Mike G. was a milk-man making a delivery to a customer in San Luis Obispo, when he got into a verbal argument with two employees of a local construction company. After words were exchanged, the men attacked Mike, knocking him to the ground and injuring his shoulder. Mr. Murphy brought a lawsuit on behalf of Mike for his injuries.
The case was initially tried before a jury in San Luis Obispo County; the jury held Mike to be 40% at fault and awarded him an extremely modest award – $172,000.00. The pretrial offer had been $10,000.00. Because the jury felt Mike had contributed to the incident, they did not award him general damages for pain and suffering.
Mr. Murphy filed an appeal of the jury award, citing jury misconduct for failing to award general damages when clearly such damages were due. During the pendency of the appeal, Mr. Murphy determined that to be successful in the case, he would have to personalize Mike and get the jury to like him in order to obtain the award Mr. Murphy felt Mike was entitled to receive.
Mr. Murphy spent $15,000.00 to prepare a “day-in-the-life” video showing Mike delivering milk throughout the county. The video showed Mike interacting with his customers and presented to a jury the loving, kind and professional side of Mike the milk-man. The offer remained fixed at $10,000.00 and the matter was set for a second trial. The first exhibit introduced at trial was the “day-in-the-life” video. After watching the video, the jury fell in love with Mike and awarded him $1.3 million dollars for the very same injuries the previous jury had awarded $172,000.00. This time the jury did not hold Mike to be at fault; the case settled for $1,500,000.00 after a four year battle.