Lewis Brisbois Wins Defense Verdict for City of Phoenix in Wrongful Death Case
Phoenix, Arizona October 11, 2018 - Partners Sean Healy and Adam Polson of Lewis Brisbois’ Phoenix office recently delivered a defense verdict for the City of Phoenix following a wrongful death jury trial. The plaintiffs’ counsel demanded $153 million in damages for the parents of a deceased pedestrian who was struck by a City of Phoenix police officer. The plaintiffs alleged the police officer’s speed at the time of the accident and his use of a standard-issue mounted laptop while retrieving information on a call was negligent and a cause of the pedestrian’s death.
We denied that the officer was negligent and asserted that the pedestrian was intending to commit suicide by automobile, as evidenced by his presence in the middle of the road with what appeared to be a suicide note in his pocket. A defense expert testified that the accident was unavoidable due to the lack of visibility of the pedestrian, who was wearing dark clothing, and the reaction time required by the officer to avoid impact. Both plaintiffs and defendants utilized accident reconstructionists to support their positions. In closing, we argued that the facts supported a defense verdict, but that if the jury was inclined to award damages, $500,000 was fair and equitable. The jury ultimately returned a defense verdict for our clients.
The case was tried by Messrs. Healy and Polson. Partner Kristian Nelson, Associates Ethan Bernardone and Barrett Lindsey, and paralegal Amela Frazier provided significant assistance during the trial.