Last week a very fine Syracuse New York medical malpractice lawyer, and a friend of ours, took a medical malpractice trial to verdict. His proof had gone in well. The malpractice seemed obvious, the harm horrendous. The jury seemed receptive. After his brilliant summation, the defendant’s malpractice insurance offered $800,000 to settle.
The plaintiff refused to take it. It wasn’t enough. The judge thought the jury was on plaintiff’s side. He told the insurance defense lawyer he should try to get more money to settle. The judge clearly felt the jury was going to come back with an even bigger verdict. The insurance carrier wouldn’t budge. So the jury did what a jury does, and came back with a verdict.
They found plaintiff had not met her burden of proving the doctor committed malpractice. That meant a zero-dollar verdict for plaintiff. The plaintiff had given up $800,000, confident that the jury would compensate her with twice that amount, and instead got the rug pulled out from under her.
Upstate New York is a famously tough venue for medical malpractice cases. Juries up here tend to side with the doctor far more often than with the plaintiff.
But our friend has kept his sense of humor despite this gut-wrenching result. This is what he emailed us shortly after he took the verdict: “Don’t try a medical malpractice case in upstate New York unless you have a video of the doctor shooting heroin while cutting off the wrong leg with a chainsaw”.
Gallows humor is the only known antidote to a lousy verdict. Always keep a sense of humor and you can’t go wrong. We are proud of our friend for doing a great job, and taking a lousy result with dignity and grace.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central & Syracuse NY Medical Malpractice Lawyers Michaels & Smolak, P.C.