Before the first month of the New Year had passed, Eamon Merrigan obtained two Philadelphia jury trial defense verdicts on behalf of his clients.
To begin the year, Mr. Merrigan successfully defended a young motorist who struck a pedestrian who was leaving a nearby bar. The plaintiff admitted that he was too intoxicated to drive on the evening of the accident, but claimed to have been perfectly able to walk to a friend’s vehicle safely. The plaintiff further admitted that when he was struck, he was not in a marked crosswalk, but claimed to have been crossing the street within a well-known unmarked crosswalk between two adjacent apartment complexes. At the close of evidence, Mr. Merrigan’s legal argument that the plaintiff must be found negligent as a matter of law for crossing a street outside of marked crosswalk while intoxicated was accepted by the Judge, and the jury was instructed as such. Ultimately, the jury attributed some negligence to Mr. Merrigan’s client, but found it was exceeded by the plaintiff’s own negligence.
Within days of concluding his first trial of the year, Mr. Merrigan took to the courtroom again to defend a motorist who admittedly struck the rear of a completely stopped vehicle occupied by two off-duty Philadelphia police officers. One of the officers filed suit, claiming to have herniated discs in both his neck and back that may require future surgery. Although his client stipulated to negligence, Mr. Merrigan was successful in arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proving that he suffered any injuries in the car accident. Mr. Merrigan pointed out that the plaintiff produced only self-serving testimony and the opinions of physicians hand-selected by his attorney, while failing to produce highly relevant evidence such as records to document an alleged emergency room visit; documentation of the alleged damage to the involved vehicles; or even the testimony of the other officer involved in the accident. The jury apparently agreed, and entered a verdict in favor of the defendant.