Tyson & Mendes Notches Another Admitted Liability Win in Washington

Author: James Mendel

August 23, 2017 9:29am

Seattle Partner James Mendel prevailed in a 2-day trial arising from an accident involving an uninsured motorist.  Tyson & Mendes’ defense methods resonated with the jury, who ultimately returned a verdict of $15,000.  Plaintiff asked the jury for $63,000. Before trial, the insurance carrier offered $25,000.

Plaintiff was rear-ended by a utility truck.  She alleged $18,444 in medical damages, including Chiropractic care, three doctor visits, and two MRIs.


Tyson & Mendes Defense Methods

The Tyson & Mendes trial team used proven defense methods to keep down damages in this admitted liability trial: give a number and personalize the corporate defendant.

  1. Give a Number

As Tyson & Mendes does in every trial, the defense trial team gave a number early and often.  We offer a number to counter plaintiff’s number in voir dire, opening, closing, and with witnesses. Providing a number conditions the jury for what we believe a reasonable verdict should be. If the jury does not have a defense number, they are conditioned for only one number if they find liability: plaintiff’s number.


  1. Personalize the Corporate Client

Plaintiff’s attorney built his argument around the “Reptile Theory,” a tactic gaining momentum throughout the plaintiffs’ bar.  The Reptile Theory sets out to stoke fear in the juror by framing the defendant – in this case a large, household-name insurance company – as a danger to the community.

Additionally, jurors tend to impose higher awards against corporate defendants they view as faceless brand names with big bank accounts.  This tendency, which alone can mean an uphill battle for corporate defendants, intensifies when plaintiff successfully employs the Reptile Theory.

Tyson & Mendes diffused this argument by personalizing the corporate defendant in voir dire, opening, and closing.  Especially with a national insurance company as the defendant, it is imperative to tell the company’s story, select the right corporate witness, and put a face behind the brand.

If you have any questions about this or any other Tyson & Mendes trial victory, please feel free to contact partner James Mendel at jmendel@tysonmendes.com.

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