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    Overholt v. Sodexo America, LLC

    The majority of cases do not go to trial, but there are certain cases that need to go to trial.  The primary reason being that there is a strong disagreement between the attorneys.  Sometimes it is for other reasons.  A pending case likely to go to trial is Overholt v. Sodexo America, LLC.  This case is a slip and fall case.  Most slip and fall cases are challenging to prove liability.  In this particular case there is an added element of severe injuries that have resulted in significant physical harm and loss of income, and future earning capacity.  Sometimes more difficult cases require additional expertise.  In this case I determined early on that it was a case that would go to trial. So, I decided to bring my friend Luis Avila to lead this case at trial.  He is a very good trial lawyer, but he does not give the impression of being a star.  He is an ordinarily looking and sounding man, but often wins big.  His most recent trial took place in Texas in June of 2014.  Most people know that Texas is not a friendly state when it comes to injury victims, as it is a conservative state.  In the case of   Rodriguez v. Lee Lewis Construction the plaintiff claimed a closed head injury, fractured leg, and permanent earning capacity loss.  The plaintiff was an employee of a subcontractor and was to demolish a wall.  The subcontractor had a duty to inspect and make sure it was safe.  While at the job site the general contractor ordered the employee to demolish the wall.  The wall had been cut at the bottom by an unknown individual and it was unsupported.  The plaintiff was on a ladder breaking it from the top when the wall collapsed.  Because the general contractor had ordered the employee of the subcontractor he was deemed to have interfered with subcontractor and therefore became liable.  The issue before the jury was whether or not the contractor had interfered with the subcontractor by merely ordering an employee.  If the jury found the contractor liable then it had to determine what to award.  The  jury found in favor of the plaintiff.  The defendant’s attorneys did not think Luis Avila could ever succeed.  Liability seemed very difficult and the damages didn’t seem all that much to them.  Defendants offered plaintiff $30,000.  Luis had the courage to not only say no, but to invest his time and money to take the case to trial.  After about a day of deliberations the jury awarded $2,642,300.  Needless to say it was a huge victory that shocked the defendants and their attorneys.  What you have to wonder is what happened to the adjuster and the attorneys after making such a bad judgment call and pushing the case to trial.  I know of one attorney that did a lot of work for a large insurance carrier, that fought a very small case very aggressively. In that case he felt the pressure.  The small case meant a lot to him, because the insurance carrier had punished him by taking away work whenever he lost.   Attorneys cannot promise or guarantee the outcome of a case and I never make promises or guarantees.