A trial lawyer from California claims that he did not have the authority to settle a case for $350,000 just before the jury said that they planned to give his client, who suffered a brain injury, $9 million. Deliberation between the jury took just four hours before they were able to reach a verdict in the case. The case involved a developmentally disabled man who fell from an ambulance and suffered brain injuries.
The lawyer working for the plaintiff, C. Michael Alder, reached a settlement of $350,000 on January 30 but it was not put into the record or in writing prior to the planned verdict. According to Judge Michael Johnson, “all hell broke loose. Mr. Alder was yelling in the hallway, came into the courtroom and he was yelling in the courtroom. At one point he told me to call the jurors back and take the verdict. It was chaos.”
Following a recess of 90 minutes, Alder informed the judge that he accepted the offer of $350,000 without the approval of his client, therefore not giving him permission to settle the case. On Wednesday of this week, Johnson is on the schedule to hear arguments from Alder in his bid for a new trial for the case.