Mike Duffy sent me the jury verdict questionnaire form early yesterday morning. He and Christina Phillips were in a trial representing a condominium association in Wisconsin. After I read it, I asked how we could win because the questions seemed so unfair. It seemed impossible.
Then Mike Duffy wrote back about Christina Phillips’s tremendous job on the trial testimony and relating common sense facts so the jury could understand. He told me that Christina was going to make the closing statement.
It did not surprise me that Christina did so well. Nearly six years ago to the day, I wrote Christina Phillips Becomes Chair of the ABA Property Insurance Law Subcommittee. I noted how she became the leader of a group of property insurance specialists that I was never asked to become the chair of after being a vice-chair for a decade. Christina Phillips has long carried the respect of colleagues doing this line of work on both sides of the aisle. In an age of fake expertise abounding all over social media, Christina is a Contender and not a Pretender.
While the jury was in deliberations, he wrote me about how much Christina had grown as a trial attorney. No matter the outcome, he noted that it was obvious she connected with the jury, commanded respect, and learned to lose her fears while sharing with a jury.
Our client prevailed. The insurer had not offered a penny. It was a case the insurer must have believed nothing was owed. With two law firms and six experienced attorneys opposing us, the insurer’s defense costs and fees must have approached, if not exceeded, the verdict.
I once wrote the following in a post following a prior trial victory:
I have emphasized that our firm should pursue resolution through trial whenever insurers adjust claims in a manner that delays, under values, or wrongfully denies a covered loss. If insurers do not understand that their insureds are represented by attorneys who will competently, aggressively, and ethically litigate these claims, they may be tempted to adjust claims in a manner that favors the company’s bottom line and not their insured’s best interests.
Christina was very humble and excited. She told me about all the hard work Mike Duffy and Ed Eshoo had done to make this win possible. She thanked her client’s officers and members for not giving up.
We still have that emphasis with a great insurance trial team. I feel lucky to work with such exceptional people who happen to be great attorneys in this field of law.
Thought For The Day
I get by with a little help from my friends.