Fort Lauderdale Office Secures Defense Verdict for Truck Driver in Accident Case

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (March 28, 2024) - Fort Lauderdale Partner Kevin M. Vannatta and Associate Michael K. Gore recently obtained a defense verdict after a jury trial in January in Lee County, Florida. The case entailed a negligence claim based on a motor vehicle accident involving a truck and a bicyclist. The plaintiff-bicyclist claimed multiple neck and back surgeries related to the accident, past and future medical expenses, and pain and suffering.  In closing, the plaintiff’s attorney suggested the jury return a multimillion-dollar verdict for the plaintiff. 

Pre-trial, Kevin and Michael successfully argued in opposition to the plaintiff’s motion in limine regarding a previously vacated order finding that the plaintiff’s treating physician offered untruthful testimony under oath. This motion was successfully argued again during trial upon a re-hearing, which included a surprise appearance by the physician’s personal counsel. Additionally, the team successfully argued their own motion in limine to exclude causation opinions of plaintiff’s treating physicians based on their “hybrid” witness classification and failure to review the plaintiff’s prior medical records. 

Further, Kevin and Michael were able to secure a directed verdict on the issue of future medical expenses. Throughout the trial, Kevin and Michael highlighted the lack of evidence to support the claims of the defendant’s negligence and presenting the evidence of plaintiff’s significant pre-existing conditions, which clouded the issues related to causation. After less than 30 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict for the defense. Additionally, Kevin and Michael also just successfully argued against the plaintiff’s motion for new trial. The team is now moving the court to award attorneys’ fees and costs as a result of the defendant’s proposal for settlement and non-binding arbitration award.

Mr. Vannatta is a senior trial attorney who defends clients throughout Florida in both state and federal courts. His practice focuses primarily on professional liability litigation, including cases of legal and medical malpractice, and general liability, including transportation-related claims.

Mr. Gore is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability Practice.

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