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October 22, 2018

My first jury trial.

I second-chaired my first jury trial and only insurance defense trial defending Burger King.

I was a 2nd year DC associate right off the Hill. A tall smart Houston professional black woman had slipped on a step and (allegedly) hurt her back in a BK facing the FBI building. She had diversity juridction so it went to DC district court before older WASPy judge (John Lewis Smith) who were were happy to draw. Plaintiff was also the first deponent I had ever examined—deposition lasted 6 hours (carrier hated me for that)—and she seemed smart but smallish, fragile and ailing when I took it.

The trial lasted 3 days. The judge hated her and black attorney (who was excellent) and loved me and my Pittsburgh-based partner like we were his Mayflower Bros. But the jury of course was mainly black. When she walked into the courtroom the first day she sashayed in healthy and shapely and about 6’2” in these 3” heels. (That’s how confident their side was. Great rack, too. Everyone male in the courtroom wanted to jump her....but I digress here.) She didn’t seem sick. She wasn’t poor. She seemed happy. But testified off this “victim’s” script that her life was ruined. Our cross examination was skillful and to most observers—including to a black paralegal we shipped in from Detroit just to sit there—devastating.

And she won. Not a lot. But she won.

Posted by JD Hull at October 22, 2018 03:24 PM


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