Bad Facts Can Lead to 8 Figure Verdicts

  • 08 March, 2024
  • 75 MB

Ronan Duggan and the entire Homampour Firm do not mess around. They take cases most lawyers won’t and turn them into 8 and 9 figure verdicts. In this episode, he shares secrets of two monster verdicts of 34M and 36M, back to back, in which meth and other very bad facts were involved.

Ronan Duggan, The Homampour Law Firm


Ronan Duggan (00:08):
Ding dong.

Bob Simon (00:10):
Welcome to this episode of the Justice Team podcast on the Justice Team Network. Today we have the pleasure of having our favorite Irish Barrister on, Ronan Duggan.

Ronan Duggan (00:20):
Thank you so much, Bob. I tell you what, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’m not quite bourbon approved territory, yet.

Bob Simon (00:27):
You know what? If you get your drinking skills on, I know we meet a lot of 317s across the calendar year. If you keep it up, you might be able to get on.

Ronan Duggan (00:33):
I must say on behalf of my countrymen, we don’t know anything about this drink you talk of.

Bob Simon (00:39):
By the way, it’s Saint Patty’s Day, not St. Paddy’s Day.

Ronan Duggan (00:42):
Patrick’s or Patty’s, St. Patty is your auntie from Wisconsin or Columbus, Ohio. We don’t know her.

Bob Simon (00:48):
P-A-D-D-Y. Yeah, so Ronan, he does not like that. So we are very… Our esteemed guest today has been part of trials where they’re getting eight, nine figure verdicts on cases that are single-event auto crashes, motorcycle crashes, and the decedent or the person that was driving the motorcycle is on meth.

Ronan Duggan (01:06):

Bob Simon (01:07):
They are terrible facts, and those facts are coming in from the jury, and you guys are still achieving these results.

Ronan Duggan (01:13):
Yes, it’s important I point out at this stage, that my wing man in those operations is Arash Homampour, who’s maybe one of the most accomplished trial attorneys who’s ever done it. So I am a very, very sexy bridesmaid at Despo. But no, I mean it’s been a wondrous section of my career working with this guy. And yes, we seem to have a niche now in cases involving people who have been on drugs and had various qualities of life, et cetera. And it’s kind of perfect in so far as Mr. Homampour loves to go to trial and those are the kind of trials that defense people feel, oh, they’re just worthless. This person had a drug problem, this person was homeless, this person had X, Y and Z. And it gives you an opportunity to really go and do some avant-garde trial practice. And I get to sit there in the back like a dancer in the Backstreet Boys.

Bob Simon (02:07):

Ronan Duggan (02:09):
No, it’s been great. I want to just say before we carry on, this man, here is the reason why I became a plaintiff’s lawyer. I was one of those miserable shit head defense attorneys, no disrespect to them, they’re often lovely people. And it was Bob Simon who got me into this style of [inaudible 00:02:24]. I have to thank you live, to the masses.

Bob Simon (02:27):
You know what? I actually remember the first time we met in person, but Ronan first met because he was sliding into my DMS with a burner account trolling me, and it actually did work. And then we started talking about Dungeons and Dragons, other things. We ran a campaign actually almost three years ago to this, no, four years. It was 2020, it was right before COVID. We did our first campaign, Dungeons and Dragons, little rabble. We had our little notebooks that had our face on it. We rolled our characters. We did some dungeon crawling for the better part of the next year and a half.

Ronan Duggan (02:51):
Yeah, it was crazy. And what I remember was, I thought it was a wind up. I thought he might’ve been winding me up initially and he’s like, “We’re putting together this game.” And I said, this better not be a wind-up, but I’m going into a situation. And it wasn’t. And it became more and more like what’s actually happening here? This is weird. And I showed up at a house that I didn’t know was Brad’s house.

Bob Simon (03:11):
My brother.

Ronan Duggan (03:12):
And I’m sat out there and I’m like, there’s no one here. I’m going to get jumped by a bunch of burly Manhattan Beaters. And then Greg Shaver pulled up behind me and said, okay, okay, he could be a hit man. He may not be. And I said, okay. It started to calm down then. And we went in and sure enough we played the game. And it was some of the happiest… I’m, a gaming connoisseur.

Bob Simon (03:34):
I know.

Ronan Duggan (03:34):
You know that.

Bob Simon (03:35):
We were talking before the episode about Ronan’s getting into some War Hammer gaming with some very esteemed… Well, the guy played Superman.

Ronan Duggan (03:42):
Yeah, maybe. We’ll see. But I tell you no, I’ve been an Intel that since I was a kid. So it was great to find attorneys here that didn’t go… I say to some people, I go, what the hell’s wrong with you? And I says, well I don’t golf and I know that and I play with them toy soldiers because my life is dope and I do dope shit. It was so worth [inaudible 00:04:07].

Bob Simon (04:06):
During COVID we had our group that still got together virtually to be able to do these things and it was awesome. So I don’t think any of us were on meth though. A lot of your clients were during those sessions. I mean maybe somebody was. We had some very articulate mages they got up into very weird shit.

Ronan Duggan (04:22):
Yeah, it was great. What I really loved was, and I tended to do this and they should remain nameless for this, but we would take well-known attorneys in our community and they would become cameo characters.

Bob Simon (04:32):

Ronan Duggan (04:33):
The drowlies.

Bob Simon (04:34):
That was, the Great Wolf.

Ronan Duggan (04:35):
Sorry, Nate. You were an arch nemesis in there, but that’s only because you’re so good. We did a bit of that, didn’t we?

Bob Simon (04:43):
It was good. It was fun. And still that was the best campaign we ever did.

Ronan Duggan (04:47):
Best campaign. And do you remember some of the final battles? Sometimes when you play these games, just a dice can destroy the epicness of it. But we got lucky, didn’t we?

Bob Simon (04:56):
Yes, we did.

Ronan Duggan (04:57):
They turned into these incredible matches.

Bob Simon (04:58):
I remember when you rolled a natural, well, we could do 100s instead of 20s for something crazy that happened on that one of those hotels, or we were on a boat, I don’t remember. Anyway.

Ronan Duggan (05:07):
So we’re lawyers, Bob. We’re lawyers. Let’s get back to it.

Bob Simon (05:10):
Let’s get back to practical advice for lawyers. So their firm has got the biggest results, I mean in trial, probably in the past three years. And these are cases that most lawyers would say no to. In fact, most lawyers did say no to these cases. They were turned down. They were like this person’s 100% at fault, et cetera. So walk us through kind of the first one. What were the big issues and how did you deal with them?

Ronan Duggan (05:34):
Okay, so the first one we had, and I’ll tell the ending before I start the start the story.

Bob Simon (05:36):
I like this.

Ronan Duggan (05:36):
As my grandfather used to say. Actually we won. It was a very, very hard-fought thing. A clean as a victory as you can get. And we had an unfortunate judge who decided to order a retrial and now we’re in appeal world on that. So that somewhat took the sting out of-

Bob Simon (05:56):
And that judge is one of the worst judges, and now he’s off the bench.

Ronan Duggan (05:58):
I’m telling you what, it was unbelievable. Now I’ve practiced in two countries and I’ve never seen anything like it. This particular judge really, really just has an inbuilt bias against what plaintiff’s attorneys do.

Bob Simon (06:11):
He’ll do everything you can to try to make you lose.

Ronan Duggan (06:13):
So we were up against it from day one, and we knew that he was going to try and do that, so we were running a very clean trial. So anyway, Andrade was a case where a young gentleman, I think he was in his 20, I may screw up some of the basic facts. But he was on a motorcycle heading to work one morning and a truck going on a delivery pulled out in front of him, and he basically braked and banged into the truck and died. And leaving aside the issues of he as a person and all that and the stuff about damages, it was a complex scientific case because we had two accident reconstruction experts who were diametrically opposed, very far apart. And what we had to do was we had to engage in very expensive FEM analysis. So what happens is-

Bob Simon (07:00):
What’s FEM?

Ronan Duggan (07:00):
Yeah, Finite Element Material analysis is what it is. If there’s any engineers listening, I got it wrong, I don’t care. I’m not an engineer. So what happens is normally when crashes happen, they analyze certain markers on the road that can detect speed, and they analyze the weights involved and the crushes that happen. And they input those into various formulae and it pumps out what the speed of the traveling vehicle was, say that hits, in this case the motorcycle. And between the two accident recon, there was something like a 30 or 20 mile an hour difference. I said to myself in a rational, how is it so far apart? Obviously our-

Bob Simon (07:40):
Usually when you have the accident reconstruction it’s for both sides, they’re not too much different because it’s science.

Ronan Duggan (07:44):
Exactly. So what we ended up doing was he basically, our expert Steve Anderson, who’s absolutely brilliant.

Bob Simon (07:51):
Oh yeah, he’s your motorcycle guy.

Ronan Duggan (07:52):
If you have a motorcycle case, he’s the man. He and I must have spent hours just, he’s so generous with his time, explaining the science and he gives you a real education. Anyway, and he’s a brilliant expert.

Bob Simon (08:05):
Yes, he’s with MEA Forensic?

Ronan Duggan (08:06):

Bob Simon (08:06):
MEA forensic in Laguna.

Ronan Duggan (08:07):
And I’m telling you, if you’re out there, you have a motorcycle case, do the investment, don’t try to save on it. Get him, he’s amazing. Anyway, so what happened was I said to him, how do you definitively demonstrate this shit? What’s the gold standard? He says, “Well, the gold standard is we buy a fleet of vehicles and smash them together, and that will cost millions. But the next thing down is Finite Element analysis.” So when car companies or vehicle companies are making new vehicles, they don’t build hundreds of prototypes. They have these extremely detailed computer models where every element that goes into the car, whether it be the metal, the plastic, the rubber, whatever, the characteristics of it are perfectly mapped digitally.

Bob Simon (08:49):
Are these the manufacturers?

Ronan Duggan (08:50):
The manufacturers.

Bob Simon (08:51):

Ronan Duggan (08:51):
Now in this particular case, we got very lucky because the truck involved in the case had a model that was very, very close in the public domain. So we could get that model and run our own crash analysis with this. And sure enough, all that does is you put in the elements, you get the truck, you build an approximation of the motorcycle and you crash it. And then you can map that and show that specifically what happens versus what happened by going, if we run it at 30 miles an hour, it’ll be this deep. If we run it at 60 miles an hour this deep.

Bob Simon (09:23):
If you’re going as fast as the other side says, the body’s going to fly way further.

Ronan Duggan (09:27):
Exactly. Now, so what happened was, back up for a second. Steve said to me, he said, “Look, Ronan, I’ve seen these crashes day in day out for years, and I’m telling you that car was not doing say 60 or 70 or 80 when it hit. It was a much lower speed.” The whole truck would be basically crushed completely in. So with the model analysis we showed it, and it was so devastating to them. It really, who knows how they’re going to pivot if this thing, pivot, if this goes to another trial? But the science was clear.

Bob Simon (09:55):
I mean it seems like, we try these cases and they’re disputing liability, if you spend enough time in analysis, I know you guys are hyper focused on detail, you could really put so many holes that’ll piss off the jury.

Ronan Duggan (10:07):
Well, what happened was Arash crossed them in trial naturally enough, and it was just a machine gun, and he got a proper walloping. And it came to a point where the jury, we just felt that they understood the science about halfway through that, maybe even before. The other aspects of it… Okay, when you have one of these cases, there’s all these things that at first blush look like they’re terrible. We had two eyewitnesses saying he was speeding. We had the toxicology, we had this, we had that. We had this expert saying this. And each one of those things I think can often send us away as people who may get involved in the case. And in fairness to Arash, because he’s done so much of it and he has a scientific mind, he starts to break those things down. So the witnesses, we completely demolish them.

I tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of fancy, intricate cross-examination in my career. Arash has all of those skills. I’m not big up and I already have the job by the way, I’m not doing an interview here. But he gets up and he gets a feeling, and some trial lawyers have this and maybe people can learn it, but he just gets gut feelings about people just are going to collapse. And he literally said, he asked two questions of this eyewitness who was their key witness in terms of he was speeding. And he basically said, “That’s not true, right?” and she completely collapsed.

If you see that on paper, what did this dude do? He just asked that’s not true. Whatever it was, it was a very simple question. But he had a feeling, and he sat right on her emotionally and she just caved in. And then as they tried to pull her back and it just didn’t work. So he has that instinct to collapse people. And that can happen certainly with experts. And that’s something that a lot of us, we go in with fancy schematics to deconstruct a brain. But you get a feeling and you chase it, you go.

Bob Simon (11:52):
You got to go with it. You know how many times I’ve been in trial and one of my good friends, Grayson Cootie’s here outside the recording studio, deposition, and I remember I had this one witness on the stand and I had that feeling. I took a chance and it fucking worked. And Grayson afterward I could see the stark white, and he goes off. And he was like, “Dude, that was fucking risky.” He’s like, “That was a huge risk.” But you feel. You know whenever you have somebody, you know what I’m saying?

Ronan Duggan (12:18):

Bob Simon (12:19):
Yeah. You get that gut feeling and I mean I’ve never known had it not work, but it’s-

Ronan Duggan (12:23):
Yeah, I think-

Bob Simon (12:24):
It’s the upper level…

Ronan Duggan (12:25):
Yeah, he’s right. I think what happens is I learn by writing, so I often write outlines. But if I carry them to the lectern to do a witness or two or three, if I’m allowed, I abandon it. You must. Because what happens is you create an algorithm that starts to affect you in your questioning. And if you don’t abandon your programming when they go off and do something you’re not expecting, you’ll start to collapse a bit and the jury will sense it. So keep it open, keep it open. Barnstein, the judge, was a very difficult judge to question with because he was constantly egging on the defense to object.

Bob Simon (13:02):
He’s making his own objections. Judges don’t object, it’s crazy.

Ronan Duggan (13:06):
When you start, sometimes the judge will put you in a foundation hole, I call it. And he kept doing that in a series of questions to me. And I felt like saying, I felt like, okay, let’s start from the beginning of time. Are you on planet Earth?

Bob Simon (13:19):
Let’s lay that foundation.

Ronan Duggan (13:20):
Are you a human being?

Bob Simon (13:21):
For those that are listening, when this says lay foundation, usually the judge’s cue card to you is take a step back and then it’s reframed to make sure we understand the sandbox that you’re playing in. But a lot of times judges that are control freaks are rooting against you keep just using that to try to throw you off. And a lot of lawyers, if they stick to that script, they can’t understand. When that happens, it throws them off completely. Look, I do it to defense lawyers. I’ll, objection, foundation. And if it gets sustained, they’re so off their game, they don’t know how to backpedal it out.

Ronan Duggan (13:51):
Yeah, you collapse psychologically. So what I do is I lean into, Arash wouldn’t agree with this, that’s not his style, but we all have our own styles. I would kind of self deprecate to some degree. And I kind of turn to the jury and kind of do a bit of this. But honestly he was putting me in such a foundation hole on some of these, and this was a basic witness. This was one of the family members. And I kind of then just backed out and gone, and I backed right out. So it put the onus back on the judge to stop being a prick way.

Bob Simon (14:20):
But the jury feels it too.

Ronan Duggan (14:21):
Yeah, they feel it.

Bob Simon (14:22):
Yeah. The jury’s like, come on judge, we know they’re going to answer the question eventually. So why do we do this rigamarole?

Ronan Duggan (14:26):
Right. So you turn it into an entertaining experience for the jury. They get a little education, what’s going on. But a lot of young lawyers who go to trial get stuck in that moment and they start to panic, and then they shift away from an important section and they go to a new set of questions. Don’t. Calm down, let the jury know you’re trying to deal with a problem. And then back out to the beginning of time.

But anyway, even on the basic math, we destroyed them. But then we took it to the next level with this analysis. Again, not every firm out there, sorry, not every defense situation, or sorry. Not every case you have, you’ll actually have access to that wireframe model, the FEM model in the public domain. I suppose you could theoretically go build one, but that probably costs a million bucks or something. But we got lucky in that. And those are the things where we got lucky because we start asking the bloody right questions about where we go to definitively prove this. If an expert is saying, “Look, I’m telling you, Ronan, I’ve done this for 30 odd years. I know this is not the speed. There’s got to be something to get you there.” So when you deal with your experts… Again, I think what happens often Bob, is people are reluctant to have… I do a Colombo routine, I don’t know-

Bob Simon (15:43):
Columbo. Peter Falk. Yeah, I know Colombo.

Ronan Duggan (15:45):
But I don’t know the answers to these things. I’m not a fancy pants. Fancy pants is out there not willing to admit. I go to the experts and go, “I’m a child. You educate me about this subject.”

Bob Simon (15:54):
But that’s what you should do. You should lean on your experts to educate you because you have to do the same thing to a jury later, like a child.

Ronan Duggan (16:00):

Bob Simon (16:00):
And people don’t lean into their experts or ask them the right questions. They have a wealth of information and things they can open up to you. But a lot of lawyers get lazy. They just take what the case has give it to them, etc.

Ronan Duggan (16:10):
Well, yeah. Well I tell you, even when I started with you lot, I didn’t know anything about the kind of cases you did, the spinal stuff and all that. And I start going, okay. I start asking basic questions. I remember an early day I was in the Hermosa office and Sebi was there, and I asked him a basic propositional question about how you deal with past meds or whatever the hell it was. And he gave me an answer, and I was like, “I don’t understand that at all.” And Sebi may not recall this, but I do. And I said, “Well how do you do that?” I think we all go around with a lot of bravado. I’m this, I’m that. Abandon all that shit. Learn everything you can by asking questions, don’t be afraid to be foolish.

If you want to give yourself a little psychological load, sometimes I use the phrase, now this may sound kind of stupid, and then you ask the question, but do it. And again, what happens in the upper sphere of any particular field is all the experts are so used to the shorthand that sometimes they’re not even open to a new way of thinking about it, which the jury will need. So again, young lawyers out there in particular, if you’re going to experts, break it right down and you might come up with interesting ideas that even your bosses and the fancy trial lawyers will like. And that will help with the jury’s attention.

Bob Simon (17:23):
And when you’re working with your experts, do everything on the phone because anything in writing or email is discoverable.

Ronan Duggan (17:27):
Yeah, right. Exactly.

Bob Simon (17:30):
So let’s talk about one of the big issues here is the drug use, the methamphetamine, the meth that was in the system of your motorcycle. It was meth, right?

Ronan Duggan (17:36):
It was methamphetamine, it was marijuana and a partridge in a pear tree. But it was, yes. Here’s the thing about drugs and finding them in people who are deceased. Just because drugs happen to exist inside of a person doesn’t necessarily mean they contributed to the accident.

Bob Simon (17:53):
Exactly. So there’s negligence and substantial factor.

Ronan Duggan (17:57):
Now, we really, I mean, I’m telling you what. One of the finest depositions I’ve ever seen was Arash taking session one of their toxicologists.

Bob Simon (18:06):
Who do they use?

Ronan Duggan (18:08):
Bob, you always show how bad I am at names. Her name is-

Bob Simon (18:12):
Was it Venus Spieler?

Ronan Duggan (18:14):
No, no. I have depose her.

Bob Simon (18:15):
I know.

Ronan Duggan (18:15):
I proper gave her a hiding. She ran. I am not blowing my own horn, but I took a depo of her for our second case, and I gave her a bloody hiding.

Bob Simon (18:26):
She eventually will tell you that she can’t predict. Yeah, I mean with these toxicologists like practice point, when you guys are taking the deposition of the defense expert, they will tell you that, “Look, I can only tell you how many drinks they had in their system or what was in their system, but I can’t tell you if they were impaired.”

Ronan Duggan (18:43):
Yes. Right.

Bob Simon (18:43):
And that’s the critical question, that’s a substantial factor. To a reasonable degree of toxicologist probability, was there impairment? Could you say this caused or contributed to this whatsoever specifically for this person?

Ronan Duggan (18:54):
Yeah. Cutting to the chase, there’s a thing they use which is, I think it’s Barry Logan was a guy, who was a toxicologist who wrote this kind of seminal paper on this. And it’s layers and layers.

Bob Simon (19:07):
Is it Barry London?

Ronan Duggan (19:08):
Barry Logan.

Bob Simon (19:09):

Ronan Duggan (19:11):
I think it’s Logan. If I’m wrong, some smarty aleck out there will correct us, but it’s Barry Logan. And he has a graph that is often used by these defense toxicologists, and it works like this on methamphetamine in particular. You see a graph dip down and you see different effects written on the graph as you have a higher concentration of meth or amphetamine in the system. And you’ll have written things like beside agitation, loss of motor control, paranoia. But there’s no relationship to those statements to causality in terms of the percentage chance of that happening. So a lot of people who take these depos, they’re down the primrose path with these bloody toxicologists and let the toxicologists get away with saying all this shit. So what we do, and Homampour really laid this into me and all of his excellent team over there, we go after every bit of underlying article or literature. And they all basically are either incomplete control groups, they don’t create a probability relationship, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Bob Simon (20:13):
You just hack it, figure out the sample size and all the data.

Ronan Duggan (20:17):
You keep going, keep going.

Bob Simon (20:17):

Ronan Duggan (20:17):
And all Spieler and the likes of them, they all know this, but they try to get away with it and they’ll really scrap you until they quit. And then when they quit, you start to get the concessions and the quotes that become your motions in linear.

Bob Simon (20:29):
Correct, correct.

Ronan Duggan (20:30):
Now we really did enough on the first Andrade to I think to have all excluded. There was even chain of custody issues.

Bob Simon (20:36):
Well, but I mean here’s the realistic though. You do everything right. You do everything perfect. There’s no way it should come into evidence-

Ronan Duggan (20:42):
And it comes in.

Bob Simon (20:43):
And then it comes in because you have judges like you had in your trial that want you to lose. And you have to be able to deal with that. And when you’re trying your cases and doing focus groups ahead of that, you have to let these bad evidence come in because you can’t assume that well it’s out. Well talk to us about, the one thing that a lot of lawyers miss is the foundation stuff.

Ronan Duggan (21:02):

Bob Simon (21:03):
The toxicologist, the stuff at the hospital. Walk us through how you dealt with that issue. I’ve had trials we kept it out, you got to be prepared to keep it in, but there’s ways to keep it out if you do it right.

Ronan Duggan (21:13):
Yeah. So I’m trying to remember every… We attacked every front of this, but aspect one is the chain of custody of the sample. And what happened was our expert looked in and said, Look, on paper it looks right, but you can put them up to it. You can force them to start calling people and doing that.” Typically, certainly in places like LA, those offices and the coroner’s offices are getting better and better at dealing with that. But that’s phase one. Old school, where did this sample go? Could it be contaminated? What bottle was it put in? How was it handled? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Bob Simon (21:48):
How was it calibrate along? If you see that hospital record, sometimes it’ll put at the bottom, it’ll say not to be used for legal proceedings.

Ronan Duggan (21:54):

Bob Simon (21:54):
They didn’t run a control, they didn’t run it again, they didn’t run it a second time. And that’s a lot of times foundationally, you can get it out.

Ronan Duggan (22:00):
Now that wasn’t our issue with this one. Wat happened, what ended up happening to kind of cut through some of the…. Look by the way-

Bob Simon (22:06):
But it came in. In his trial, it came in.

Ronan Duggan (22:08):
It bloody well came in. And one of the issues we had was it came to a finite point where there was law that says if someone basically just records an automated result, that is not necessarily hearsay in a certain situation. But we had found out that through the course of examination, that one of the people in the office actually had to do a simple piece of math to convert the result into the end printed result. And we thought we had the law rock-solid on this. Again, Barnstein was really up against, we were up against it on every level. And he ultimately said, “No, no, that math is so simple.” We made the argument like, what’s the difference if it’s 10,000 calculations versus one? It’s the human element that changes it. And that was another thing that Barnstein kind of fucked us over on.

But anyway, the bottom line is it came in. But I will say this, for anyone listening, if you have a case where people, you have a decedent or even people still living, if they have these issues, if these issues are in your case, we have all the motions in limine, we’ve all the depo transfers. Bob, I’m sure as well. So don’t go into that not knowing how we’ve classically destroyed these people. Come at us and we’d give you the info we share because we’re a good community of commies over here in the plaintiff’s bar.

Anyway, so it came in and then what you do is once the judge goes, “Right that’s coming in.” You’re obviously going to cover it in your mini opening and you’re going to devour it in your voir dire, and you’re going to spend time on it. And you’re going to ask people about the prejudices that emerge by just the thought of someone having used certain drugs.

Bob Simon (23:43):
So how many, well again, you’re not having a good judge, but were you able to get jurors off just for cause? Which means the judge is just striking them because they can’t be fair no matter what.

Ronan Duggan (23:52):
I tell you what, that’s a funny one. So Arash did the jury selection and he did the voir dire, he’s brilliant. And he really hunts for the fine answer. And he said, “Right Ronan, you go do the cause challenges.”

Bob Simon (24:07):
Oh my God.

Ronan Duggan (24:07):
So we went back into Barnstein’s, and Arash had not seen me do submissions up to that point. And it went quite well. And he came in, he said, “You’re all right, you can speak. And you’re not doing it again.” But no. Anyway, so even on that level where we had people slam dunk on cause, he was not taking them.

Bob Simon (24:25):
That’s crazy.

Ronan Duggan (24:26):
It was crazy town. But anyway, so you cover all of that. You talk about prejudice, I think Arash, what he had said to a lot of the jurors, I don’t know if he said it as inartfully as I’m about to, but he said something like everyone’s on something. It was one of those things. But we luckily got a panel that could divorce that psychologically.

Bob Simon (24:47):
So TLDR here, verdict amount for wrongful death for the decedent. What was the amount?

Ronan Duggan (24:53):
It was 36 million.

Bob Simon (24:54):

Ronan Duggan (24:56):
A nice bit of 9985 on the end of that too.

Bob Simon (24:57):
So 36 million, they probably have 50 at the end.

Ronan Duggan (24:59):

Bob Simon (24:59):
Okay. 50 million judgment at the end. How much negligence or comparative did they put on? The decedent on meth that they say was speeding? How many much?

Ronan Duggan (25:08):

Bob Simon (25:08):
Zero. So you had a person on meth jury said 0% at fault.

Ronan Duggan (25:13):

Bob Simon (25:13):
And they gave 36 million.

Ronan Duggan (25:15):
Yeah. And I’ll tell you how.

Bob Simon (25:15):
Even with all these challenges, even with all the challenges. Yeah, look at that. I got little goosebumps.

Ronan Duggan (25:22):
No, I tell you what, you like that you ain’t seeing nothing yet, Bob. No, I tell you, what happened with that was when the meth comes in, what you then do is you do a destruction of their experts on the issue of impairment. None of them are going to say there was any evidence of impairment where in this case a man was driving reasonably straight on a road, and we were proving that he wasn’t speeding.

Bob Simon (25:45):
And you prove that even if he had nothing in his system, nobody could have avoided this crash?

Ronan Duggan (25:49):
Exactly. And do you know what? It’s very interesting because I spent a ton of time reading about all this. And there’s even studies, now this didn’t come in and we played around with it, but there’s studies that certain fighter pilots had been given doses of methamphetamine to test the reactions because you may or may not know-

Bob Simon (26:06):

Ronan Duggan (26:06):
Right. And they perform better.

Bob Simon (26:08):
They perform better. I’ve seen those studies.

Ronan Duggan (26:11):
Do you know what’s crazy? I only found this out not long. I was watching this wonderful documentary on Netflix. Do you know when the bloody Nazis were doing-

Bob Simon (26:17):
Oh, yeah. They were on meth.

Ronan Duggan (26:17):
They’re all meth heads.

Bob Simon (26:19):
Methamphetamines, yeah. I read it. I mean I used to read a lot of books and like World War II books and they were all-

Ronan Duggan (26:23):
Public safety announcement. Myself and Mr. Simon are not advocating for the use of methamphetamine in the use of complex equipment. But in any event, it’s kind of a bunch of nonsense, right? So unless there was actual evidence of impairment, funny driving-

Bob Simon (26:40):
That’s a critical question.

Ronan Duggan (26:40):
… weird behavior.

Bob Simon (26:41):
Impairment, impairment, impairment.

Ronan Duggan (26:42):
Impairment is the key.

Bob Simon (26:43):
You put it in every single one of your depositions from foundation, from experts to your expert to their experts. Can you say impairment to a reasonable degree of medical probability? No. Why?

Ronan Duggan (26:51):
They’ll all say no.

Bob Simon (26:51):
Exactly. And that’s the thing you have… I mean anybody out there that’s listening, I mean, if anyone drinks alcohol, people that if finish a whole bottle of bourbon. Some people that can’t have one drink and act the same. Right?

Ronan Duggan (27:06):
If you don’t have evidence, that’s a key issue actually. If you don’t have evidence of tolerance, you do not get to say how it affects him. You might’ve seen, I posted a video, I was taking some depo with some… He was a neurologist.

Bob Simon (27:21):
Was it Barry Ludwig, not Barry London? Was it Barry Ludwig?

Ronan Duggan (27:23):
No, this is a different geezer, I put on Instagram. But he basically said that he said a certain level of alcohol and he said anyone at that level, .2 or some shit.

Bob Simon (27:34):
Was that Darryl Clarding? He’s a guy that does that. Oh, man, just crazy.

Ronan Duggan (27:37):
He keeps exposing my lack of understanding and remembrance of names. But what happened was I said to him, sir, you have obviously never been to Ireland. You would realize how ridiculous that statement is. But that’s-

Bob Simon (27:48):
It’s crazy.

Ronan Duggan (27:49):
It’s a facetious point.

Bob Simon (27:50):
I had one toxicologist for the defense and he said, if you have four drinks in an hour, you don’t have control of your body, you’re tripping over yourself. He had all this analysis. And the person that ended up getting catastrophic injured, but was the same size as I was. So during that deposition I had four drinks of bourbon. I sat there, I drank four drinks of bourbon. And I was like, “Sir, I mean according to you, I wouldn’t be able to function if I had four drinks in the last hour.” He is like, “No, no, no.” I was like, “I just drank four bourbons and I’m taking your deposition under penalty of perjury.” I’m like, yeah, notify my malpractice carrier, maybe.

Ronan Duggan (28:22):
Well it’s like bloody Andre the Giant. That dude would’ve put away 120 cans.

Bob Simon (28:25):
I know. It’s crazy.

Ronan Duggan (28:26):
Tolerance being what it is. What was another thing-

Bob Simon (28:28):
So tolerance, impairment, foundation. And at the end of the day, this jury, at the end, they heard all this shit.

Ronan Duggan (28:36):

Bob Simon (28:37):
And they still said there’s nothing. Even if you say what’s true, not… So did the jury say that he was negligent?

Ronan Duggan (28:44):
Yeah. So here’s the key feature, and this tells you how you have to sometimes watch carefully how you do your verdict form. One of the questions was, was he negligent? And remember they’re reading it sequentially and we’re sitting there, here we go. And the answer was yes. We’re like, oh, here we go, here comes the percent. And they said no. And we’re like, oh Jesus. It was such a profound moment like, oh, this is going to be a real result here. And from speaking to the jurors afterwards, which everyone should do and I’ll talk to you about that in a minute. Young lawyers will go out with fancy trial lawyers and do this. You go out with a bloody clipboard and you get all their details. Do not let those people leave without getting contact details. Another day’s work to talk about how you protect [inaudible 00:29:26].

Bob Simon (29:25):
And that’s where you have other people in your office. A lot of time the lawyer has to stay in the courtroom with the judge while they release the jury. You have somebody out in the hallway ready [inaudible 00:29:32].

Ronan Duggan (29:31):
You get a crew down there. You’re sitting there going, I’m the champion of the world. And then the appeals come and all that. Anyway, so what happened was they had said, “We think he was negligent because he had meth in his system, but he wasn’t negligent in the operation of the vehicle.”

Bob Simon (29:46):
So that was the question.

Ronan Duggan (29:48):
And that was a big thing. And I don’t want to, there’s stuff going on with the appeal that I won’t comment on, but they totally got it. In fact, one juror said something, he’s like… I think there was some testimony that this guy had been at a party a few days before and sometimes… Okay, on the documents from the toxicology report, there was a little mention of ecstasy on it, on the report. And the slippery fuckers managed to get that in.

Bob Simon (30:16):
Oh, God.

Ronan Duggan (30:16):
Anyway, it was a moment where it was flashed on screen and taken off. But one of the very clever jurors had spotted and he goes, “I bet he was out and he probably took E or something. And a lot of them are mixed with…” It was really interesting to see how a juror was tackling the potential ins and outs of what that means.

Bob Simon (30:32):
So that juror’s at that point probably rooting for you and figuring out, come on, he could have inadvertently had meth in his system due to some sort of accident or some party he went to. And meth’s one of those ones that you can have false positives, and it can be days before, right?

Ronan Duggan (30:47):
Well it metabolizes. You can tell, you can kind of time it because it metabolizes to amphetamine, and that takes a period of time. If you have a case and the tox report says pure methamphetamine, that means they took it recently. But in this case there was some evidence of amphetamine metabolization as it breaks down. Another thing very quickly, Bob, and I know we’re running on time here. One of the issues was in the final stages of discovery, I really needed to get to terms with, did anyone talk to him before he got on the bike to actually tell us how impaired or not he was? And from a little bit of a last-minute scramble, sure enough, we found a roommate that had spoken to him that morning. In those moments you don’t panic, you immediately correct whatever list you need to correct. You immediately offer them for composition.

Bob Simon (31:31):
You don’t want them to taken.

Ronan Duggan (31:32):
You just make it an immediately what you can have, you just make them look like complete pricks if they say no to it.

Bob Simon (31:39):
I’ll offer this person for deposition at our cost anytime you want. Weekends don’t matter, blah, blah, blah.

Ronan Duggan (31:44):
Exactly. So that was another thing In this case, we had evidence from a person who saw him just before he got on the bike and she said he was completely fine. He was totally normal. Now he may well have been in there taking that, but again, tolerance or whatever it was, it wasn’t affecting him that way. There was other analysis that was going on. We thought he was a guy who was on a fitness journey. Jeez, I hate using the word journey, Bob. Jesus. He was on a fitness journey and they thought maybe some of the supplements. They used to sell this called Jacked 3D, which was a pre-workout powder I fucked around for a while.

Bob Simon (32:16):
Yeah, you’d be jacked up on that.

Ronan Duggan (32:17):
There’s fucking meth in that.

Bob Simon (32:18):

Ronan Duggan (32:20):
So we analyzed that kind of stuff as well. But all in all, it ended up coming in. We had done our work to get an intelligent compassionate jury. I’ll tell you this last anecdote on this, or unless you want to carry on. I could talk for days.

Bob Simon (32:33):
I know. That’s why I said we should just do a show about talking about these.

Ronan Duggan (32:37):
But in their closing, Arash did this blistering closing, one of the best I’ve seen. And then they get up and she said something, like the trial attorney, she’s a nice lady, but this was obviously a nervous mistake, so it could happen, but you obviously have to exploit this like a fucker. She opened and said, life goes on. That was the first line, life goes on.

Bob Simon (32:57):
Not for your client.

Ronan Duggan (32:57):
And we’re all sitting there.

Bob Simon (32:57):
Oh, boy.

Ronan Duggan (33:01):
And Arash gets up and he didn’t overcut it. He said it doesn’t go on. So you just stay open, stay loose. I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you a true story. When I was a young barrister, I heard a story about an old prime minister of ours called Bertie Ahern. Only in Ireland could you have a chief executive called Bertie Ahern. And he used to be a nervous speaker.

Bob Simon (33:22):
It’s funny, I’m already visualizing when we transcribe this episode, how much trouble they’re going to have at the end with you.

Ronan Duggan (33:28):
English. Do you not speak it, Americans?

Bob Simon (33:33):
It’s going to be like a deposition when the court reporter you for some spellings at the end of it.

Ronan Duggan (33:36):
In trial, they’re telling me to slow down. I’m going really slow. But that extra little click of an accent makes it sound like I’m going fast. I am going fast now because I had a lot of coffee and meth. But what happened was-

Bob Simon (33:47):
The pre-workout meth.

Ronan Duggan (33:48):
What happened was Bertie Ahern, this old prime minister was a very nervous speaker, bit of a stutterer. And he said, and I’ve used this and I invite anyone out there to use it, as silly as it may seem. He goes, “When you’re nervous before you speak, you picture butterflies,” because we have butterflies in our belly. That light feeling when you’re not speaking from your power, you’re speaking up somewhere here. He goes, “Picture the butterflies and then force them to fly into formation.” And it’s a little weird psychological thing I do. When you get up to the lectern and you’re looking and you’re like, Homampour is over here, jury’s over here, CBN’s fucking filming down here. Butterflies, butterflies. Push them into formation, Ronan.

Bob Simon (34:24):

Ronan Duggan (34:24):
Into formation.

Bob Simon (34:24):
So that trial in LA was not televised, but another one in December was on CBN, is that correct?

Ronan Duggan (34:29):
No, no it wasn’t. Andrade was televised for openings and closings.

Bob Simon (34:34):

Ronan Duggan (34:34):
So if you want to see the openings and closings, and I highly recommend it, particularly the rebuttal was just state of the art. That’s avant-garde.

Bob Simon (34:41):
So we’re pretty much out of time here, but I just want to TLDR some of these, the really bad facts that led to eight, nine figure verdicts. We talked the one in the LA. On meth, they say speeding, 0% at fault for the motorcycle rider, 36 million, owed 50. You have another one in San Bernardino, is that correct?

Ronan Duggan (34:58):
Yeah, no, that was one where it was a really, really fascinating case.

Bob Simon (35:03):
We’ll just do the TLDR. What was the verdict?

Ronan Duggan (35:05):
The verdict on the second one was 34 million and change.

Bob Simon (35:09):
34 million. And what was the, on meth?

Ronan Duggan (35:11):
On meth. He might’ve been on a list of… No, he was definitely, it was meth there. Yeah.

Bob Simon (35:16):
Was that McCarville? That your judge at that one?

Ronan Duggan (35:18):

Bob Simon (35:18):
He’s the best.

Ronan Duggan (35:20):
He retired though.

Bob Simon (35:20):
He retired. So by the time we air this, McCarville will have retired, he’s nicknamed the Sheriff in San Bernardino. And San Bernardino has probably the best bench of judges. But now the older guard who are just fantastic on evidence, very fair, what they do, McCarville is one of the best, are in retirement ages. I hate to seem retire. He was best.

Ronan Duggan (35:37):
I walked in, I didn’t tell you this, but I go to trial with a bag of relics like a monk in the 12th century.

Bob Simon (35:43):
What is your problem?

Ronan Duggan (35:44):
I have bits of the real cross. I have a padre peel piece of cloth. I have my wig, I come in with the whole nine yards.

Bob Simon (35:51):
You say wig or weed?

Ronan Duggan (35:52):

Bob Simon (35:53):
Guy I know.

Ronan Duggan (35:55):
Wig. That’s wig, Bob. It’s a barrister wig. Anyway, so I set up my bag of tricks, my relics on the table, which Arash is now really into. He might deny it, but McCarville’s like looking down and going, “What’s all that council?” And I was like, “This is from Ireland, that’s from Tipperary, this is from Wexford and this is my barrister wig.”

Bob Simon (36:19):
Now you guys are best friends.

Ronan Duggan (36:20):
And he’s like, “Well, I’m McCarville and here’s my [inaudible 00:36:24]” We had a relic off.

Bob Simon (36:26):
Oh my God, that’s awesome.

Ronan Duggan (36:29):
We had had a tchotchke off. He used pulling out the chileles and all this kind of carry on. And in that trial, Arash, let me take two of the plaintiffs in examination in chief. And I was getting away with bloody murder. I was leading as leading can be. But the McCarville thing, the old country shine.

Bob Simon (36:48):
And that’s where he’s [inaudible 00:36:50]

Ronan Duggan (36:48):
But he’s a great judge.

Bob Simon (36:52):
Yeah, my trial I had in front of him on CVN televised as well. And that foundation thing we talked about, the defense lawyer who’d like to object about every single thing. It was obvious it was going to come in, he kept objecting to foundation. The judge is like, looked at him. He’s like, “You want to make that objection again, council?” He’s like, “I’ll sustain, but I’m just letting you know, are you going to do it again?” He does it. And the jury’s just like, come on guy. Come on guy. So Ronan Duggan. How do people find you, first of all?

Ronan Duggan (37:14):
You go out into the street and you yell, is there an AI out there? Is there actual Irish in LA? And I’ll show up like Batman. No. You’ll find me by, I’m at the Homampour Law Firm. You can contact me there via my email, which is on the website. I have an Instagram, but it’s private because that’s where I unleash my most scoundrelly bullshit. And other than that, yeah, just get me via email and I’ll contact you whatever way you want to be contacted.

Bob Simon (37:42):
And if you want to talk, Ronan and I talk deep dive about Gaming RPGs, the real fun stuff in life. So if you want to talk. He played a very, very articulate and fun barbarian in our campaign, and I was a mechanic from the future masquerading and helping the robots, the Autotomans in that campaign. And it was best year and a half of my life.

Ronan Duggan (38:01):
I tell you what, it was. And that barbarian would’ve got me canceled pretty quick, wouldn’t you reckon?

Bob Simon (38:05):
Yes, he would’ve. And that’s when the…

Ronan Duggan (38:07):
But it’s called play acting. It’s called living the Daniel Day-Lewis improv kind of method shite.

Bob Simon (38:13):
And it’s that type of stuff that makes that some people go to the trial lawyers College of Wyoming, some people played D&D type campaigns with their friends to learn how to role play.

Ronan Duggan (38:21):
Because our lives are dope. And we do dope shit.

Bob Simon (38:24):
We do dope shit. Ronan, thank you for coming on. Visit to find this episode. If you have any questions about meth, gaming, eight, nine figure verdicts, reach out to this human being on Justice Team Network.

Ronan Duggan (38:34):
And here’s Brandon with the weather.

Bob Simon (38:37):
Shite, shite, shite.

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