Articles Posted in excess verdict

No, Virginia, your jury verdicts for injured men, women and children are not excessive or “out-of-control.”

The American Tort Reform Association — “ATRA” — has published its list of “Judicial Hellholes” of 2006 … and, Virginia, you are not on its list. You are not even an “Honorable Mention,” and you are not even on the “Watch List.” One sure way to get on the list? Allow runaway jury verdicts.

No doubt Virginia’s absence from this list will come as a great surprise to Virginia jurors who long have been besieged with the cries of ATRA and the insurance companies and corporations to the effect that jury awards for the injured are “everywhere” out-of-control.

Marlo said she was injured in the accident. As her attorney, I believed her. But Allstate Insurance Company just knew that it could push her around. Allstate’s insured said that her car was barely moving when it hit Marlo’s. The only exterior damage to Marlo’s car were scratches on her rear bumper, without dents. Marlo claimed back pain, but she had complained about back pain a couple of months before the accident. Marlo had no medical expenses or lost wages. Her treating doctors largely dismissed her injuries and would not cooperate or testify at the Loudoun County, Virginia trial. Marlo went to a doctor outside her plan who told her that she would need some medical treatment — not now, but as she got older.

Allstate’s insured swore in writing that she had $100,000 of liabililty coverage. Marlo demanded settlement for the coverage limits. Allstate did not respond and made no offer.

Shortly before trial its insured swore in writing that her liability coverage was not $100,000 but only $25,000; and Allstate produced a declaration page verifying $25,000 in coverage. Marlo then demanded the $25,000 coverage, giving Allstate a short deadline by which to respond and stating that after the deadline she would not extend or respond to any settlement offers. Allstate did not respond and made no offer.