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WCM Obtains Defense Verdict in Philadelphia In-Person Trial

June 4, 2021

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<p style="text-align: justify;">WCM Partner Bob Cosgrove and Counsel Matthew Care with the assistance of associates Ben Ferrell and John Lang and summer associates Halley Matthes and Jean Scanlan obtained a defense verdict in the case of <em>Hakim Scott v. Murano Deli v. Charlie Kim</em>.  In this complicated procedural case, in May 2013, Hakim Scott was stabbed in his left thumb while leaving a deli/bar.  The stabbing was committed by an intoxicated patron.  When Hakim Scott sued the deli/bar, the deli/bar’s insurance company, Leading Insurance, disclaimed coverage based upon the policy’s assault and battery exclusion.  The deli/bar then sued Leading Insurance and, our client, Charlie Kim, the broker who procured the policy.  As relevant to Charlie Kim, this third-party complaint was originally filed in 2015 as a broker professional negligence claim.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">On May 7, after thrice denying our motion to bifurcate the E&amp;O claims from the underlying assault case, a COVID protocol in-person jury was selected and Hakim Scott’s doctor examined/cross-examined on video.  Opening statements were set for May 10.  On the morning of opening statements, the court granted Hakim Scott’s motion to bifurcate the assault claims from the E&amp;O claims.  An hour later, after we were excused from the courtroom, Hakim Scott entered into a $900,000 consent judgement against the deli/bar owner and the deli/bar owner assigned all of its rights against Charlie Kim to Hakim Scott.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">On May 28, the Friday before Memorial Day, a second COVID protocol in-person jury was selected.  Trial was set to begin on the Tuesday after Memorial Day.  On that Tuesday, right before opening statements, the court “trifurcated” out the issue of damages (and the reasonableness of the plaintiff’s $900,000 settlement) and allowed the deli/bar owner (through its new counsel) to file an amended complaint asserting a new theory of liability, i.e. negligent misrepresentation.  The professional negligence claim was dropped.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Trial thereafter began.  The jury was effectively presented with two alternative versions of the facts – one in which our client, the broker, claimed that he advised the deli/bar owner that the policy had Dram Shop coverage, but not assault and battery coverage, or one in which the deli/bar owner claimed that our client, the broker, told him that the policy covered “everything”.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">After a three day trial, the jury got the case.  They were asked four questions (and we’re paraphrasing slightly):</p>

<ol style="text-align: justify;">
<li>Did Charlie Kim make a material misrepresentation to the deli/bar owner in respect of the insurance?</li>
<li>If yes, did he know or should have he known that the statement was false when made?</li>
<li>If yes, did he make the statement with the intent to induce the deli/bar owner to rely on it?</li>
<li>If yes, did the deli/bar owner justifiably rely upon the statement and suffer damages?</li>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In an 8-0 verdict, the jury answered the first question in the negative thereby granting us a defense verdict.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">For more information about this win, or WCM’s trial practice, please contact <a href="">Bob.</a></p>


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