Client returned to her rented home after work one evening when she was caused to slip on an ice patch that formed on her driveway due to a leaky external faucet by the driveway. The defense argued that the plaintiff’s failure to see the ice. Prior to my involvement, the offer was $135,000 for a serious knee injury requiring surgery against a final settlement demand of $750,000.
Afraid of the defense’s argument, I helped Marc Diller I coached reframe the case around the “why”. Why was the ice allowed to form in the first place?
Focusing on the why enabled the attorney to recognize that the landlord failed to properly winterize the property. Carefully crafted discovery and deposition questions revealed that the landlord in fact fully winterized her own home and did not do so for the 5 rental properties she owned.
While the defense focused exclusively on the plaintiff’s failure to see the ice, the jury heard how the ice never would have been there had the landlord cared for the properties she rented and received revenue from in the same manner she cared for her own properties.
At trial, the jury found the landlord 100% responsible and issued a verdict for $1,650,000. I further assisted the attorney on post-verdict negotiations related to bad faith positions taken by the defense lawyer. The case settled 4 months after the verdict for $2,400,000.
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