Friday, May 3, 2013

"Another Lawyer In This Case"

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has reversed a judgment in a case involving plaintiffs who had sued their own insurance carrier (State Farm) under an uninsured motorist ("UIM") policy.

In voir dire, the attorney for State Farm was only identified as "another lawyer in this case."

The attorney participated actively in the trial and the identity of the client was never revealed.

The court here found that the failure to identify counsel's role was error that warranted reversal:

Here, the jury was led to speculate as to the true identity of State Farm's counsel. The jury was also unaware of the relationship between the defense's medical expert - who was State Farm's witness - and State Farm, which might have gone to the expert's credibility. The circuit court erred in granting [the individual defendant's]  motion as it violated the clearly established principle that the jury should be made aware of the precise identity of a UIM carrier if it is a party at trial.

 (Mike Frisch)

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