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By Any Count, It's Trial by Fire

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By: Patrick J. Giese

Thirty-six.  The number of days our doors had been open before going out for the first of two, simultaneous, complex medical malpractice trials.

Sixteen.  Total trial days.

Eight.  The number of floors between courtrooms.

Five.  The number of attorneys charged with handling these cases.

Four.  The number of tireless support staff tending to every detail.

Two.  The number of families for whom we had the privilege of seeking justice.

On May 14, Bob Geimer and Shawn Kasserman argued motions in limine before Judge Elizabeth Budzinski on the 20th floor of the Daley Center in a shoulder dystocia case that resulted in permanent injuries to the young man’s brachial plexus nerves.  On May 16, Tim Tomasik and Dan Kotin argued motions in limine before Judge Daniel Lynch on the 28th floor of the Daley Center in a botched circumcision case.

And just like that, we were off and running.  Just 36 days into the life of our brand new firm, working in temporary office space with ad hoc furniture and no conference room, we were trying two medical malpractice cases to juries.  In my first 19 months of practice, I hadn’t yet had the privilege of working on a jury trial.  So the thought of working on two at once was daunting.  To the TKK partners, it was a new challenge they couldn’t wait to confront.

As TKK’s only associate attorney, I spent the days during trial treading a path between Judge Budzinski’s and Judge Lynch’s courtrooms.  There, I would observe testimony, provide assistance, and watch TKK’s partners slug it out with some of the best attorneys the medical malpractice defense bar has to offer.  Though, I quickly learned that the rigors of trial do not end when the jury goes home in the evening.  In fact, my days often felt like they began after 5:00 p.m.  I spent nights during trial conducting research, drafting briefs and motions, and analyzing that day’s testimony, all under the guidance of Tim, Dan, Shawn, and Bob and with the assistance of the best legal support staff in Chicago.

Over the course of the two trials, we drafted over 50 motions in limine and more than 20 briefs.  We pored over thousands of pages of deposition and trial transcripts.  We fretted over trial strategy.  We added and abandoned theories.  Fortunately, when the dust settled, justice prevailed and we obtained a $1.357 million verdict in the circumcision case, and a pre-verdict settlement with one of the defendants in the shoulder dystocia case.  The jury hung six to six against another defendant, and we will re-try that case in August.  It was a privilege to assist in representing these families.

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