Tyson & Mendes Saves Client Nearly $34 Million in High Stakes Trucking Case: San Bernardino Jury Awards Fraction of Plaintiff’s Demand

Tyson & Mendes Saves Client Nearly $34 Million in High Stakes Trucking Case: San Bernardino Jury Awards Fraction of Plaintiff’s Demand

San Bernardino (June 10, 2024) – Following a complex 13-week trial, national insurance defense and civil litigation firm Tyson & Mendes LLP has secured a savings of nearly $34 million on behalf of its client, a driver for Western Express, a nationwide trucking company.

The case, Wooten v. Western Express, et al. (Case No. CIVDS2013300), involved a Western Express truck driver who caused multiple collisions. Plaintiff asked for $36.5 million at trial. In a significant legal victory for the defense, the Tyson & Mendes team achieved a verdict of just $1.757 million, along with punitive damages of $1 million – only 7% of plaintiff’s total demand.

According to Edward Leonard, lead attorney for the defense and a partner in Tyson & Mendes’ Orange County office, the truck driver caused an accident, fled the scene, and then caused another accident, striking multiple vehicles, including a pick-up truck driven by the plaintiff.

“The truck driver was not blameless – he had allegedly been driving under the influence and may have been suffering a mental breakdown at the time of the accidents – and we accepted responsibility from the onset, and gave a number of $1.6 million,” Leonard said.

In fact, Leonard added, the client had a history of drug addiction. At the time of the collisions, he had morphine in his system consistent with heroin use.. In addition, a full syringe of heroin was found in the cab of his truck. Further, he admitted in interviews pretrial that he had been operating the vehicle under the influence of heroin. He was convicted of felony hit and run and was sentenced to prison. While serving his sentence, he was deposed in preparation for trial. At the time, he was also taking medication for schizophrenia. After deposition, Leonard and his team were unable to locate the driver again, and he did not appear at trial. Notably, the jury received all of this information in evidence.

Leonard expanded: “We did not dispute that our client caused injuries to the plaintiff, and explained to the jury that the plaintiff left the scene of the accident on his own without an ambulance, sought medical care, and was released. He only sought further medical care after hiring a lawyer. That fact helped us ‘pull back the curtain’ on common plaintiffs’ tactics, and it clearly resonated with jurors.”

Ultimately, Tyson & Mendes prevailed in this case because of its extensive use of the firm’s proven Nuclear Verdict® Defense Methods, including giving a number and accepting responsibility. The Tyson & Mendes legal team – including Leonard, partner Robert Olson, senior counsel Leah Beverly and Aaron Weissman, and associate Anna Sasaki – advanced common-sense arguments and deployed the Methods, designed to defuse juror anger at the heart of Nuclear Verdicts®.

“We addressed with jurors the impact of anger on decision-making, so they were primed to avoid common plaintiff traps designed to cultivate anger, and instead, this jury focused on the facts, the law, and their common sense. We are grateful for the care they exercised in reaching their decision,” Olson said.

Also critical to the success of the team was the expert consultation of Tyson & Mendes’ chair of complex trials, Mina Miserlis.

Serving 21 states nationwide, Tyson & Mendes is one of the fastest growing civil defense firms in the U.S. and is proud to offer one of the fastest and clearest paths to partnership for its attorneys of any mid-sized law firm in the U.S. The firm is honored to be recognized as a 2024 Best Law Firm by Best Lawyers’, named a 2024 Best Company to Work for: Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report, awarded the 2023 Liberty Mutual Insurance External Law Firm Partner of the Year Award, awarded the No. 1 “Ceiling Smasher” in Law360’s 2022 Glass Ceiling Report for female equity partnership, and shortlisted for Financial Times’ 2022 Innovative Lawyers North America Award.

For more information and to view career opportunities, visit www.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, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.


Media Contact

Molly Pincherli/Jean Walcher, J. Walcher Communications
molly@jwalcher.com / jean@jwalcher.com, 619-295-7140




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