Suffolk County, [Sept. 25, 2023] - In a remarkable trial victory, attorney Maggy Mazlin achieved a unanimous defense verdict, rejecting a $9 million settlement demand and concluding over 5 ½ years of litigation. The trial, held in Suffolk County, saw a jury deliberation of just 25 minutes on liability before determining that WSHB’s client was not negligent.
“My clients were incredibly supportive of taking this case to trial, even in the face of consistently increasing settlement demands,” said Mazlin. “Originally, plaintiff demanded $6 million, but went up to $9 million. Before they would even commit to mediation, they wanted $1 million on the table. That said and all things considered, we made no offers heading into and even through trial.”
The case revolved around a collision between a shuttle van and a massive Mack garbage truck. The plaintiff, a shuttle van driver for a prominent Manhattan hospital, claimed severe injuries as a result of the incident. Mazlin represented the lessor, lessee (a demolition company), and the driver of the Mack truck, an experienced professional with 38 years of truck driving under his belt.
With liability at the forefront, the trial became a battle of credibility between the two drivers. The jury was tasked with determining which driver they found more trustworthy and believable. Mazlin dedicated a substantial amount of time to preparing her client for his testimony, ultimately making him an exceptional witness who captivated the jury with his candor, sincerity, and engaging presence.
During cross-examination, plaintiff's counsel failed to discredit WSHB’s client, further solidifying the defense's position. The plaintiff, on the other hand, appeared dishonest during Mazlin's strategic and grueling cross-examination, exposing his true colors.
The plaintiff, a 43-year-old man, claimed multiple injuries including neck herniations, rotator cuff and labral tears, meniscal tears, a lower back herniation, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. The trial would have featured testimonies from various medical professionals hired by plaintiff, including surgeons, pain management specialists, and mental health professionals. However, the defense had its own team of experts ready to challenge these claims and provide alternative explanations.
One significant hurdle in the case was the workers' compensation lien for benefits received by the plaintiff, amounting to nearly $800K, which posed a challenge to settlement negotiations. Despite the plaintiff's demand of $9M, the defense made no offers leading up to the trial.
“Our client was not liable, it is that simple,” said trial lawyer Maggy Mazlin. “Juries are smart, they can see where the truth lies, and this jury got it absolutely right. We did not offer anything but nothing was owed, despite the truly excessive settlement demands from the plaintiff throughout the course of the litigation.”
Suffolk County's bifurcated trial system necessitated a liability determination before. The plaintiff could proceed to the damages phase. Anticipated to last 3 to 4 weeks due to the number of experts slated to testify on both sides, Mazlin skillfully convinced the jury to swiftly find her client not negligent, eliminating the need for a damages phase. This outcome brought immense joy to the clients and insurers involved.
Assisting Mazlin throughout the trial was Michael Levy, who contributed significantly to the preparation and execution of the defense's case.
This resounding victory further underscores Maggy Mazlin's reputation as a formidable trial force in the legal industry. Her dedication, expertise, and tireless efforts have once again proven instrumental in securing justice for her clients.
About Wood, Smith, Henning and Berman LLP
WSHB is a premier national law firm that offers world-class representation for clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 corporations, with an emphasis on small to middle market firms. It offers services across a comprehensive range of practice areas. By combining decades of experience and in-depth legal knowledge with innovative management and the use of technology, we anticipate problems, seize opportunities and get cases resolved.