TLC Grad, Benjamin Cloward (Sept ’13) recently won an important case for the required care of society’s most needy — our mentally and physically impaired. After telling his client’s story in the manner he learned at TLC, a Las Vegas jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes and gave Ben’s client a verdict for $15,000,000! ($7,500,000 for pain and suffering and $7,500,000 for loss of consortium to his parents.) To learn more about how Ben won justice for his clients — read on!
Harvey was a kind, loving 51 year old who was diagnosed with cognitive impairment (officially: mild mental retardation) at age five, and then with schizophrenia when he was thirteen. The case was against a fixed transit bus company that allowed Harvey to choke to death on a para-transit bus that carries the most fragile special needs citizens. While Harvey’s family had learned over the years ways to make it possible for him to have an independent life, they had also learned that they had to routinely trust others to protect Harvey in his adulthood. One such entity was a fixed transit bus company who took Harvey to his work place where he worked with other disabled adults.
There were specific rules that the bus company was required to enforce — one of which was to prevent their disabled passengers from eating or drinking due to the known hazards of choking, and specifically choking to death. Thru discovering the story not only of his client, but of what happened on that day, Ben learned that the bus driver not only allowed Harvey to eat on the bus, but actually assisted him in drinking on the bus which was a direct violation of the “no drinking policy”.
Ben discovered, and was able to prove to his jury, that seated in the first seat directly behind the driver, Harvey first choked on his sandwich. He reached for help, unable to speak, and slowly, without any help or attention from the driver, he slipped into unconsciousness just feet from the bus driver. Three minutes of precious time continued to tick before the driver finally saw Harvey in his mirror, slumped completely into the aisle.
Ben further learned that the busy company has made the clear administrative decision not to invest in teaching its bus drivers CPR. Thus, nothing was done to save Harvey’s life because the driver did not know what to do — no Heimlich maneuver, no CPR, nor any basic first aid. Instead, on Cross Exam, Ben was able to present to the jury testimony that the corporation felt it was better and safer to rely on 911 — even though it takes 8-10 minutes for EMTs or Paramedics to respond in congested Las Vegas, AND the brain starts to die at 2-3 minutes with brain death occurring at 8-10 minutes from lack of oxygen.
Tragically, Ben learned, and presented to his jury, that the bus company had a policy in their employee manual that taught the Heimlich maneuver, but that the Employee Handbook did not apply in the Las Vegas market!! At trial, Ben conducted a voir dire about “frivolous defenses”. He asked jurors about how they felt about defendants coming in to Court and giving excuses or saying anything to avoid responsibility. In his Opening Statement, Ben told the story of the case which exposed all of the excuses the bus company had given to justify what happened to Harvey. Ben used powerful methods during the trial that he learned at the Trial Lawyers College which included conducting a first person re-enactment of the inside of the bus to persuasively recreate the story for the jurors to not only hear, but see and smell.
Ben used additional skills learned at the Trial Lawyers College, and by the end of cross-examination, the jurors understood very clearly how the family’s trust had been betrayed by the bus company’s failures to follow their own rules. (On cross exam of the defendant driver, he testified that he did not know what to do and felt helpless to aid Harvey because the company did not train him on page 70. The driver stated that had he been trained by the company on page 70 of the Employee Safety manual he would have done everything he could do to have save Harvey’s life. The jury understood and awarded a 100% negligence on the large multi-national bus company and none on the driver.)
In closing argument, Ben used one of Gerry Spence’s prior transcripts to explain to the jury why such a large amount of money was necessary, and appropriate, in this case. Ben knew, understood, and was able to tell his client’s story and the importance of the heightened duty owed by common carriers to passengers, and an even higher duty owed when dealing with those who are disabled. Ben’s brave jurors in Las Vegas spoke for Harvey, for his family, and for other needy people who are owed a duty of care.
The family is now going to start a foundation to educate lawmakers to require that all para-transit companies train their drivers on CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and basic first aid. Congratulations Ben! If he has the time, Harvey might very well be smiling upon you from on high!
Learn the the powerful methods that Ben used to get justice, at the upcoming Texas Regional Seminar
Mo Ranch, Hunt, Texas | April 14-17, 2016
Registration Deadline Monday, April 11, 2016
Faculty Leaders: John Sloan, John Zelbst, Paula Estefan, Ron Estefan and Colby Vokey
Faculty Team: John Ackerman, Michael Callahan, JR Clary, Eric Davis, Emily Detoto, Bill Gilbert, David Glenn, Scott Glovsky, Max Mitchell, Chuck Richardson, Andy Rubenstein, David Smith, Debbie Taussig, Tony Vitz and Luke Wallace
F Warrior Alumni Ambassadors: Jim Buxton, Krisi Kastl and Patrick McLain
Psychodramatists: Mary Jo Amatruda, Don Clarkson, Kim Friedman, Louise Lipman and Mike Traynor
Communications Expert: Josh Karton
“If we are to be successful in presenting our case, we must not only discover its story; we must become good storytellers. Every trial, every argument for justice, is a story.” – Gerry Spence
At this 4-day Seminar in Hunt, TX (outside of San Antonio) from April 14-17, 2016, you will learn the TLC methods necessary to not only discover the winning story, but how to tell it in your Opening Statement. You will learn how to tap into your own power to bring these stories to life in the courtroom.
Taught by trial lawyers and behavioral and communication experts, you will learn our innovative TLC methods by doing, not suffering through endless lectures. Small group work on your own cases will help make our methods immediately accessible to you in the courtroom.
Join us and learn how to bring your clients’ stories to life in the courtroom to win the justice they deserve.
– See more at: https://blog.triallawyerscollege.orgPost.aspx?g=0d17fca9-db99-43ab-8ecd-23e68ef661d2#sthash.OvYFtcqz.dpuf