Update on my fraud/ estate case: I won a $246,000 judgment for my client.
The bad news? Though the jury was diligent and intelligent, they were confused by the verdict form the judge drafted and put forward on the morning they began deliberations. The form gave them the option of finding for the plaintiff and awarding compensatory damages OR finding for the plaintiff and awarding punitive damages OR finding for the defendant.
The entire judgment was for punitive damages. No compensatory damages at all. And in my state (as in many) you must have compensatory damages before awarding punitive damages. The defense made a motion to set aside the verdict and they will likely succeed, given the case law. We may have to try the case again, if I can't wrangle a settlement. At first, I was pretty depressed about this until it hit me that I WON! And, if I have to retry it, I will WIN AGAIN and this time may even win bigger: compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, and fees/ costs. The judge upheld an objection to my attorney's fees/ costs exhibit which kept it out of evidence -- he admitted later that he had forgotten that we had put attorney's fees in the complaint and he should have let it come in. If we retry it, I'll get this in.
The trial ran 3.5 days. Overall, I am very, very pleased with my performance. With two exceptions, everything that I needed to get into evidence, got in. For one of those two, I thought fast and used another exhibit that was already in evidence to get the same facts before the jury. For the other, attorney's fees, it was a small loss but not critical to the case. I wish I had given the jury a very clear ask in my closing: "The evidence shows there was fraud here. Award my client ___ in compensatory damages, ___ in punitive damages, pre-judgment interest at 6%, and attorney's fees."
If the defense attorney is truly stupid enough to give me another bite at the apple, I'll win an even bigger judgment on the retrial.