Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Recent Defense Verdict

Here is an excerpt of an October 23, 2012 Pennsylvania Law Weekly write-up by Ben Present on a recent defense verdict of mine secured earlier this month in a Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas motor vehicle accident matter:




Lackawanna County Courthouse

Jury Sides With Defendant in Disputed Collision

Eisbacher v. Davidson Defense Verdict

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Date of Verdict: October 5.

Court and Case No.: Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas NO. 10-CV-3348.

Judge: Judge Robert A. Mazzoni.

Type of Action: Personal injury.

Injuries: Cervical sprain, lumbar sprain, and a left knee injury.

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Defense Counsel: Daniel E. Cummins, Foley, Comerford & Cummins, Scranton, Pa.

Plaintiffs Experts:  Dr. Hans P. Olsen IV, orthopedic surgery, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Fran Terry, vocationalist, Clarks Summit, Pa.

Defense Experts: Dr. Thomas A. Allardyce, orthopedic surgery, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Dr. Jasen Walker, vocationalist, Valley Forge, Pa.

Comment: A Lackawanna County jury has sided with a defendant after both [an independent witness] and the woman suing him alleged the [Defendant] ran a red light in their Halloween collision four years ago.

Defense attorney Daniel E. Cummins said the case turned on several inconsistencies between plaintiff Jessica Eisbacher's deposition testimony and her statements to the jury. ********

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According to pretrial pleadings, Eisbacher v. Davidson was a "classic 'he said vs. she said' scenario."

According to the court filings, Eisbacher crashed into Davidson in the middle of an intersection in Scranton.

But during the four-day trial, Cummins said, he caught [the Plaintiff] giving several inconsistent statements, which the attorney thought turned the case. First, in her deposition testimony, Eisbacher said she didn't look both ways before she entered the intersection. In a pretrial mediation memorandum filed by Davidson, the defendant argued that because Eisbacher stated she looked straight ahead, she violated state law requiring drivers to be aware of their surroundings.

But "come trial time, she said, 'I looked both ways and didn't see anything,'" Cummins said.

At her deposition, Eisbacher said she was going 20 miles per hour, which Davidson questioned in pretrial court filings given the damage to each vehicle.

Eisbacher's attorney, Michael J. Pisanchyn Jr., was not available for comment.

Davidson was the chief financial officer of a local Goodwill Industries company at the time of accident, according to Cummins, and was driving back from making a bank deposit for work.

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Eisbacher's insurer, Geico Indemnity Co., was a silent defendant, meaning the insurance company would not appear or be mentioned at trial. However, if the jury had sided with the plaintiff, she could possibly collect the [$15,000] in [UIM] limits for which her policy allowed.

Davidson's insurer, State Farm, offered to settle for $10,000.

According to a joint pretrial order, the plaintiff's case rested on the theory that it was Davidson, in fact, who blew the red light. Eisbacher said she had an independent eyewitness to back it up.

According to Cummins, he polled the jury in open court immediately before they were dismissed.

The jury was unanimous that Davidson was negligent and was 11-1 on whether the plaintiff was negligent, Cummins said.

However, on comparative negligence, the jury was 10-2 that the plaintiff shouldered 60 percent of the blame while Davidson held 40 percent.

Cummins said he spoke with one member of the jury after the verdict who said the crux of their debate was over negligence.

The jury was out for four-and-a-half hours.

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