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$40 Million Verdict for Nick Rowley and Team

August 12, 2015

Trial Guides author Nick Rowley, along with lawyers Keith Bruno, Angela Bruno, Steve King, and Trial Guides coauthor Steve Halteman (trial consultant) obtained a record $40 million verdict. The $40 million verdict was in noneconomic damages for the death of thirty-three-year old Orlando Jordan. His parents were the plaintiffs. The case involved the stabbing and killing of Mr. Jordan by an underage drinker. Rey and Carmen Jordan sued TGI Fridays and the Riverside restaurant’s operator, New Jersey-based Briad Group, arguing that the employees there knowingly served alcohol to intoxicated minors, including one of their son’s attackers. Rowley represented the decedent’s mother, with Keith Bruno representing the decedent’s father. Angela Bruno co-tried the case for the father and handled his direct examination and multiple issues throughout trial. Patrick Logan handled the visuals and Steven Halteman worked as a jury consultant and trial strategist. Attorney Steve King played an important part by trying the entire case representing a cross-defendant. California law gives legal immunity to bars and restaurants that serve minors, except when they’re obviously drunk. “We were able to prove that the minor was already obviously intoxicated at the time they served him,” Rowley said, adding that the minor ordered the equivalent of twelve servings of alcohol in thirty minutes. The family’s allegations were supported by TGI Friday’s head bartender who testified that Briad Group, which operates sixty-eight of the restaurants across twenty-six states, made a deliberate decision to not card minors in order to increase profits on Fridays and Saturdays. After the verdict, most of the jurors stayed to speak with the counsel for .. Read more

Define Foundational “Human” Issues to Win Your Case
by Mark Mandell

July 8, 2015

If you want to succeed in trial, then you have to find the reasons that will make your juries care. To do that, you have to identify the I just can’t get over issues in your cases and structure your arguments around them. This article gives examples of how Mark Mandell, Inner Circle member and past AAJ (then ATLA) president, applies these vital issues to build the foundations he uses to frame and win his cases: From Mark Mandell: I first came up with the phrase, I just can’t get over after a medical negligence case I tried in July 2010, involving multiple claims of wrongdoing against a foot surgeon. The following are a few key facts from the case: No up-to-date pre-op x-rays were obtained of the foot in question before the surgery. The last previous x-rays taken before the surgery were sixteen months old. The incision made at surgery was too short and too low in the foot. This created difficulty in visualizing the operative field. The surgeon removed both sesamoids from underneath the right big toe without a good reason for doing so. As a result, the plaintiff developed a claw toe and other problems. Informed consent and medical battery were also issues the jury resolved in the plaintiff’s favor. For this case, we convened a number of pretrial focus groups. The group members were highly critical of the defendant’s choice not to order up-to-date pre-op x-rays. His excuse had been that he had enough other evidence that the x-rays would not have made any difference in his surgical plan. During .. Read more