A Good new Lawyer’s first Jury Trial

A Good new Lawyer’s first Jury Trial

Jade Wandell is a first year associate attorney at Cantor and Associate. She will try her first case Monday will be there to help her if she gets in a crunch.

My first jury trial came to me the same way that Jade’s did for Monday. I had been practicing at a small personal injury law firm for about a year when the partners called me in for a meeting. The partners claimed it was time to review my work and asked my goals. They asked me if I wanted a jury trial. I told them that I really wanted a jury trial and they told me it was in seven days and I had better get working. I started backtracking but it was too late. Gary and I did the exact same thing to Jade. We were nicer to Jade and I told her it was a tough case and would be good experience for her. I had been told by Jack Schlueter, may he rest in peace, that he was with me if I won by verdict, or settled, but not to come back if I lost. And I was on my own. Fortunately, he was only half joking. I lost but he let me keep my job.

The case I tried was for a man that cut off his own great toe while mowing a lawn in Hillsoboro Missouri, Jefferson County. He slipped and fell, pulling the mower over his foot and severing his toe. He claimed the land was dangerous because the laundry machine of the house where he was mowing discharged its soapy water onto the grass and not into a sewer or septic system. That may have been a great set of facts, but unfortunately it was his girlfriend’s home and he, at the very least, knew of the dangerous condition. The defense argued he was the one who set the laundry machine up to discharge onto the lawn and the jury believed it.

Jade’s trial is also a slip and fall but it is better than my first trial and she can win. (I will not discuss the facts because the trial is on Monday). Slip and fall cases are difficult because the plaintiff needs to prove they were injured because of a dangerous and unknown condition of property that the landowner knew or should have known of. There is a common misconception that if you fall somewhere and sue that you win just because you are on someone’s property, but that is false. At the end of my trial I polled the jury and asked the people that were willing to talk with me to give me their thoughts. The foreman told me in his country drawl that he wanted to vote for me, that he thought I did a great job, but that the facts of the case were terrible. He also said I should not feel bad because the partners sent the new guy because they new it was a bad case and no one likes to lose.

Anyway, tough cases require trials and easy ones settle – so there is nothing to do but try the case and fight like hell to win. Jade is a smart lawyer and has prepared well. She will be coached by the best in the business. She will learn a lot, win or lose, on Monday. Good luck Jade!

POSTED IN: Mark Cantor Our Personal Injury Clients St. Louis Personal Injury Attorneys

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