Donahoe Kearney - June 2020



In “The Verdict,” Frank Galvin is not in a good space. His law practice is in trouble, his reputation is well on its way to ruin, and he is literally down to one client. His life has become distilled to this one case, and the entire thing hinges on an expert witness: a doctor who is willing to say that a catastrophic injury (in this case, the woman was completely incapacitated due to asphyxia, a lack of oxygen to her brain) was the result of malpractice. With this expert witness, Galvin’s case should have provided the jury a solid link between the injury and the malpractice. This doctor, however, was their entire case, and it completely fell apart when the doctor went missing and then pulled out of the case entirely. Even though it was clear that the victim’s injury was caused by malpractice, it was impossible to prove without the expert witness, and Galvin didn’t have enough time to prepare another expert. On top of that, Galvin had taken up with a mole, who was employed by the defense counsel to leak information. He was not in a good place. With his sharp blue eyes and eagle-like demeanor, Galvin easily conveyed his false confidence, but in reality, he was completely screwed. Here’s where Frank Galvin went wrong ( and we see a lot of lawyers make these mistakes in real life): First, lawyers should always have more than one expert in line. For a complicated injury like the one portrayed in “The Verdict” (brain damage from asphyxia due to an error with anesthesia), Galvin definitely should have had more than one expert. In many of our medical malpractice cases, we have 10 or 12 different doctors (at least) testify on every aspect of the case. And we vet our doctors carefully to make sure they are trustworthy, reliable, and credible; it just doesn’t work to have someone who just “disappears” in the middle of the case.

Galvin also had an issue because he was trying to handle the case all on his own, without any type of co-counsel — he was a true solo practitioner. At Donahoe Kearney, we have two board-certified trial attorneys covering the case, constantly conferring on strategy with a network of consultants we use “behind the scenes” as support. The good news is that Frank Galvin pulled a rabbit out of his hat. But we won’t spoil it for you — you should watch it for yourself! “The Verdict” was filmed in 1982, so you might have trouble finding it, but if you can get your hands on it, then it’s definitely worth the watch! -Brooke Birkey


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