After concluding her evidence and in the midst of hearing the presiding judge announce from the bench the reasons he was going to dismiss her case, a Virginia plaintiff was forced to nonsuit her claims even before the defense began its case.
The case involved a young lady rendered a quadriplegic in a single vehicle rollover. The plaintiff presented evidence from two well-heeled experts that the vehicle was defective and that the defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Unfortunately, their testimony did not pass Virginia’s prohibitions against conclusory testimony that is unsupported by facts and science. Although it was clear to everyone in the courtroom (including, we later learned, the jurors) but plaintiff’s counsel that the proof was not getting past the legal threshold, the plaintiff’s team failed to retool and make out a prima facie case.
The nonsuit, which Virginia plaintiffs have an unfettered right to exercise until the moment the axe comes down, gives the plaintiff a right to start all over and try again.
One of the more gratifying events of the trial came when, after the jurors were discharged, one of them sought to hire us to represent him.
The Spencer LLP trial team consisted of Chris Spencer, Elizabeth Shoenfeld and Tracey Turner, with remote support from Susan White, Sandy Treakle and Ellen Begren.
Spencer LLP secured a defense verdict for a major vehicle manufacturer in a products trial that ended today in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Five children were passengers in a minivan whose window was blown out. The cause was disputed. Each of the children allegedly sustained facial lacerations. One child lost an eye. The plaintiffs contended that the van’s glass should have been treated with a laminate and that it was too thin for a large opening. We argued that there was nothing odd or unusual about the glass and that it was appropriately designed and selected. The jury deliberated two hours before returning a unanimous defense verdict.
Our trial team included Chris Spencer (partner) and Carla Stone (paralegal) from our Richmond office, with support from long-time local counsel Tony Conti of Conti, Fenn and Lawrence in Baltimore.