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Houston attorney Stephanie Krueger obtained a favorable outcome when the jury returned a verdict for $900,000 against Plaintiff’s claims of $18 million. The trial in Harris County included attorney-driven medical bills of $1.5 million and the 30-year-old Plaintiff had six different surgeries, including two lumbar fusions and a spinal cord stimulator. Attorney-driven medical care, or lien-based medical care, involves medical care where the attorney representing the injured party enters into an agreement with the medical provider and guarantees payment as a result of the future lawsuit or settlement. This type of system can create the potential for bias and challenges to the credibility of medical expenses or treatments.

The Thompson Coe defense team conceded liability for the motor vehicle accident, including the fact that defendant had a BAC three times the legal limit, and the Plaintiff dropped his gross negligence claim hoping for large compensatory damages. During closing, the Thompson Coe trial team argued that, while the defendant caused the accident, the worst thing that ever happened to plaintiff was becoming a victim of the “litigation machine” where he was manipulated by his lawyers with unscrupulous doctors who performed several unnecessary surgeries. They explained that the average reimbursement rates for the past medical care was a fraction of the inflated $1.5M based on discovery obtained directly from the medical providers. 

“It is the jury’s job to compensate, not punish—to make whole, not make rich,” said during closing. 

After multiple medical experts and a three-day trial, the jury was left to review a single damages question with 12 lines on which opposing counsel asked for a total of $18 million. The jury returned a verdict of $900,000 for all damages. This Thompson Coe defense win is another victory against the “Reptile Theory” narrative routinely implemented by plaintiffs’ attorneys. The Reptile Theory is a trial strategy that uses fear and anger to make the jury dislike the defendant so strongly that they will award the plaintiff a grossly excessive amount of damages.

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Stephanie M. Krueger

Stephanie M. Krueger


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