Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Gun Smokes.

Our estimated five-day trial lasted five weeks.

The wait was worth its weight in gold. The verdict came in this week: a seven figure award to my client.

According to the verdict, we proved fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of partnership, and elder abuse, among other things.

My closing argument started, "It's rare that a case has the proverbial 'smoking gun.' However, this is one of those cases. In fact, there are 72 smoking guns."

I then pointed to an enlargement of a check made payable to my client (a trust beneficiary), and the reverse evidencing that her name was forged by a person having a fiduciary duty to her and then deposited into a partnership bank account controlled by him. This pattern occurred more than 72 times. This was just part of the financial fraud that we were able to uncover and prove with the assistance of an excellent forensic accountant.

On top of the gratifying result in the form of a verdict, the judge delivered some kind remarks. The court said that on a complexity or difficulty scale this case was a 9.5 out of 10 (10 being most complex), and he was most impressed how we were able to present the case in such an understandable, cogent and persuasive fashion.

In addition to a factual setting spanning over 16 years, this case required a mastery of many different legal issues: tax, probate, trust, partnership, and corporations law, for example. A special challenge: other counsel tried the case a couple of years ago, which ended in a mistrial only after the court expressed extreme skepticism that the plaintiff (who later became my client) could ever establish fraud.

The greatest reward, however, was my 87-year-old widow client giving me a hug at the courthouse after the million-dollar-plus verdict.