On June 20, 2008, the client suffered a traumatic brain injury while being involved in an altercation that started inside and then proceeded outside a restaurant/nightclub on Newbury Street in Boston. After three years of litigation involving taking witness testimony all over the country, the case was tried for over three weeks in Federal Court in Boston. Before trial, counsel had conducted six different focus groups with a national trial consultant to craft the best trial message. The jury returned a verdict for just under $4.5 million dollars. The case was featured in a book called Winning Case Preparation After the verdict, the parties settled for $5,507,697.50 which represented the verdict plus pre-judgment interest.
After settling the underlying claim, the client brought suit against the insurer for bad faith under G.L. c. 176D. He alleged that the insurance company violated G.L. c. 93A, §9 by failing to make a reasonable offer when liability was reasonably clear. The insurance company vigorously defended the claim, going to Appeals Court during the litigation. Through extensive research and going through thousands of pages of the insurance company’s file, we were able to prove that the insurer tried to take use of the fact that the client was broke and brain-damaged to leverage a better settlement. After an 8 day trial, the Court found the insurer had acted in bad faith but did not award punitive damages because it was not willful or knowing. We appealed and sought to have the Appeals Court award punitive damages. In April 2020, the Appeals Court reversed the trial court holding and ordered that the Trial Court should have awarded punitive damages. After the Supreme Judicial Court refused to hear the insurer’s request for a further appeal, the case eventually settled for $11,500,000 in September 2020.
This was the largest total personal injury verdict awarded in Massachusetts in 2020