Rainbow Experiment Leads to $59M for New York High School Student

Author: Randy Faust

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

February 11, 2022 2:00pm

In a case involving a high school student who was severely burned in a science class experiment gone awry, plaintiff’s counsel portrayed in detail the pain and anguish plaintiff suffered through during his months in hospitals and inpatient care. The jury awarded a record-breaking verdict of $59 million for past and future pain and suffering.  New records are being broken too often with the rise of Nuclear Verdicts™.

California’s Trucking Law Could Increase Exposure to Nuclear Verdicts™

Author: Cynthia Speegle

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

January 28, 2022 9:00am

The United States Supreme Court refused to hear the case brought by Cal Cartage Transportation Express LLC challenging the appellate court ruling upholding California’s Assembly Bill 5 (“AB5”).  Though AB5’s impact on rideshare companies is often dissected, the law also significantly impacts the trucking industry, and can, without careful planning, expose trucking companies to Nuclear Verdicts™.

Does Acceptance of Responsibility Affect a Jury’s Award?

Author: Sheila Baker

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

January 28, 2022 9:00am

A nuclear verdict is outrageous and based on fear and anger, not the law.  More Nuclear Verdicts™ are being handed down at a higher rate in every state.  These verdicts threaten unjust outcomes for defendants around the country.  An internet search will produce numerous articles and references to excessive verdicts by California juries, and the question now seems to be how much the next nuclear verdict will be for, not whether there will be another nuclear verdict. 

Shifting Defense Tactics for US Nuclear Verdicts™

Featured: Robert Tyson, Sheila Baker

Law 360 – December 23, 2021

The soaring costs of nuclear verdicts have reached a point where transportation companies, product makers and other defendants are more likely to accept responsibility early, hoping to sway juries with their own suggestions of damage amounts and avoid the headline-grabbing awards that have put some in financial straits.

How Defense Counsel Can Take a Bite Out of Potential Nuclear Verdicts™

Author: Sheila Baker

November 18, 2021 10:53am

A jury recently awarded $20 million against the City of Exeter in San Luis Obispo County, California in a case involving a 2016 retired police dog which attacked and killed one individual and injured another.  The jury verdict fits the mold of the typical Nuclear Verdicts™ plaguing our country.  Defense attorneys can utilize methods to prevent these types of verdicts from being handed down if they understand and recognize the mold.

Washington Supreme Court Affirms $9.2M Judgment

Author: Shivani Bommakanty, Bryan D. Scholnick

November 18, 2021 10:42am

The Washington Supreme Court considered the issue of whether a jury instruction given in an underlying lawsuit was prejudicial and not harmless to plaintiff.  The Court found plaintiff was not prejudiced by the jury instruction even though the instruction was potentially misleading.  The Appellate decision had found the jury instruction had been prejudicial to plaintiff.  This affirmed a verdict of $9.2 million against Lake Hills Investments, Inc.

New Rule on Florida Post-Offer Prejudgment Interest

Author: Damian M. Fletcher

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

October 29, 2021 9:00am

Florida Rule 769.78 generally dictates rules on offers and demands as they pertain to judgments.[i]  However, this area of law is not well-settled.  In a recent case, Florida’s courts dove into the impact of post-offer prejudgment interest on the “judgment obtained.”[ii]  The ruling in CCM Condominium Association, Inc. v. Petri Positive Pest Control, Inc. expands the complicated web of rules stemming from Rule 768.79.

Tennessee Supreme Court Holds Damage Cap on Noneconomic Damages Limits Recovery

Author: William Johnson

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

October 29, 2021 9:00am

Noneconomic damages often make up a large portion of Nuclear Verdicts™.  Defense attorneys will be happy to know there is a new interpretation of “damage cap” at play in Tennessee after the ruling in Yebuah v. Ctr. for Urological Treatment, PLC.[i]  The Tennessee Supreme Court’s ruling is a small step in the right direction for the defense.  In the case, the court reviewed whether the statutory cap on noneconomic damages applies separately to a spouse’s loss of consortium claim pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-39-102, thus allowing each plaintiff to receive an award of up to $750,000 in noneconomic damages.

Medi-Cal Liens Not Preempted by Federal Medicaid Anti-Lien Statute

Author: David Kahn

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

October 29, 2021 9:00am

Could a Medi-Cal lien for recovery of advanced medical expenses be pre-empted by federal law?  This was the issue recently decided by the Second District Court of Appeal in L.Q. v. California Hospital Medical Center.[i]  The case involves the conflict between federal and state law on whether a state’s Medicaid program can legally claim a lien against a beneficiary’s personal injury settlement without violating the anti-lien provision in the federal Medicare Act.  The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held the state Medi-Cal lien was valid, allowing recovery of the portion of the settlement proceeds to be attributable to past medical care paid for by Medi-Cal.

California Appellate Courts Hold Statutory Immunity Bars Treble Damages Claims

Author: Edward Lester

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

October 29, 2021 9:00am

California enacted Assembly Bill-218 on October 14, 2019, amending Code of Civil Procedure section 340.1.  In doing so, California greatly expanded damages awards available to childhood sexual assault victims, including treble damages against entities that engage in “covering up” childhood sexual assault.  One of the principal byproducts of the reform legislation is treble damages claims may be erroneously asserted against public school districts in childhood sexual assault cases.  In two recent decisions, California’s appellate courts have vigorously reaffirmed the traditional rule that statutory sovereign immunity under Government Code section 818 bars liability for treble damages claims brought against public entities under Code of Civil Procedure section 340.1.

Florida Jury Awards $50 Million in Habitability/Mold Case

Author: Rob Olson

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

October 4, 2021 5:32pm

A Florida jury awarded $48,257,922 to a tenant who lived in an apartment with “toxic” mold for approximately one and a half years. This verdict included $35 million for past and future pain and suffering and $10 million for future medical costs! While the defendants were not represented at trial, the award is a shot across the bow at what Nuclear Verdicts™ may look like post-pandemic.

Discovery Abuse May Have Cost Defendant $120 Million

Author: Cynthia Speegle

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

October 4, 2021 4:40pm

When faced with potentially harmful evidence, it is best to accept responsibility and face the situation head on, instead of playing games and trying to hide evidence. Using tactics like this is not likely to endear the jury to an attorney, and may fuel their anger, leading to larger verdicts.

California’s Evolving Interpretation of Vicarious Liability

Author: Sheila Baker

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

October 4, 2021 4:10pm

Vicarious liability, the doctrine that imposes liability on a party not directly at fault, is one of the most malleable concepts in California law. Most recently, the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Kern County analyzed the reach of two forms of vicarious liability — the peculiar risk doctrine and the nondelegable rule — in the unpublished matter of Ruckman v. Wildwood Farms.

Nuclear Verdicts™ Drive Need For Insurers’ Litigation Change

Featured: Robert Tyson

Law360 – September 8, 2021

So-called nuclear verdicts, jury awards of $10 million or more, have generated splashy headlines in recent years as plaintiffs lawyers have seized on jurors’ anger toward corporate defendants to secure such awards, signaling that a change in strategy is needed for insurers that handle these corporations’ defense efforts.

Midsize Firm Tyson & Mendes Unveils High-Stakes Trial Subsidiary

Featured: Robert Tyson

Law.com The Recorder – July 21, 2021

San Diego-based midsize firm Tyson & Mendes has launched a new high-stakes trial business based out of the firm’s offices.

The newly created subsidiary, called TM HALO, is targeting the increasing threat and reality of nuclear verdicts—Jury verdicts in excess of $10 million—for its insurance clients.

TM HALO® Introduces Elite Trial Team for High-Risk Cases

Featured: Robert Tyson

Law 360 Pulse – July 14, 2021

Robert Tyson and Patrick Mendes established their firm, Tyson & Mendes, in a small space on La Jolla Boulevard in San Diego in 2002 to represent clients in the insurance industry. Since then, the civil defense law firm has grown to have more than 200 attorneys in 14 offices serving 17 states.

Tyson & Mendes Launches New Subsidiary, TM HALO®, to Win Your Biggest Trials: New Trial Firm Devoted Solely to Winning Major Civil Jury Trials

Featured: Robert Tyson, Damian M. Fletcher, Margaret M. Holm, Edward R. Leonard, Mina Miserlis, Kara Pape

SAN DIEGO (July 15, 2021) – Leading insurance and civil litigation defense firm Tyson & Mendes LLP announced today the launch of TM HALO®, a new high-stakes trial firm that uses value billing when parachuting in to defend corporations, insurance companies, and insureds in major civil jury trials.

Leveling the Playing Field: Defense Counsel Used “Honest Fouls” in California and Beat a $16 Million Jury Demand

Author: Rob Olson

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

July 12, 2021 9:53am

In Bob Tyson’s book titled Nuclear Verdicts: Defending Justice for All, Bob Tyson challenges the defense bar to “[u]se your fouls.” A defense attorney who prefers to play by the books may question what an “honest foul” is and when to make such fouls. This article evaluates a May 2021 California Appellate decision illustrating how California courts allowed “honest fouls” in trial. Ultimately, these honest fouls allowed a jury to evaluate facts beyond plaintiff’s $16 million demand and the jury ultimately found plaintiff 45% responsible, reducing the total award from $2.9 million to $1.6 million.

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