FRESNO, Calif. (June 30, 2023) – Marking a new victory for the Fresno office of nationwide civil litigation defense firm Tyson & Mendes, a Northern California jury has returned a verdict in favor of the defense in a high-stakes auto liability lawsuit.
The case, Lopez v. Bilvado, held in the Superior Court of California, County of Tulare, marked a significant defense win for Tyson & Mendes, with the jury quickly rejecting the plaintiff’s $4 million damages claim.
According to Michael E. Lehman, lead attorney for the defense and a partner based in Tyson & Mendes’s Fresno office, the lawsuit resulted from an auto accident that occurred on July 10, 2017, in Tulare, California. “Our client ran a stop sign and hit a vehicle the plaintiff was in, broadside,” he said. “The plaintiff, then 17, said she had suffered a concussion playing soccer in December 2016 and claimed she suffered another concussion as a result of this incident. She was referred to a neuropsychologist and diagnosed with a mild neurocognitive disorder. Although she did not seek treatment related to the subject accident, except for one physical therapy visit in February 2018, she sued our client for $4 million based upon a life care plan set forth by their experts, a loss of earning capacity for life, and both past and future pain and suffering. Despite being diagnosed with neurocognitive problems, she continued to work full time and was not present for most of the trial.”
Lehman said his team admitted liability on behalf of their client but was able to successfully secure a defense verdict by using Tyson & Mendes’s proven trial methods to argue the case:
“We accepted responsibility from the beginning and gave the jury our number during voir dire,” he said. “After the plaintiff asked for millions of dollars, we gave a defense number that asked the jury to award $40,000. We never changed the number and carefully described why we gave these numbers – using themes of common sense to explain why the plaintiff’s arguments were not based upon reasonable or factual information, including arguing future pain and suffering. Additionally, our client was present in the courtroom for the entire trial, which demonstrated for the jury that she cared about the lawsuit and was invested in the outcome.”
According to Lehman, the Tyson & Mendes method that was especially impactful during this trial was the “silent witness” – not what the witnesses said, but what they didn’t say. As an example, he noted that no one “accurately explained why plaintiff had not received medical care during the six years from the time of the accident until trial or why plaintiff had not sought treatment for injuries that she claimed she had from the time of the accident until today. We also asked the jury to consider why plaintiff went to her doctors for treatment of other problems but never mentioned the accident-related complaints during that same period. These were just a few of numerous things that plaintiff could not explain away. Ultimately, we argued that common sense should dictate the results.”
After conveying that the plaintiff’s arguments were not reasonable, Lehman said, “we asked the jury to award plaintiff $40,000 for past pain and suffering and future medical treatment. After about 4.5 hours of deliberation the jury came back with a verdict of $44,000.”
Serving 19 states nationwide, Tyson & Mendes is one of the fastest growing civil defense firms in the U.S. The firm has established itself as a leader in driving down damages awards and reducing the likelihood of Nuclear Verdicts® – often defined as jury awards in excess of $10 million. Using a unique set of proven defense methods, the firm saved clients more than $1.07 billion in 2022.
For more information and to view career opportunities, visit tysonmendes.com.
About Tyson & Mendes LLP
Tyson & Mendes LLP is a nationwide, AV-rated litigation and trial firm specializing in insurance defense and protecting its clients from Nuclear Verdicts®. Robert Tyson and Patrick Mendes founded the firm in 2002 to defend corporations, insurance companies, and their clients in civil litigation matters. The firm has experienced tremendous growth in the past two decades, with offices across the U.S. serving clients in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The firm is most widely recognized for winning the landmark Howell v. Hamilton Meats California Supreme Court case, which forever changed the state’s litigation landscape by significantly impacting the damages a plaintiff may recover. Robert Tyson is also the author of the Amazon Bestseller Nuclear Verdicts®: Defending Justice for All, the first playbook for the defense on how to avoid runaway jury verdicts.
For more information, visit tysonmendes.com.
Ashley Bendas, J. Walcher Communications