The Supreme Court of Virginia has reinstated the full jury verdict of $6,227,000 on a Isaiah Lester’s wrongful death claim based on the loss of his wife in a car accident.
The court’s ruling in Allied Concrete Co. v. Lester closes the book on a high-profile, high-dollar p.i. case. Lester and his wife’s parents recovered more than $10 million from a Charlottesville jury. After the verdicts and during post-trial discovery, the lead plaintiff’s lawyer, Matthew B. Murray, resigned from his firm and gave up practicing law amid allegations of wrongdoing and collusion with his client. The court called Murray’s actions “patently unethical” but found that the parties got a fair trial.
The presiding judge, Edward Hogshire, left personal verdicts of $2,350,000 and $1,00,000 for the parents intact, but he knocked down the wrongful death verdict by $4,127,000. That remittitur was error, the court said in an opinion by Justice Cleo Powell.
CORRECTION: This post has been corrected to state that Murray resigned from his law practice, not from the bar.