Litigation Team Secures Deliberate Intent Win

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In the Fifth Judicial Circuit, Bowles Rice won a jury verdict in a deliberate intent trial, arguing plaintiffs' counsel failed to prove three key elements of a deliberate intent claim.

The plaintiff alleged that he fell through a floor at his place of employment and suffered severe injuries. After recovering from his injuries, plaintiff returned to work, and proceeded to sue his employer.

At trial, Bowles Rice attorneys cross-examined the plaintiff, handled the fact witnesses and made both the opening statement and closing argument. In closing, Bowles Rice argued that plaintiffs' counsel had failed to prove three key elements of a deliberate intent claim:  (1) actual knowledge [on the part of the employer] of a specific unsafe working condition; (2) that the specific unsafe working condition violated an industry-wide statute, standard, rule or regulation; and (3) that the employer intentionally exposed the plaintiff to the specific unsafe working condition.

Plaintiff's trial counsel argued that the defendant had a duty to know the load rating on the floor and had placed too heavy a load on the floor. However, plaintiff’s own expert did not know the floor rating. Bowles Rice deftly cross-examined the expert and stressed to the jury that there could be no violation of the load rating, if no one knew the load rating or the weight of the load that was allegedly placed on the floor.

At the conclusion of the three-day trial, the jury deliberated for 20 minutes and returned a full defense verdict in the employer’s favor.