Aug 17, 2021
Part 2: A Verdict, But Not the End
While receiving intense physical therapy to treat the injuries caused by the forklift accident, Tom Neuhengen prepares to tell his story at trial.
In the second episode of this three-part series, Tom’s attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard reject the defense’s request to drop the punitive damages claim in favor of an admitted liability case. They have discovered that GES has a history of using forklift drivers who aren’t properly certified, which would support their claim that GES prioritizes speed over safety.
Meanwhile, the attorneys prepare Tom to take the stand, knowing how stressful it can be to face a judge, jury and team of defense attorneys. Tom’s team shares a video deposition to show the jury the profound impact the accident has had on Tom’s daily life.
During the trial, the defense tries to argue that the accident was Tom’s fault and that his injury is relatively insignificant. His attorneys counter these arguments, with a surprise assist from an independent witness. But what’s the verdict, and what does it mean for Tom?
Tune in to find out on the next and final part of this series.
Visit https://www.salvilaw.com/podcast/ for more information on Tom’s case and the show.
Characters in this Episode
⚖️ Tom Neuhengen, Plaintiff
* Military veteran. Sustained a life-altering injury while working at a trade show in Chicago.
* “During my testimony, the opposing counsel was trying to throw me under the bus: basically putting words in my mouth.”
⚖️ Patrick Salvi Jr., Partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard
* Lawyer representing Tom’s case.
* “When the plaintiff takes the stand and says, ‘here's what happened and here are my injuries,’ they're bearing their soul to the jury.”
⚖️ Aaron D. Boeder, Partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard
* Lawyer representing Tom’s case.
* “There was an independent witness who worked for the forklift company. The defense thought he would help them. … The testimony did not go well for them.”
⚖️ Patrick A. Salvi, Sr. Founder and Managing Equity Partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard
* Lead plaintiff’s lawyer representing Tom’s case.
* “Whenever you go through a trial — which is very intense — a very close relationship develops between the lawyer and the client, because there's so much at stake.”
⚖️ Cesar Salinas, IT Director at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard
* Recorded and presented video deposition for the trial.
* “You don’t want to interrupt the narrative that the attorneys are trying to play out [which can happen] if things aren't working.”
Lax safety record: The lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard set out to prove that GES cut corners with safety procedures, which would justify punitive damages.
The evidence against GES: They discover that GES regularly hired forklift operators who had never been certified, or whose certifications had expired.
Preparing for trial: The lawyers also prepare Tom for court, so he can be as ready as possible to face the defense’s cross-examination — an intimidating process.
Video evidence: Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard IT Director Cesar Salinas makes a video deposition detailing the impact the accident has had on Tom’s daily life, which is played in court.
Pre-trial homework: Before the trial, the attorneys exchange back-and-forths with the defense and judge, and make sure they have everything ready to present Tom’s case.
A life-changing injury: The defense argues that Tom’s injury wasn’t severe. His lawyers respond that being in pain and struggling to walk every day is life-changing, now and in the long term.
Victim-blaming: The defense argues that Tom was to blame, saying that he knowingly bent down in front of the forklift. But in reality, the driver failed to use a spotter to check his blindspots.
Tom’s chance to speak: Trials put a lot of pressure on plaintiffs: they feel like their integrity is being scrutinized. Tom recounts his experience in court.
The jury deliberates: The lawyers make their closing arguments and the nerve-wracking wait for the verdict begins. But the jury’s decision is not necessarily the end.
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