1600 S. BRENTWOOD BLVD., SUITE 220 • ST. LOUIS, MO 63144 // FINNEYINJURYLAW.COM // 314-293-4222 // JULY 2019
AWAITING A VERDICT JUSTICE HANGING IN THE BALANCE
B y the time you read this, I will have received a verdict on a case I am preparing right now. I have no idea what the verdict will be, nor what the jurors will think of me, my client, the damage done to his life, and the things he has and will endure. Part of me is angry. This should be easy — this man was seriously harmed through no fault of his own, and plenty of insurance is available to pay for his loss. Just pay the man. Let me give you a little background on this case. About two years ago, I was brought in by a referring attorney who had gotten in a little over his head. By the time I was in the case, it was already six months old, and the client was angry because nothing had been done to move the case to resolution. The client was still in significant pain, and his mechanic shop was suffering with no relief in sight. I first met him at his office, which is a trailer. It sits right in front of his garage, and he leases part of the lot to an auto salesman. As you come in the door, there is a lectern with a Bible on it, and the business is named for the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Before we could even get through our introductions, the client said, “What are you gonna do for me?” He was rubbing his swollen right wrist, and his But most of me is very scared of the unknown.
eyes were bloodshot from no sleep. He was agitated, and there was serious heat behind his question. But his question was dead on. That should be the question I answer for all clients. I looked him in the eye and said only what I knew I could promise, “I am going to work as hard as I can for you. I am going to do whatever I can to help you.” I let it sit for a moment. He leaned back in his chair and just nodded his head, but his suspicion was still there. I don’t blame him. That was two years ago. Since that day, he and I have had disagreements, arguments, and many visits. In fact, as I write this, I am preparing to head to his shop to spend some more time with him. We will talk about whatever. It doesn’t really matter, but I will be enriched getting to know him — his story is remarkable. He was put in a children’s home at age 7 and was the only one of the 12 in his age group at the home to graduate high school. He went on to two years of pastoral school and started children’s programs in Oklahoma and Arizona. When his wife wanted to be closer to family, they moved to Missouri. He’s been married 38 years and has three kids, one of whom sadly passed away. He left the ministry to come home and work, so he got a job as a local delivery man. His boss soon
recognized his ability to care for cars, and he started taking care of the delivery fleet. But the extra hours didn’t lead to extra pay, and he had a family to support, so he quit. He started taking in clients at his home garage. Soon, his reputation grew, and he got too big for the house. A mechanic took notice, and offered him a job. He took it. When that mechanic then couldn’t pay his rent, my client saw a chance. He asked the landlord to take a chance on him, but the landlord said no. He asked again. And again. The landlord said he wouldn’t make it two weeks, but 25 years later, he still has his shop. He worked his body to the core in his shop every day to provide for his family, and he has arthritis from it. It comes with manual labor. But since the crash, he hasn’t been able to do much. He had surgery, but he needs more — he is in pain all the time. The defense says the injuries are not because of the crash, but because of the arthritis due to working his body so hard to provide.
We will leave it to 12 people to decide.
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