FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2019
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
QPWB WINS DEFENSE VERDICT USING PLAINTIFF’S OWN WITNESSES TO SECURE VICTORY
“The best offense is a good defense” – Vince Lombardi
ORLANDO ― February 27, 2019 ― Michele D. Morales a partner in the Orlando office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., secured a defense verdict on behalf of a national fast-food franchisee by using the plaintiff’s own witnesses. The plaintiff, represented by the largest plaintiffs’ firm in the nation, asked the jury to return a verdict for $1,250,000. Instead, the jury returned a complete defense verdict, giving zero in damages.
Plaintiff alleged that he slipped and fell on the wet detergent in the bathroom created by an employee. The employee admitted that she caused the dangerous condition. As a result, plaintiff claimed significant orthopedic injuries.
Although the case was litigated for over two years, QPWB did not inherit the case until one month before trial. Despite the time in litigation, prior counsel did not file a witness list, exhibit list, or retain any experts. Prior counsel deposed only the plaintiff; failed to subpoena or obtain a single medical record; and stipulated to excluding evidence of all of plaintiff’s prior injuries, and any evidence of plaintiff’s prior and current medical conditions other than those alleged to have been caused by the defendant. Discovery was closed. The Court denied defense motions to continue the case. As such, Ms. Morales was forced to try a case without any witnesses, exhibits, or experts. Undaunted, the trial lawyers, supported by QPWB Stephanie Lynn McCoy, stepped into battle knowing they were facing insurmountable odds.
Ms. Morales turned the obstacle into an advantage. Through methodical cross examination of each of the plaintiff’s witnesses, the testimony became better for the defense. As an example, a disgruntled former manager admitted that he was unaware of the incident and if such an incident would have occurred, he expected that he would have been made aware. Additionally, the trial team exposed the lack of objectivity of the plaintiff’s expert who treated the plaintiff under Letters of Protection and opined that he sustained permanent injuries from the incident, despite large gaps in treatments. Finally, the cross examination of the plaintiff exposed several inconsistencies especially when coupled with the medical records. Ironically, these records were admitted into evidence by the plaintiff as Ms. Morales could not present any evidence.
In closing argument, plaintiff’s counsel attempted to persuade the jury to return a verdict of 1.25 million dollars. Ms. Morales, tapped into the jury’s likely outrage at such a number, questioning why a person with a two-year gap in treatment should become a millionaire. The jury returned a complete defense verdict in just under two hours awarding zero in damages to the plaintiff.
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Michele D. Morales, a partner in the Orlando office, focuses on premises liability, governmental/municipality liability, nursing home defense litigation and labor and employment law. She has successfully defended in all areas of tort litigation including wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases from pre-suit to trial. She obtained her Juris Doctor in 2000 from the University of Florida while simultaneously earning a Master of Health Administration.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with over 380 lawyers serving clients from 27 offices in the United States and abroad. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.