A recent case decided by a jury, but overturned by a judge shows how important process can be in a personal injury, or other case that goes to trial. The hallmarks of successful litigation are experience, knowledge of the rules, and deliberate application of the rules to the facts and situations at hand. Any slip up and an opposing party can make you pay for the mistake.
This is what happened to a man’s estate and family who had filed a lawsuit against a tobacco company for wrongful death. Even though the trial was successful and was heading in the direction of a victory, a slip up caused the entire process and all the work put in up to that point to be reversed.
What Happened in This Case
This case was another successful claim made against a tobacco company for the untimely death of the victim who used their product for decades. The decedent in this case smoked cigarettes for most of his life, but in the end succumbed to cancer and died. The man’s family brought a lawsuit against the tobacco company for the damage they caused.
Like so many victims of the tobacco industry from decades ago, this man began smoking long before it was a fact that tobacco consumption causes cancer. In addition, within the claims made in this man’s suit, the tobacco companies knew, and know that their product is dangerous to those who consume it, yet continue to put it in the stream of commerce. With all of this in focus, the lawsuit began.
The case failed to be settled prior to trial, and it was taken to the jury to decide who was at fault. As with every trial, each side was given the opportunity to present their evidence and at the conclusion of it all the jury decided for the man’s estate and survivors. Before the jury brought back its verdict, both sides were allowed to make closing arguments to the jury. According to the story, the plaintiff’s lawyers made inappropriate comments to the jury in those closing arguments. Despite this, the jury brought back a verdict for the man and his survivor for millions of dollars. But that was not the end of the case.
The tobacco companies in this case asked the judge to overturn the verdict, based entirely on the comments made in the closing argument, and the court agreed with their argument. The rules of procedure in these cases requires attorneys to only argue evidence, and not make emotional appeals to a jury that are not based on what was heard in the trial by both parties. Violating those norms can lead to disastrous results for victims, as was the case here. Now the case has to go back to trial, and the process started all over again.
Panama City Area Accident and Injury Attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident in the Panama City area, contact us. At The Pittman Firm our practice is dedicated to helping those injured by negligence recover for their pain, suffering, and other damages related to the negligence. We are dedicated to the process and will work to help you get the results you deserve.