Learned last week that we did not win the nomination to be a finalist in the running to be the 2019 Trial Lawyer of the Year for Public Justice. When Brad told me – he said – I know you don’t care. And he was right. Because I had given it almost no thought. It was an honor to be nominated. But our case was not the typical Public Justice type of fight. We weren’t a class action. It wasn’t about a toxic tort.
We were nominated because our $123M verdict against Ride the Ducks – was incredible and unusual. Most mass transportation torts settle. Rarely do they ever go to trial. Rarely do plaintiffs band together en mass led by…a female minority trial lawyer. And never had there been such a big (and real and collectable) plaintiffs verdict in Washington State. A jurisdiction which allows only compensatory damages – not punishment aka punitive damages.
It was a great trial. Court View Network covered the entire 4 months and ranked it as its #2 most impressive plaintiff verdict of 2019.
The top three things that I loved about the verdict:
All of our clients were vindicated in the grandest way possible by a jury that loved and cared for them. After suffering so greatly and being denigrated by the defense, each and every plaintiff left that trial knowing what full and complete justice was.
My legal team was vindicated: a) after spending three years being the primary focus of attacks by not only the defense lawyers, but some of the plaintiff lawyers who were not in our group; b) after being dumped on after a failed mediation; and c) after being dismissed by insurance executives who scoffed at our valuation of the case.
We put the Duck companies out of business: a) Ride the Ducks International closed down and sold all of its assets; and b) Ride the Ducks Seattle went bankrupt after the insurance company monies were completely used up leaving no money left for one later case that was tried to verdict.
I will never forget trying this case. Or waiting two weeks for the jury’s verdict.
Photo: Courtesy of The Seattle Times who captured this moment during the reading of the jury’s decision.