Jury Trial Overview, 2006-Present
A unanimous defense
verdict in the retrial of a trucking accident death case, tried in 2003 by
another law firm. Plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury for $20 million to-$80
million in punitive damages. Before trial, Plaintiff demanded $15 million to
settle, to which the defense countered with a settlement offer of $1.8
This was a wrongful death case. In addition to alleging medical malpractice,
Plaintiff alleged negligent training and supervision, and negligence per se for
a claimed violation of the Arizona Administrative Code. Plaintiff sought
compensatory and punitive damages.
decedent, a 20-month-old boy, was born prematurely and placed on a ventilator,
then underwent tracheostomy surgery. He was breathing through a tracheostomy
tube at the time of his death. A respiratory technician at Hacienda (Defendant),
working under a temporary license, was performing a scheduled replacement of the
velcro ties that secured decedent’s tracheostomy tube when the tube came out.
Despite quick reinsertion of the tube, the decedent went into pulmonary
hypertensive crisis and died.
Plaintiff Tan specifically alleged that Hacienda was negligent for not properly
training or supervising a respiratory therapist who had a temporary license. She
alleged that this lack of supervision violated the Arizona Administrative Code.
She further alleged that the respiratory therapist was negligent for not
following the proper procedure for performing a trach tie change. She also
alleged that Hacienda’s records were falsified to cover up the negligence of the
respiratory therapist. Defendant argued that both the respiratory therapist and
Hacienda met the standard of care and that a subclinical condition suffered by
the decedent, which would not have been known to Defendant, was the true cause
of his death. Further, because of the subclinical condition, the likelihood of
his death was imminent. Plaintiff asked for $6 million dollars at trial. After a
ten-day trial, the jury found for Defendant.
Plaintiff Cano alleged that Zurich acted in bad faith when it denied his
worker's compensation claim. He alleged that, by not accepting the claim, Zurich
caused a delay in medical treatment, which left him totally and permanently
disabled. The Zurich adjuster who denied the claim subsequently left Zurich's
employment and was less than cooperative in preparing for trial. She testified
that her only investigation of the claim prior to denial was some brief
telephone conversations with Plaintiff's employer on the day of the injury. The
substance of those communications was disputed by the employer. Additionally,
Zurich's expert found that some of the bases given by the claim adjuster for
denial of the claim were not valid. The adjuster later accepted the claim after
Plaintiff contested the denial, but Plaintiff alleged that he was still denied
and delayed treatment after the claim was accepted. Plaintiff sued for bad faith
emotional distress damages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Plaintiff's pre-trial demand was $2.9 million and was never reduced. After a
two-and-one-half week trial, the jury deliberated for six hours and found for
Plaintiff in the amount of $275,000 as compensatory damages and $50,000 in