Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys represented the family of a man who died in jail. The criminal conviction that put decedent in jail was a particularly ugly one and the sentence for the conviction was rather lengthy. Notwithstanding that, the decedent’s death, was absolutely avoidable and unacceptable because the decedent, who suffered from a mental illness, died from dehydration. Counsel for the defense, believing that the criminal conviction and lengthy sentence were to be admitted into evidence offered a relatively low amount of money to settle the case. In addition to thinking that the jury would be greatly bothered by the conviction and lengthy sentence, the defense believed that a jury would not award a large sum of money to the family of a convicted prisoner due to the fact that the incarceration precluded any close family relationships other than occasional letters and phone calls.
Deciding to go forward with trial, Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys decided to waive any request for damages related to loss of society and companionship which is one of the main elements of compensation in wrongful death cases. Instead, they decided to go forward with a single item of damage known as conscious pain and suffering. While the decision potentially reduced the chances of a large verdict because they were eliminating all but one category of damage, the decision enabled Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys to keep out of evidence the criminal conviction, the lengthy sentence and any discussion of the relationship between the decedent and his family members who had not physically seen him for a number of years. Fortunately, the strategy paid off, the trial was clean, meaning it focused only on the relevant issues of liability and those damages limited to conscious pain and suffering. The jury rendered a verdict of $5.2 million dollars. The verdict was almost 50 times more than the amount offered by defense to settle the case before the trial started. By: Robert Giroux, Partner Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys/Posted February 3, 2014