Wednesday, September 27, 2006

First Major Trial Victory!

My first large trial took place and lasted for the last two weeks in Macomb County Circuit Court. I did the trial as the second-seat along with a Partner from the firm as first chair. The partner has excellent trial skills that I highly respect and he did a fantastic job.

This case had it all: Plaintiff's multiple claims, Our multiple counterclaims and mountains of email documents, police reports, domain names and websites.

Some things juries never see: The massive amounts of hours that go into preparation both before and during the trial. A 16 hour day was commonplace. In addition, there was lots of evidence that was not admissible at trial under the hearsay rule dealing with police reports, all of which made for very interesting reading in the case and none of which could be seen by the jury.

I handled plaintiff's expert witness on cross examination and almost got him Daubert'ed out and disqualified. But even better, I showed the jury that his value estimate was not based on any real information and he was completely speculating and far outside of his area of specialization. In fact, he even admitted that he never had spoken with the Plaintiff to get an actual estimate of the hours spent or the fact that plaintiff had always represented himself, including during his criminal preliminary examination, as a volunteer. I also did the direct exams for one of our Detectives and our expert.

After two long weeks, the jury, after deliberating for almost 4 hours, gave our side a no cause -- that we were not liable for any of Plaintiff's claims, and found that Plaintiff had committed fraud against us, but the jury awarded no damages.

I believe the main reason why we won and that we got to the right result is that the jury trusted us and saw that the Plaintiff was continually lying and being evasive thoroughout the history of the case and even during trial. This jury was sharp - very focussed even after 2 weeks of testimony and very alert for evasions. Remember - never underestimate a jury - think of it as (in this case we had a jury of 8) 8 fully functioning BS-detectors that will catch you if you lie or prevaricate.

In addition, Judge Miller ran the court like a true gentleman and distinguished jurist, treating the litigants well and respectfully, and keeping everything on schedule.

To read about the results of the trial as reported you can click here for The Macomb Daily's Report

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