Over the years, Orange County juries have developed a reputation for being tightfisted with money. That reputation is undeserved. It simply means that our juries require sufficient evidence to support a large verdict. There been a number of the very substantial verdicts coming out of Orange County. A recent one is $38.6 million awarded to a man who suffered serious brain injury when falling off a Newport Beach hotel balcony.
No one witnessed the accident. The man was intoxicated at the time he fell off the balcony. The balcony rail was 8 inches lower than that required by California safety regulations. The plaintiff’s attorney represented to the jury immediately that his client was drunk, but that he was attempting to return to his room. He was not breaking the law at the time. The defendant apparently thought that the man's intoxication would result in most of the blame being placed on the plaintiff. The defendant focused on the bad behaviors of the plaintiff. That strategy apparently backfired.
The case was heard in Orange County Superior Court (Santa Ana) before Judge Charles Margines, and is entitled Von Norman v. Newport Channel Inn, 30–2010–00423312. Verdict date: 7-26-12.
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