The Nevada Accident & Injury Law Blog describes how a Nevada Jury Awards Las Vegas Man $60 Million:

A federal jury in Nevada last week awarded $60 million to a Las Vegas man who alleged Paul Revere Life Insurance Co. and the Unum Group denied in bad faith his claim for disability benefits.

This is one of those “be careful what you wish for” cases. In a previous trial, a jury awarded Plaintiff $11.6 million but it was overturned on appeal. So the case was tried again and the second jury awards five times what the first jury awarded.

I see that a lot, particularly in tort cases with verdicts over $1 million, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

At a tort (negligence, malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, wrongful death, etc.) trial, the defendant usually holds most of the cards. They generally know which stones you overturned on discovery and which ones you did not, and they know which evidence that you have his most embarrassing and which evidence you do not have is most absolving.

More importantly, they were there. They really know what they did and did not do, and what they were thinking when they did it, and they certainly know what they intend to say.

It does not matter how many depositions you took — you could have had people testifying for days — and how much written discovery you collected, trial will still be full of surprises. Even if no new facts are revealed, you will see facts presented in a new light, often at odds with the light they were presented in pleadings and during discovery. (And you will have to quickly react to this new version of the truth: don’t even try to argue to the jury that a fact was "presented in a different light during discovery.")

Trial makes the defendant show their cards, clearing away their natural advantage in a tort suit. You will see the strongest defense arguments and the most favorable defense evidence. More importantly, while you can always run a mock jury and see how neutral non-lawyers react to your evidence, you will never get a chance, pre-trial, to practice cross examining a defendant to see what evidence makes them squirm, babble, or obviously lie. A deposition will give you hints, but it will never show you what will really make a defendant fold or what they’ll do when the chips are down.

 

My view is that these big cases aren’t 50-50 or longshots, they’re slam dunks if you have all the evidence, know where the defendant wants to go, and know where the defendant doesn’t want to go. That’s how a "big" verdict becomes a "blockbuster" verdict the second time around.

If you have been seriously injured, contact a personal injury lawyer.