As we approach the trial date in the Overholt v. Sodexo case. My friend Luis Avila the trial attorney for plaintiff continues to bat 100%. He recently got a nice verdict on a false imprisonment case. It is an incredible, but real story. The plaintiff (Alvarez) was arrested when he was 17 on suspicion of stealing a car stereo. While in custody he attempted to make a phone call to his grandmother, but could not get through to his grandmother. He banged the phone receiver and was promptly physically attacked with an illegal chock. Naturally the 17 year old was charged with assault and battery, and advised to plead guilt. During discovery in a similar civil rights case, surveillance videos were obtained and it was discovered that Alvarez had not only done nothing wrong, but that he was still in prison. He had been in prison for more than 4 years.
Plaintiff was immediately released and the false imprisonment action was brought against the City of Brownsville by Attorney Eddie Lucio (Alvarez v. City of Brownsville). Luis was brought in to assist with the case and to take it to trial.
While prosecuting the case the most amazing thing happened. The government brought charges against Lucio as part of a scandal that came to be known as the “cash for court favors” scandal (US v. Lucio). An even 12 were charged. Lucio was immediately suspended from the practice of law. The first attorney to be convicted committed suicide shortly after the conviction by jumping of a bridge.
Luis continued to work on the civil case and was now defending his co-counsel on the criminal charges. The criminal case went to trial last year. On or about August 13 a not guilty verdict was returned. Despite some very incriminating evidence, Luis prevailed and Lucio was the only defendant found not guilty.
Meanwhile the plaintiff Alvarez was getting into all sorts of trouble. From the time plaintiff was released to the time of the false imprisonment trial plaintiff was convicted of two felonies for assault and charged with several other crimes. Plaintiff is currently facing another felony charge. Trial started last Monday, September 8 and it ended on Tuesday. The jury took 1 hour to deliberate. Luis thought he had lost and the government thought they had won.
Pre trial Luis made a policy limits demand of $3 million. The government offered $50,000. The jury awarded $2 million and the judge awarded $600K in attorney fees.
Now he is preparing to try our slip and fall case.
The facts are incredible, but all true. You can verify it in these newstories here:
Defense of Attorney
False Imprisonment Jury Verdict: