Defense Win!
Saturday, July 1, 2023
by: Matt Wood, Law Office of Gerrit J. Ayers

Section: Spring 2023

Matt Wood from the Law Office of Gerrit J. Ayers successfully defended a GEICO insured in a long, 3+ week jury trial in King County/Kent.  The two plaintiffs invested in several experts and two trial lawyers for the prosecution of the case, led by attorney Mary Anderson.  The plaintiffs asked for $2 Million and $500,000 respectively.  The plaintiffs never made a demand for less than $450,000.  After several weeks, the jury took an hour to award just over $14,000 to the primary plaintiff/mother, and just over $12,000 to the secondary plaintiff/daughter.  Obviously, after the plaintiffs pay for their own fees and costs, neither plaintiff will receive a dime.
This case involved a rather modest, rear-end motor vehicle accident where Defendant conceded liability.  The primary plaintiff/mother had pre-existing soft tissue injuries along the spine related to a prior motor vehicle accident.  She also had started to make radicular complaints related to her upper left extremity.  Despite remaining gainfully employed as a pre-school teacher after the accident (and despite recovering from a 2019 stroke), she placed the entirety of her subjective and objective problems at the feet of the accident.  She retained a physical capacities evaluator, life care planner and a biomechanical expert (among others) to persuade the jury our client was responsible for the entirety of the plaintiff’s objective and subjective complaints, and that she would soon be unemployable.  She asked the jury for $2 Million.
The second plaintiff was a teenager who had also been involved in an accident six months before the subject accident.  She sought extensive soft tissue care after the accident.  She tried to persuade the jury that since she could not carry a full backpack, she was ostracized at school. She said she suffered daily walking up several flights of stairs at her school and refused to take the elevator because she did not want to be shamed by classmates.  She asked for $500,000.
It is hard to compress a lengthy trial into a couple paragraphs.  But at every turn, through over a dozen witnesses, Matt Wood was the most prepared attorney, the calmest attorney, and the attorney that built the most trust with the jury.  He gave the plaintiffs just enough leeway to destroy their credibility on cross examination.  He capitalized on the lack of preparation by the plaintiff’s lay witnesses.  He used the plaintiff’s experts’ prior testimony to impeach their credibility.  We also retained better experts, who were more prepared and related more effectively with the jury.
Matt Wood pitched $18,000 for the primary plaintiff/mother and $16,000 for the daughter during a tech-heavy, power-point closing where Matt allowed himself (for the first time in four weeks) to show a little emotion.  30 minutes after the jury received the case, a jury question came back asking whether they could award LESS than Matt’s recommended numbers (a credit to his credibility and rational approach in front of the jury.)  30 minutes later, the jury came back with its verdict, awarding less than even Matt recommended).
Matt Wood was ably assisted by legal assistant Anita Buchignani who went above and beyond to assist Matt in this trial.  
The case was tried in Judge Josephine Wiggs’ court in King County—Kent Regional Justice Center.