Court of Appeals Affirms Novel Defense Raised by Matt Hurst
In early 2019, Matt Hurst began defending a case in which his client was alleged to have caused an automobile accident while DUI (and accused to have fled the scene). Further complicating things was the fact that Plaintiff was an attorney, and the owner of a personal injury law firm. Though the bodily injury suffered by Plaintiff was extremely minor, the facts of the case made it such that there was a substantial risk that a very large punitive damages verdict might be returned. Plaintiff, in an attempt to maximize her recovery, attempted to file separate and distinct lawsuits in separate Courts. Plaintiff filed a Pro Se Complaint in Magistrate Court to recover for bodily injury (which included a substantial lost wage component) and hired counsel to file her claim for property damage and punitive damages in State Court. Plaintiff’s last demand for her case involving punitive damages was for $100,000.00.
In preparing his defense, Matt Hurst noticed that though each Complaint had a very different focus, they both contained the same factual allegation, namely that “Defendant struck Plaintiff’s vehicle, causing bodily injury and property damage.” Based upon this shared allegation, Matt Hurst was able to resolve the Magistrate Court action and then move to have the remaining action dismissed due to the claims having already been adjudicated. The trial court granted the motion, and Plaintiff appealed. On June 6, 2023, the Court of Appeals issued an Order affirming the dismissal of Plaintiff’s lawsuit.