This is one of the most common war stories you hear in the medical malpractice world – someone in the courtroom collapses during a medical malpractice trial, and the defendant doctor runs in to render aid and save the day.
Everyone claims to know someone this has happened to. It’s the Eddie Murphy in the elevator of lawyer stories.
Here’s one time it actually happened.
Bottom line is that the District Court allowed everyone involved to compose themselves over the lunch hour, polled the jury, and when the jury said they could still be fair and impartial, refused the Plaintiff’s request for a mistrial. The Court of Appeals reversed.
I tend to agree with the Court of Appeals. The bigger key is that if this happens to you, there are some citations in the opinion with other cases – so remember that if you need a quick brief on the issue.
EDIT: The Iowa Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and allowed the verdict to stand. I disagree, but I see their logic. The opinion is here.
(Howard Zimmerle is a personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer in Rock Island, Illinois, practicing in Iowa and Illinois. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or at hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).
A certain firm (I won’t link to them) has been flooding the Iowa airwaves with TV ads featuring William Shatner. We all love Shatner, right? He’s Captain Kirk! He’s Denny Crane! He was on that episode of the Twilight Zone where the Gremlin attacks the plane!
So if this firm could get William Shatner’s support, they must be pretty good, right?
Well, here is William Shatner shilling for some other law firms:
Some firm in Bakersfield California
This one in Virginia
This one in Detroit
You get the idea. There’s a company that cranks these ads out for law firms all over the country. Sometimes they claim to be “local” and say the name of your community when they are in, say, Wisconsin.
That’s not to say that firms who use these ads are bad lawyers. Or good lawyers. I’m sure some are good, some are bad – all have a good advertising budget.
Just know what’s going on. Do your research when picking a lawyer.
(Howard Zimmerle is an attorney with Warner & Zimmerle. We have offices in Rock Island Illinois and Davenport Iowa. We don’t claim to have other offices. William Shatner has never said our name, to the best of our knowledge. You can reach us at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).
Interesting Iowa Supreme Court decision today. The essential holding is that a party to a civil action does not necessarily have to show up for trial if they can prove their case otherwise. Of course, in most cases, I’d strongly recommend that your client show up.
The real takehome lesson for lawyers here is to make sure to subpoena the opposing party for trial if you need/want any of their testimony. In Illinois, one would do something similar with a Rule 237 notice.
(Howard Zimmerle is a trial lawyer practicing in Iowa and Illinois. He represents people who have been injured in car accidents, by medical malpractice, or in many other ways. He can be reached at hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com or 309-794-1660).