TRIAL VICTORY — “Defense Verdict Obtained In Admitted Liability Case


Senior Litigator, Harold W. Potter, obtained a defense verdict on May 4, 2015, on an admitted liability case.  The jury concluded the accident did not cause plaintiff’s injuries and damages.

The lawsuit stemmed from a multi-vehicle accident caused by an on-duty police detective driving an unmarked city owned vehicle.  The city admitted liability, but challenged the nature and extent of plaintiff’s damages.

By way of background, plaintiff served a Demand to Exchange Expert Witnesses.  The defense complied, but plaintiff did not comply as they believed they were not required to do so, since the defense did not make a similar demand.  The law requires a simultaneous exchange by all parties once a single party makes the request.

The law provided for exclusion of all experts at trial where a party fails to properly serve a designation of experts, like plaintiff in this case.  The defense filed a motion to exclude all of plaintiff’s experts, which was granted by the trial court judge.  Without experts, plaintiff could not establish that her alleged injuries were caused by the accident.  It was fatal to her case.  Plaintiff filed a Writ in the Court of Appeal challenging the trial court’s decision.  The Court of Appeal denied the Writ.

Plaintiff’s opening demand was $180,000.00, which was lowered to $45,000.00, after the trial court denied her motion to file a late designation of expert witnesses.  After the Court of Appeal denied plaintiff’s Writ, a lower demand of $18,000.00 was made.

In a close decision, the jury found by a vote of 9 – 3, that plaintiff failed to establish causation for her injuries and damages.  As the prevailing party, the public entity, we will be filing a cost bill to recoup their statutory costs of approximately $3,500.00.  It is very rare when a defendant admits liability, but walks away paying nothing.