Mock Jury Aids in Settlement During Trial
On November 12, 2019, Scott Macdonald and Debra Braasch of Macdonald & Cody, LLP obtained a favorable settlement after four days of trial. This wrongful death case was settled for just above the final pre-trial offer and within authority. The settlement amount was less than half of the eight figure demand that plaintiff counsel said he would never accept to resolve the matter once policy limits had been demanded and said offer allowed to lapse.
The case involved the death of a Cal Trans worker. The litigation was highly emotional and the incident was the subject of publicity. The facts of the tragic incident were such that it was necessary to litigate the issue of liability as there was substantial comparative fault on the part of the decedent. The family of the decedent were a loving and tight-knit group, and the decedent was a caring and devoted husband and father. To prepare for the trial of the matter, the team from Macdonald & Cody, LLP employed the services of a company that set up a Mock Jury. Theories and defenses were well-tested in order to properly prepare the case for trial. The Mock Jury confirmed that the defense team’s determination of the case value was correct and that trial would be necessary.
At trial, plaintiff’s case began to substantially weaken. While the damages side of the case would always be sound, plaintiffs began to appreciate the real possibility that a significant finding of fault on the part of the decedent was likely. Therefore, on a Friday and after four days of trial negotiations began again in earnest. The defense team, led by Macdonald and Braasch, held to the area of the pre-trial offer and resolved the matter to the extreme pleasure of their clients and principal.