Earlier this month, an appellate court in Nevada issued a written opinion affirming the reversal of a $1.2 million jury verdict in favor of a wrongful death plaintiff after a lower court determined that the plaintiff’s attorney committed fraud on the court. In the case, Adams v. Fallini, the court upheld the lower court’s decision to reverse the verdict, based on statements made in court documents that were known to be untrue when they were made.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff in this case was the mother of a man who was killed when he struck a cow while driving on a Nevada highway. In Nevada, there is an “open range” law that prevents a farm owner from being held liable if one of his animals causes a traffic accident while in an area specifically designated as an open range.
After her son’s death, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, who owned the animal that caused the accident. The defendant’s attorney failed to respond to the allegations, and judgment was entered for the plaintiff in the amount of $1.2 million. Once the defendant realized her attorney failed to participate in the case, the defendant sought reconsideration, but that request was denied.
Later, through a different attorney, the defendant filed a post-trial motion, alleging that the plaintiff had committed fraud on the court and that the verdict should be reversed as a result. The defendant pointed to the plaintiff’s earlier motion, alleging that the accident did not occur in a designated open-range area. As it turns out, prior to the beginning of the trial, the plaintiff had created a website to bring awareness to the unfairness of open range laws, acknowledging that her son’s death occurred in an open-range area but stating that the application of the law unfairly affects those injured by wandering farm animals. This was directly in contrast to the assertion in the plaintiff’s motion, claiming that the accident did not occur in an open range area.
The court agreed that the plaintiff made assertions that were known to be false in the motion for summary judgment. The court explained that the plaintiff knew the accident occurred in an open range area, as evidenced by the website, but claimed that wasn’t the case so that the claim would not be dismissed. Furthermore, the court held that it was only because the defendant’s attorney failed to respond to the motion that judgement was entered in favor of the plaintiff.
The Line Between Argument and Fabrication
Being truthful is incredibly important in Maryland personal injury cases, and a personal injury attorney must walk a fine line between being an aggressive representative for his client and misrepresenting facts. Anyone injured in a Maryland car or car accident should seek the counsel of a dedicated, honest, and well-respected personal injury attorney to ensure the proper handling of their case.
Are You in Need of an Attorney?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland auto accident, and you need a diligent and aggressive personal injury attorney, consider the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. With decades of experience handling all types of personal injury cases, the skilled advocates at Lebowitz & Mzhen have the knowledge, skill, and dedication necessary to succeed in any type of personal injury case. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation for you or your family unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Case against Apartment Complex Not Barred by Immunity Statute, Maryland Accident Law Blog, December 15, 2016.
Plaintiff Unsuccessful in Car Accident Case Due to Failure to Establish Causation, Maryland Accident Law Blog, January 2, 2017.