Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Double-Rear-End Collision Isn't As Bad As It Sounds

            Recently, Associate James Buck took an otherwise hopeless situation and intentionally placed it in the hands of a Baltimore City jury, and with good result.  The facts of the case are relatively simple.  The Plaintiff was the lead car, the Co-Defendant was the next in line, and the RSRM client was last in the chain.  The Plaintiff sued both Defendants, and chose the Circuit Court for Baltimore City as the venue, despite the fact that all of the "players" lived in Anne Arundel County, and the accident occurred within a stone's throw of the county-city line.  This tactical decision by the Plaintiff was most likely made based on the City's long history of large jury awards.

            The Plaintiff filed a complaint for $250,000.00, and alleged that one or both of the Co-Defendants caused his vehicle to strike the Plaintiff's in the rear, which resulted in serious and permanent injury.  What the Plaintiff failed to take into consideration was the fact that the "impact" resulted in NO property damage to any of the vehicles involved, that the injuries allegedly sustained were quite obviously, if at all, from a previous accidental injury, and that the Plaintiff's own medical records were literally fraught with inconsistencies.  On the stand, under cross-examination, the Plaintiff fell victim to his own medical records, and the jury was quickly turned against him.

            Closing argument was only needed for the highlighting of these inaccuracies and inconsistencies, and the case was left for the jury.  Despite an excellent effort on the part of Plaintiff's counsel throughout the case, and certainly in closing argument, the jury nonetheless deliberated for 22 minutes before returning an outright defense verdict as to both Defendants.

            At the end of the day, although not one, but two, parties caused their vehicles to impact the rear of the Plaintiff's vehicle, that fact alone was not enough to turn the jury in favor of the Plaintiff under scrutinizing cross-examination, which revealed a significant number of inconsistencies in the Plaintiff's own testimony and records and, perhaps more significantly, revealed the rather disagreeable personality of the Plaintiff, himself, on the stand, before a jury.

Article contributed by Thomas Neary

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