I saw this case report in a couple of places. I really don’t know anything about the facts of the case – and experience has taught me that media reports often get it wrong. However, reading about this case is a reminder that, in fact, plaintiffs can and do lose cases. If 33 years as a trial lawyer has taught me anything, I have learned that there are no absolutely certainties in the law business. Good lawyers are good at estimating the odds of success in any given matter, but whatever actually happens in any particular case is 100%.
Despite our best efforts, almost any lawsuit will have a few surprises. There are twists and turns. Sometimes these work to our benefit, sometimes not. I will also say that if you go to trial in almost any matter, there is a significant chance of an unexpected outcome. I have often referred to it as the “crazy factor.” Somewhere around 10% of the time if a case is actually tried, whether to a judge or jury, you can see a result that almost no one would have predicted beforehand. I have seen this in cases ranging from traffic court, to medical malpractice jury trials and even FTCA cases with a learned Federal judge presiding – the whole gamut.
Law is not always a precise process. In fact, in most cases it is not. This is why you need a lawyer with broad experience handling whatever sort of case you have. That does not guarantee a good result, but the right lawyer significantly increases the odds of you getting the better result.
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Image Credit: The Buffalo News, Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Buffalo. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News file photo)