Norman Wood Kendrick & Turner attorney Kile Turner recently obtained a defense verdict from a Jefferson County, Alabama, jury, in a “damages only” case where the plaintiff claimed traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome. A single verdict form in favor of the plaintiff was submitted to the jury because liability was not contested. However, in determining damages, the jury found completely in favor of Mr. Turner’s client, by returning a verdict of zero.
Mr. Turner built his theme and theory of the case around the cross examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses. Therefore, by the time the jury began their deliberations, they were very familiar with the gaps in treatment and the various inconsistencies in the medical records. This was a textbook case of consistently asserting the same theme and theory throughout trial, and resulted in a verdict that reflected exactly that.
The facts of the case were relatively simple and straightforward. Mr. Turner’s client, a local attorney, rear-ended the car in which the plaintiff was a passenger. Although she did not require to be taken to the hospital immediately after the accident, a few hours later her speech was slurred and she complained of feeling “foggy.” She was treated at the emergency room, and followed up with her doctor two days later, making similar complaints of slurred speech and confusion.
A neuropsychiatrist testified live at trial that based on his testing of the plaintiff, she suffered from post-concussion syndrome as a result of a traumatic brain injury following the accident. In a unique, strategic move, Mr. Turner did not depose the plaintiff’s expert beforehand. Instead, he determined that he did not want to lose the element of surprise, and cross-examined the expert for the first time at trial. The cross examination focused on several gaps in treatment contained in the medical records, which the doctor had not accounted for in his report. Exploiting these gaps, as well as several misstatements and snide remarks made on the stand, allowed Mr. Turner to discredit the plaintiff’s expert completely.