SKILLED TRIAL LAWYERS FOR PEOPLE FACING POWERFUL FORCES
Many lawyers fear juries and avoid trial. Not us. We prepare for trial from Day 1.
We take fewer cases, and work them hard.
Our strategy puts defendants in the horns of a dilemma:
1) settle early and pay you a reasonable sum for the harm they’ve caused; or:
2) face us at trial and risk the jury’s verdict.
OUR TRIAL LAWYERS
We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients.
We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely. We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case. We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well. We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case. We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial.
Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward. Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.
If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit. Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required. We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points. Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims. A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations. Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.
Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions. Not us. Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity. We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case. Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections. We view this as a wonderful opportunity. In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on. We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t. The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts. We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny. Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true. And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA. That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.
One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery. We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery. This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses. This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.
This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible. So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true. That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes. We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is. We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.
The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases. We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery. We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.
Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.
After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.
This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries. We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials. At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct. As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.
WHAT MAKES MADIA NEWVILLE UNIQUE?
We’re trial lawyers who try cases to juries. We think like trial lawyers and prep every case for trial, from Day 1.
Many lawyers claim to be trial lawyers but have never actually tried a case in front of a jury. Actual courtroom experience is a critical skill in medical malpractice, personal injury, employment, civil rights, and nursing home abuse cases – you need a lawyer who knows the courtroom and is eager to get your case in front of a jury. You don’t want someone who will beg the other side to settle because they don’t have experience trying cases – that’s a surefire way to get nothing.
We have tried hundreds of cases and dozens of jury trials. In fact, other lawyers hire us to try their cases for them to juries. We know our way around the courtroom and we love trying cases. If the defendant is willing to do the right thing and settle for a fair amount that’s acceptable to you – of course we’ll settle the case. But if not, rest easy knowing that you’ve got a TRIAL LAWYER in your corner.
We take only a few cases at a time, and we work them hard.
Madia Newville has a different business model than many plaintiff’s side law firms. Many firms try to sign up as many clients as they can and settle the cases as quickly as possible for a relatively modest amount of money in order to move on to the next case. They make their money on volume. Madia Newville is different. We screen cases heavily and take on far fewer cases than most firms – we then litigate those cases hard for several months and sometimes, years. Madia Newville takes more depositions, does more discovery, and builds an iron-clad case sufficient to beat the other side’s summary judgment motion. This raises the settlement value of the case by hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of percent. And of course, if the case doesn’t settle, then we’re ready, willing, and eager to try it to a jury.
We have high expectations of our clients.
We work as a team with our clients and we have high expectations for them. First, we demand complete, 100% honesty. We have to know everything – good, bad, and ugly – because we can then prepare for and deal with anything that might come up in a case. Second, we want clients who are in it for the long-haul, and recognize that we’re not a boiler-room style operation that settles cases en masse. We plan on working the case up and adding a lot of value that will pay dividends at settlement or trial. Third, we want to partner with our clients to litigate the case. We know the law, but you know the facts, witnesses, and documents. We want clients to promptly return our calls and emails (like we do for them), help us find and get in touch with friendly witnesses, and give us their thoughts on documents produced by the other side. Finally, and most important, we want clients who want to get better, and who are willing to push themselves to do it. If that means going to medical or psychological treatment, get it done. If that means finding another job, get it done. Yes, what happened to you is awful and we’re going to hold the defendant accountable for it. But your life is more important, and we want clients who take responsibility for their lives. And – by the way – your case will be much, much better if the jury knows that you’re taking charge and trying to make things better for yourself on your own, even as the lawsuit progressed.