Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

Choose Carefully Those Cases That You Try

The plan regarding this Trucking Blog was to identify and report on those Nevada cases that deal with trucking issues.  While it was tough to find, we think we found a good lesson about finality in the two page opinion of Shaw v. Beehive State Agric. Co-op, Inc., 92 Nev. 611, 555 P.2d 958 (1976).

This short opinion says almost nothing about the facts.  Apparently a mother sued in behalf of her son who was hurt while a passenger in the Co-op’s tractor-trailer.  The opinion does not say anything about the boy’s age, how he was hurt or the extent of his injuries.  The boy, who apparently was just a passenger, had only to prove that the driver acted unreasonably and caused his injuries.

1198084_mother_&_son However, after hearing all of the evidence, the jury found that the Co-op’s driver was not negligent.  The mother didn’t like that result and she appealed.  In the end, the Nevada Supreme Court said that it would not disturb the jury’s decision because there was substantial evidence in the record to support it.

As this mother discovered, jury decisions don’t always go the way we hope.  Although appeals will always exist, getting a verdict overturned on appeal is very difficult and expensive.  Sometimes we forget that the Nevada Supreme Court is the only court that publishes appeals in Nevada.  Of the 2,238 cases filed with that court in 2008, only 90 opinions were published.  Download the Court’s Annual Report HERE.

We can’t be making decisions about which cases go to trial based upon the idea that there will always be an appeal.  Realize that in most instances, the jury is where the final decision in the case will be made.  If you don’t think you can win your case in front of the jury, you are better off looking for a good settlement.