Strauss Factor Attorney Diane Kildea Wins Her First Superior Court Trial
Fresh off her completion of the rigorous MCLE trial practice course, Strauss Factor attorney Diane Kidlea won her first Superior Court "trial." It began as an apparently simple bench hearing to prove damages in a defaulted subrogation action. However, defendant attempted to vacate the default and contest liability. The court heard testimony on those issues so the practical result was a trial on the merits over several days. Nonetheless, the court rendered a written decision that defendant was appropriately defaulted and that the subrogee would obtain judgment for the full amount it had paid its insured for her personal injuries and property damage plus interest and cost.
The trial court made some interesting rulings in its decision. Diane had moved to strike defendant's testimony on liability on the grounds she had been defaulted. The court held that although defendant was appropriately defaulted it could consider her testimony for other reasons and denied the motion. Specifically, Defendant testified she was in the subject accident and claimed the other driver was not the insured but some other person. Diane used police reports of other accidents in which defendant had been involved to challenge her credibility. Defendant admitted she was in the other accidents, too, but could not remember their locations. The court said the reports were properly used in an attempt to refresh the defendant's recollection but were properly excluded as exhibits. It held it was appropriate for the court to consider defendant's testimony respecting the reports and other accidents because it reflected on her credibility.
Government Employee Insurance Co. v. Blair, P.C. 12-3754, slip op., (R.I. Super. Dec. 6, 2013)
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