Trials & Litigation

New trial motion says lawyer's insults and 'incurable character assassinations' prejudiced the jury

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A new trial motion filed on behalf of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. argues that a lawyer who sued the company prejudiced jurors through a “steady stream of insults” and “incurable character assassinations.”

Goodyear lawyer James Lynch, of Lynch Daskal Emery, filed the motion in New York state court on Aug. 7, the same day jurors awarded $40.1 million to a man who developed mesothelioma after years of working with Goodyear gaskets. The New York Law Journal covered the motion and a July 30 hearing in which Lynch tried, without success, to obtain a mistrial.

The plaintiff in the case was an 81-year-old Navy veteran, J. Walter Twidwell. According to a press release, he was exposed to asbestos dust when he manipulated the gaskets while conducting maintenance and repairs in engine and fire rooms. Jurors deliberated less than two hours before delivering the verdict, the release says.

Lynch’s motion said the trial conduct by Daniel Blouin, of Simmons Hanly Conroy, appears to be his modus operandi, according to the New York Law Journal.

Lynch targeted one behavior when he sought the mistrial. Lynch complained that Blouin would blurt out, “This is outrageous,” rather than saying, “Objection.”

The motion targets statements that that Blouin made during closing arguments.

During the arguments, the motion says, Blouin displayed a PowerPoint slide with the heads of two defense expert witnesses pasted onto “insulting caricatures.” Blouin called the experts “jukebox witnesses,” who “play the music” for coins.

Lynch’s motion also accuses Blouin of making a “vicious attempt to disparage” Lynch’s law partner by mischaracterizing the partner’s remarks during his argument. The partner had spoken about damages not being intended to serve as lottery awards.

Blouin had told jurors, “When I hear Goodyear equate what Walt has gone through to winning the lottery, I have to stop for a minute. Winning the lottery?”

Blouin sent the New York Law Journal a statement after it published the story. “It is unfortunate when an attorney loses a case and feels the need to undermine the court system with personal attacks in the media,” he said. “Although the court has already denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss in this case, we will further oppose any additional motions.”

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