Sticking to Your Guns with Trucking Clients

SFE Attorney: Cliff J. Wilson

Plaintiff Attorney: Kenneth J, Abere Jr.

Plaintiffs Doctor: Dr. V. James Makker (no longer licensed)

City, County, State: Multnomah County Circuit Court

Claims Alleged: Personal Injury

Injuries Alleged: Back, neck, arm, shoulder, hip injuries

Admitted Liability: No

Amount Claimed: $1,063,106.00

The Overview

Following an automobile accident with disputed liability, the passenger of the other car filed suit against the driver of her car, as well as a trucking company and its driver, with a prayer for over one million dollars.  In Multnomah County Oregon, where jurors are notoriously distrustful of truckers and trucking companies, Cliff Wilson, then-associate (now partner) at smith Freed Eberhard, produced an excellent result for his trucking clients after only one day of trial.

The Background

In addition to substantial alleged wage loss and pain and suffering, plaintiff alleged medical expenses alone as exceeding $225,000, which included multiple neck fusion surgeries.  Cliff’s thorough investigation, however, uncovered a lengthy prior history of complaints similar to those plaintiff claimed to be the result of the accident.  He also uncovered that plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon recently had his medical license restricted, had his surgical privileges suspended, and had several complaints regarding unnecessary surgeries pending against him.  Additionally, Cliff uncovered prior criminal activity by the plaintiff that would have likely prevented her from obtaining the employment position she claimed she could no longer pursue due to the accident.

Plaintiffs Theme

Plaintiff attempted to win the jury over with her extensive medical treatment, how could she be lying about her injuries when she had so many “medically necessary” surgeries? Plaintiff’s strategy was simply to blame everyone else, because she was just the “innocent” passenger.

Our Strategy

Pre-trial, Cliff won motions ensuring that he would be able to present evidence to the jury of the plaintiff’s prior criminal background in order to challenge her wage loss claims, and that she herself played a substantial role in causing the accident by distracting the driver of her car.  On opening, Cliff’s succinct theme of distraction and credibility resonated with the jury both as to the actions of the plaintiff and her neurosurgeon.  Following Cliff’s cross-examination of the neurosurgeon, which effectively undermined plaintiff’s causation claims, plaintiff asked if Cliff’s client’s ‘offer to allow judgment’ was still on the table.  Cliff responded that it was, but only for a few more minutes. 

The Outcome

Plaintiff accepted, and settled for significantly less than her medical costs on the second day of trial. Cliff’s outstanding result for trucking clients in this case is an example of when valuing a case correctly and sticking to your guns can really pay off.

Read More
, 4th and 10… An Improbable Comeback Win at the Washington Court of Appeals Tuesday December 1, 2020 By: Firm Authorship
, , When to Fight Back with a Counterclaim Thursday November 19, 2020 By: Jeff Eberhard
, , , The Strategy in Jury Selection: Using Voir Dire to the Defendant’s Advantage Tuesday August 11, 2020 By: Jessica Kamish
Securing Victory Under Securities Laws Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
, Research Pays Off (to the Tune of $2.2 Million) Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Drawing the (Property) Line Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Multi-National Retailer’s Discrimination Mitigated Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Allegations of Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Employment Law Violations? Denied. Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
, , Rejected: A Desperate Attempt to Recover Expenses Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
, , An $18,000,000 Dismissal Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
, , The Early Bird Gets the Case Dismissed Friday December 20, 2019 By: Josh Hayward
Safe Harbor Letter , Preparation Always Pays off: Especially at Trial Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
, , The Case of the Mysterious Torn Medial Meniscus Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
, Hit and Run Dismissed Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
, Admitting Liability and Saving Costs Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Moreau v. Samalin , A Swift and Speedy Settlement Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Let’s talk

Tell us about your legal challenge.
Then we’ll tell you how we can help.