The two people on the right of this picture are happy Merlin Law Group policyholder clients following a jury trial verdict this week. The verdict amount was greater than the public adjuster’s estimate. I would be smiling as well with that result. Attorneys Dennis Bailey and Anthony Orlando along with paralegal Genevib Bertoncini were the trial team achieving this result.
Our firm’s point of emphasis this year has been to get case resolutions faster. Cases that drag on are usually not good for policyholders—even the insurance company ends up paying a lot in attorney’s fees and costs that could have gone for settlement. But the only policyholders that are going to get a full settlement are those with attorneys who will try cases.
We added Dennis Bailey to our trial team a little over a year ago, as noted in Former Judge Dennis Bailey To Head Merlin Law Group Trial Division. Genevib Bertoncini said that ‘Dennis just seemed to command the attention of the jury and the judge throughout the entire trial.’ As a former trial judge, I know he observed and learned what behavior is effective in front of a jury versus ineffective trial advocacy.
When speaking with Anthony Orlando, I could tell that he had emotional involvement with the case based on some derogatory comments made by a non-trial attorney with the opposing law firm. He wrote:
It feels incredible to get the justice that Carolina and Alejandro deserved. From the day they submitted their Irma claim, First Community knew that they were going to try and not give these people a dime. When we called their corporate representative to the stand and questioned how they anticipated litigation prior to even making a coverage decision, the truth came out.
I put my heart and soul into this one. An opposing counsel who was not at the trial underestimated me – merely because of my age.
I cannot thank Dennis Bailey enough for helping weave together the evidence beautifully so that the jury could understand and render a proper verdict. Dennis’ closing argument was personally the best closing argument I had ever seen – and seeing the culmination of all our hard work being presented in the way he had presented it. This case and our client’s claim became very personal for me.
I also have to thank Genevib Bertoncini, Nicholas Conklin, and Carter Bess for all their help along the way. It truly was a team effort.
Anthony did have some very kind words for the opposing trial attorney, Michael Rudd. He told me that he had to “give Rudd credit. He was very effective and a worthy trial attorney.” Insurance company attorneys often are looked at much more harshly than the adjusters, but they are just doing a job and often take the facts of a case as given to them by those adjusters.
There will undoubtedly be post-trial proceedings before the claim gets paid. Still, this victory is pretty sweet. Having a team approach to trial preparation and presentation is important. It is certainly much better than the days 30 years ago when I would be rolling my evidence and trial briefs to court by myself.
Thought For The Day
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.