Complete Defense Verdict - Rejected Tender - Polk County

Orlando Partners Mike Merrill and Scott Shelton recently received a complete defense verdict in Polk County in a rejected tender case for Farmers.

The case involved a 24-old college graduate who was allegedly side-swiped by Defendant’s vehicle while she was heading to work where she was employed as a dolphin trainer. The impact totaled Defendant’s vehicle and caused significant damage to Plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff began treatment with a chiropractor later that same day and was then seen by a pain management doctor where she underwent numerous injections to her neck and back. 

Plaintiff’s past medical expenses were not significant (approximately $30,000) but Plaintiff’s doctor testified her future medical expenses would be in excess of $800,000. During closing, Plaintiff’s counsel left it up to the jury to decide Plaintiff’s pain and suffering but argued it should be significant given Plaintiff’s life expectancy.

The defense disputed who was responsible for the accident and told the jury it was Plaintiff’s fault.  We also argued Plaintiff’s causation arguments were inherently biased due to letters of protection and Plaintiff not being forthcoming about her accident history. The defense did not call either of its retained medical experts.   

After less than two hours of deliberating, the jury returned a complete defense verdict in favor of the Defendant.  Prior to trial the carrier had offered extra-contractual money and the client was also willing to make a personal contribution.  Now the defense will potentially pursue its fees and costs from the Plaintiff due to an expired PFS. 

Special thanks for our Miami colleague Max Zaitz who worked up the case to make this result possible.

Our team is available to discuss the topics written here and ready to provide additional information contained in this article. Contact us for more information.

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