HUGE Med Mal Verdict Shows Importance of Offer of Compromise

Smart Lawyering Adds About $30MM to $58MM Verdict

Personal injury powerhouse Kathleen Nastri of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder secured a $58MM verdict in a case where an bigstock_Money___922494[1].JPGobstetrician failed to deliver a baby by caesarean section immediately upon discovering certain conditions.  The baby, born two days later by caesarean section after mom went into labor, developed cerebral palsy and needs extensive home care.

Most of us will not have this day in the sun in our careers, but let me highlight something we all can do:  file an offer of compromise pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-192a.  This is NOT limited to personal injury cases -- I use them all the time in business litigation. 

By filing an offer of compromise, you say, "This is what my client will take to settle this matter."  The defendant has 30 days to accept the offer. 

If the defendant doesn't accept, and the damage award at trial is greater than the offer, the plaintiff is awarded 8% prejudgment interest on the entire amount of the damage award from the date the complaint was filed if the offer is filed within 18 months of the filing date, or from the date of the filing of the offer, if the offer is filed more than 18 months.

Add a few years for the case to wend its way through the justice system, and you've got some serious bucks and serious leverage in a settlement scenario.

Federal Judge Rules: Mark Zuckerberg is Not Moving Back In With The Rents

Billionaire 20-Something CEO Remaining in Cali "Indefinitely"

Flowers and Golden Gate.bmpU.S. District Judge Richard Arcana ruled yesterday that after moving to California in 2004, starting up a multi-billion dollar company in California that currently has more than 1,600 employees in California, and never returning to reside in New York, Mark Zuckerberg is domiciled in California.  (Read the decision: Facebook Ruling.pdf.)

Why does this matter?  Good old diversity of citizenship.  Plaintiff Paul Ceglia brought a lawsuit against Zuckerberg in New York state court, claiming that he owns 84% of Facebook.  Zuckerberg's lawyers removed to federal court on diversity jurisdiction grounds.  Zuckerberg resides in California, Facebook, Inc. is a Delaware corporation, and Ceglia resides New York.  

Ceglia moved for remand, arguing that because Zuckerberg represented in a lawsuit commenced in 2004 that he was domiciled in New York, he is a New York domiciliary for the purposes of a lawsuit commenced in 2010.  If true, this would destroy diversity:  both Ceglia and Zuckerberg would be New York residents and the federal court would not have jurisdiction.  

So much can -- and has -- changed in the ensuing 6 years.  Zuckerberg went from being a 20-yr old college sophomore on a leave of absence, spending some time in Palo Alto as he worked on his little Internet start-up, to Time's Person of the Year and a key figure in the Middle East uprisings.  All while residing in California. 

I just don't see Ma and Pa Zuckerberg setting up a basement apartment for young Mark anytime soon, and neither did Judge Arcana.

I can't say that I fault Ceglia's lawyers.  I'd rather roll the dice on his case in state court than federal court.