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FEATURED CASE

CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA CASE SETTLES MINUTES BEFORE A $42.4 MILLION JURY VERDICT IS RENDERED


Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to provide non-economic testimony in quantifying the loss of enjoyment of life.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Case: Mark Brown and Patricia Brown v. Cirque Du Soleil Nevada, Inc., et al.

Court: Clark County District Court Case No. A448850

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Plaintiffs’ attorney J.R. Crockett, Jr. of the Law Offices of Crockett & Myers, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Judge: The Honorable Michelle Leavitt.

Case Synopsis: On January 30, 2002, Mr. Brown was working as an electrician at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Brown had been with the Bellagio Hotel for four years, and had been a journeyman electrician since 1976. He was installing electrical circuitry on the Cirque Du Soleil’s “O” performance stage. He was working underneath a 1,000 pound prop when its anchor point broke and the prop fell on him.

Mr. Brown was taken to University Medical Center where he remained in the intensive care unit for two weeks. He sustained near fatal injuries, including a depressed skull fracture, brain injury and an L-1 spinal cord injury, which resulted in incomplete paralysis of his lower extremities.

Mr. Brown lost 25% of his skull. He sustained a right orbital fracture that has necessitated extensive reconstruction to the right side of his skull and face. He encounters excruciating pain in his legs that occurs 30-40 times a day and lasts a few seconds up to a few minutes.

Expert Testimony: In this case, Mr. Johnson was retained to testify to an accepted econometric methodology that would assist the jury in quantifying the loss of enjoyment of life part of the pain and suffering that Mr. Brown had suffered. Mr. Johnson testified that:

  1. Death (the 100% loss of the intangible value of life) is the equivalent of the 100% loss of the enjoyment of life;
  2. Using the latest generally accepted Willingness-To-Pay studies (accepted by both academic and government economists), that 100% loss of enjoyment of life ranges from a low of $2.9 Million to an average of $9.9 Million (the ceiling value was for the jury to determine);
  3. The jury was then left to decide what permanent percentage deficit Mr. Brown will suffer for the rest of his life;
  4. Then the jury needed to determine where within the whole intangible value of life range (mentioned above) Mr. Brown would have lived his life had he not been injured; and
  5. The jury was to then multiply the percentage deficit (as determined in step 2) by the whole intangible value of life (as determined in step 4) to yield the total loss of enjoyment of life suffered by Mr. Brown.

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Result: The defense offered $6 Million pre-trial and asked for a defense verdict. The jury reached a verdict while the parties were finalizing a settlement. The jury verdict was for $42.4 Million. The verdict consisted of $9.5 Million in economic damages and $32.9 Million in general damages.

Attorney’s Comments: “The loss of enjoyment of life testimony was critical to the damages portion of our case. Your ability to clearly and credibly explain the loss of enjoyment of life concept gave the jury a logical, rational and understandable way to quantify the difficult area of damages. In addition, on cross-examination, every time the defense attorney (who thought he was an economist) tried to discredit your opinion, you either pointed-out an error in his math, an error in his reading the data or an error in his logic. You made the jury feel secure and comfortable with your analysis.”