Cavanagh attorney Richard Mear recently obtained a defense verdict on behalf of private landowners in Bisbee, Arizona, who alleged to have negligently caused the collapse of a 60 foot wide and 15-foot tall retaining wall resting between their property and the plaintiff’s uphill property. The plaintiffs demanded over a quarter of a million dollars to settle the case, seeking damages for rebuilding the wall, damaged property, and loss of use of their property. Mear’s clients brought counterclaims alleging that the uphill neighbor’s negligence actually caused the wall’s collapse and created a nuisance and trespass and resulted in significant property damage.
The case involved expert testimony from geotechnical engineers, arborists and general contractors each opening on the cause of the walls collapse and the damages involved. After two weeks of trial testimony, the jury deliberated approximately five hours before unanimously returning a defense verdict on behalf of Mear’s clients. Not only that, the jury also awarded Mear’s clients approximately $230,000 in damages under theories of negligence, trespass, and nuisance. The Court also awarded Mear’s clients over $25,000 in costs and sanctions following a previous Rule 68 offer of judgment.
The homeowners’ personal counsel relayed her appreciation to the insurance carrier that hired Mear for the defense of her clients:
“Mr. Mear provided excellent representation in what turned out to be a very complicated legal matter. I can’t say enough about how well prepared, effective and insightful Richard was. His scorching cross-‐examinations of adverse witnesses and experts exposed the spurious claims for what they were. And his insistence upon the thorough preparation of all defense witnesses ensured that the presentation of the defense case was cohesive and coherent -‐ something particularly important given the unique factual inquiries necessary in the case. Richard’s thorough development of the defense position and understanding of both the substantive issues and the law kept the litigation on track and was the reason a defense verdict for his clients was achieved. I have been practicing law for approximately 25 years. Richard Mear is one of the best trial lawyers I have ever been honored to work with and I just wanted to be sure you knew what a fantastic defense lawyer [the carrier] has retained.”