By Dan Philips
Hidalgo County Jury Awards $0 to Plaintiff
Known as the “venue of choice” for plaintiff lawyers through out the state, the Texas Rio Grande Valley has reason to be a trial lawyer’s paradise. The “Valley” has produced some Texas sized verdicts through the years for plaintiffs who claim personal injury from auto or trucking accidents. However, a recent trial involving a plaintiff who sued a trucking company in Hidalgo County found the venue not so friendly.
In a 2002 accident involving a tractor trailer rig belonging to Gutierrez Trucking and plaintiff who was parked off the road in his van, the total loss caused devastating personal injuries, multiple medical procedures and a lawsuit asking for a million plus dollars for relief.
The case was set and reset many times but finally began in April of this year. The plaintiff lawyers, from the Houston area, turned down settlement offers prior to trial totaling $250,000. The defense team of Roland Leon and paralegal, Annie Hall of Barker, Leon & Fancher LLP, Corpus Christi Texas, went to trial knowing that the two sides were far apart but knew they had some good defensive evidence, in a video tape provided by Mission Investigations. The video tape showed the plaintiff unloading multiple box’s of tile out of a pickup truck. Though the plaintiff carried a cane at multiple hearings, a chance sighting at a rest stop by Roland Leon on his return from one such hearing, made him doubt the need for the cane and therefore he asked for the surveillance to be conducted just to determine the plaintiff’s consistency with it. Not only was the claimant seen without the cane but he was also able to lift multiple box of heavy tile.
The jury saw the video tape, while the plaintiff was being cross examined by Leon. Leon was able to not only get the plaintiff to admit to the positive identity, he was able to get the plaintiff to also admit to being parked closer to a more dangerous area than originally stated; an area D.P.S. investigators called the point of impact. During the cross examination, Leon’s assistant, Annie Hall was struck with a sudden obvious question while watching the video tape. She never saw the plaintiff parking in a handicap parking spot. She asked Leon to ask if he had a handicap pass, and the plaintiff responded “no”. During final arguments, Leon indicated that the plaintiff wanted the jury to believe he was handicapped but didn’t possess a handicap parking pass!
After the week long trial, the jury deliberated several hours and returned a verdict of “plaintiff takes nothing”, leaving plaintiff’s council in shock.
Give us a call or visit our website at www.MissionInvestigations.com to request our assistance on your tough cases!