Leininger v. Sherwin-Williams & ACE/Chubb Insurance Company (direct action state)
Late Thursday afternoon a jury in New Orleans vindicated Sherwin-Williams and rejected the “plaintiff litigation mill” grab for $2,500,000 for a claimed traumatic brain injury after an intersection accident. Liability was admitted. Steve Holden (Dallas) and co-counsel Laura Grabouski (Austin) of Holden Litigation successfully overcame Plaintiff’s two treating Neurologists’ testimony that Plaintiff had a permanent post-concussion syndrome as a result of the TBI. Plaintiff claimed five years post-accident to still having twice weekly horrific migraine headaches, and Plaintiff could not work for 8 months post-accident due to her TBI. By the time of trial, the Plaintiff had already racked up over $100,000 in medical with an anticipated $200,000+ yet to come. Not to mention lost wages, extreme pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
Pre-trial demand $400,000; trial demand $2,500,000. In closing, Holden asked the jury to award Plaintiff $67,000. The verdict was handed down 37 minutes later, awarding $72,000. Holden’s only comment immediately after the verdict was, “I guess I am slipping—where did that extra $5,000 come from?”
New Orleans is known nationally as a “hell hole” for defense claims which emboldens Plaintiff attorneys there to demand $400,000 for cases such as this against Fortune 500 companies. For over 15 years, Steve Holden has litigated many of Sherwin-Williams serious casualty and large exposure cases all over the country.
Strategically, it was decided to file an Offer to Confess for $205,000 two years ago. At that point, we were offering the highest dollar-we felt the Plaintiff WOULD NOT ACCEPT. That move will result in Sherwin-Williams not paying Plaintiff one penny.
The instructions from Sherwin-Williams to Holden was to “go into NOLA and make it known that Sherwin-Williams will pay fairly on cases of liability but will not pay ransom.”
Most memorable moment: During a particularly brutal cross-examination of the treating Neurologist, the Plaintiff attorney jumped up & stammered:
“Judge, we object, this is nothing but The Holden Show!”
Apparently, the Judge was enjoying the show too, as she quickly overruled the objection and told Holden to continue his cross-examination.
Sherwin-Williams was “in it to win it” and they did!
Steven Holden and Laura J. Grabouski
– Dr. Kevin Greve (neuropsychologist)
– Dr. Archie Melcher (neurologist)
– Dr. Neil Romero (orthopedist)
– Dr. Charles Bain (accident reconstruction/human factors)
– Dr. Troy Beaucoudray (neurologist)
– Dr. Dhanpat “DC” Mohnot (neurologist)
– Dr. David Barczyk, D.C. (accident reconstruction- not called)
Honorable Judge Paulette R. Irons
In The Civil District Court For The Parish Of Orleans State Of Louisiana
No.: 2020-00141 Division: M Section: 13
421 Loyola Avenue | Room 302 | New Orleans, LA 70112
Attorneys for Plaintiff
Alicia M. Bendana
Jennifer E. Barriere
Lorin R. Scott
Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck,
Rankin & Hubbard
601 Poydras St. | Suite 2775 | New Orleans, LA 70130
The Sherwin-Williams Team hustling to select jury challenges & strikes after voir dire: