On Friday a Hinds County jury rendered a $100,000 verdict Friday in Marble v. Deviney Construction. This was the retrial of a personal injury case involving an electrical contact.
The jury apportioned 30% fault to the plaintiff and 70% to Deviney. This will presumably lower the judgment to $70,000.
The award was broken down as follows: $20,000 for medical expenses; $60,000 for pain and suffering; and $20,000 in lost wages.
The parties tried the case in 2009 with a verdict of $2.5 million. Here is my post on the trial.
In 2011 the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a new trial because the trial court refused to let the defendant reserve questioning of witnesses and recall the witness during their case in chief. Here is my post on the Supreme Court decision.
During trial on Thursday the defendant offered $1 million to settle the case. The plaintiff rejected the settlement offer, without a counter.
The plaintiff asked the jury for a verdict of $5 million. There were 12 African-Americans on the jury. Some members of the jury wanted to render a defense verdict despite the fact that defense counsel suggested in closing arguments that the plaintiff should recover $10,000.
Ashley Ogden and Jim Smith of Jackson represented the plaintiff. Hugh Gillon of Upshaw Williams in Ridgeland and Jamie Travis and Gray Laird of Page Kruger Holland in Flowood represented the defendant.
Judge Tommie Green presided in the case.
I suspect that the defendant would have paid more than $1 million if the plaintiff had negotiated on the mid-trial settlement offer. Live by the sword; die by the sword.
This is a good example of why Hinds County is not as predictable as some people think. Some people think that plaintiffs always get big verdicts in Hinds County, since they hear about the more publicized big verdicts.
In reality, defendants win their share or keep the number down quiet a bit in Hinds County.
Hinds County is hard to predict, as the two contrasting verdicts in this case show.