses through impeachable materials in the Plaintiff’s medical records, emails, and work records.  The jury ultimately gave a unanimous defense verdict.