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MSZL&M’s Cross-Examination Secures Verdict for National Retail Store

Jury Awards Only 25 Percent of Final Settlement Demand

MSZL&M Partner Louis Hockman recently secured an outstanding verdict for a national retail store when a jury awarded the plaintiffs roughly 25 percent of the plaintiffs’ final settlement demand (and approximately 40 percent of the lowest settlement recommendation made by the trial judge).

In this action, filed in Philadelphia County, the injured plaintiff tripped and fell in a parking lot and sustained a serious neck injury requiring cervical fusion with a subsequent revision.  At the time of trial, a third surgery was scheduled.   The plaintiff alleged permanent injuries to his neck, back and shoulder and his wife sought loss of consortium damages.

The plaintiffs had three children under the age of 12 and the plaintiff’s wife was working two jobs at the time of the incident.  The jury awarded the plaintiffs a damages award of only a fraction of the plaintiffs’ last settlement offer and the injured plaintiff’s wife was awarded no money for her loss of consortium claim.

The injured plaintiff claimed a significant loss of future earnings, alleging that he was being groomed for a high level position within his company as part of a “succession plan.” His supervisors testified that, as a result of his accident, he would no longer be promoted to this position. Plaintiffs’ vocational expert estimated his lost future earnings to be at least half of a million dollars and up to one and a half million dollars.  

However, the jury rejected this testimony and awarded no compensation for lost earnings capacity.  Mr. Hockman’s cross-examination of the plaintiffs’ vocational expert highlighted the errors in the plaintiffs’ vocational expert’s analysis and showed the speculative nature of the expert’s conclusions.

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