A criminal defense lawyer, his plaintiff’s counsel, an ex-district attorney’s investigator and his lawyer this month walked into a bar, no, a federal courthouse.
James Crawford, the criminal defense lawyer, said something like, “I deserve $2 million because the investigator pulverized my face with his fist in a 2016 Orange County Superior Court brawl.”
His lawyer, Jerry Steering, gave the jury an odd alternative suggestion, saying, “Maybe you buy him a Bentley.”
According to Meghann Cuniff of the Daily Journal, Steering also advised the panel, “I didn’t go to law school thinking I’d sue police officers. I just wanted to be an ambulance chaser and do criminal cases. It just didn’t work out that way.”
Norm Watkins, the wily lawyer for ex-Orange County district attorney’s office investigator Dillon Alley who used a professional jury consultant, introduced evidence that Crawford, the self-described victim in the dispute, has a history of calling women the “c-word.”
Please know that the jury inside U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter’s courtroom was comprised entirely of women except for a lone man, a former postal worker.
After the four-day trial inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, they stunned Crawford and Steering by awarding Alley $250,000 in punitive damages.
(The investigator claims Crawford caused the beating by first smacking him in the face and pulling his tie so tightly that it later had to be cut off.)
Steering gave Cuniff an explanation for the loss: Carter permitted “beyond prejudicial” testimony about Crawford’s “c-word” usage.
He said, “It’s like having a bunch of black people on a jury and allowing in the “n-word.”