O’Brien Law Firm helps client get a $176,000 jury verdict in Dallas
On April 6, 2017, a Dallas County district court jury awarded an O’Brien Law Firm client $176,000 due to the wrongful disposal of the client’s belongings in her apartment. The client testified that in August 2012, she went on a trip to visit family in Florida. Although she was late on rent, the apartment manager told her that she could have until August 10 to pay it. When she returned on August 10, cash in her pocket (loaned to her by her mom), her apartment was ransacked and almost all of her personal possessions were gone. She found out that the apartment manager had her belongings removed while she was gone. These belongings included precious family jewelry and photos, and cherished memorabilia from her deceased father. She never saw any of those things again. This was a life-changing event for her.
The apartment manager and apartment management company denied that they had anything to do with it, making it all the more frustrating for her. Attorney Kerry O’Brien had to prove the client’s case using circumstantial evidence, as no one testified that they saw anyone from the apartment management company removing anything. Multiple witnesses showed up for the apartment management company to testify against Kerry’s client’s version of events. Kerry had just taken over the case 3 1/2 months earlier, when he learned that this client’s prior attorney had done very little to prepare her case over a 2-year period.
After a two day trial, the 12-person jury found, by a vote of 10-2, that the apartment management company had wrongfully removed her belongings. The jury awarded her $156,000 for her property losses and mental anguish, and $20,000 for attorney fees. When Kerry whispered to his client what the judge’s jury verdict announcement meant, the client collapsed on his shoulder and wept, having finally gotten the justice she had been seeking for 4 years.
On April 20, 2017, the apartment management company filed a motion to request that the judge issue a reduced or zero verdict based on legal limitations. That motion is pending. The case is Cause No. DC-15-12617, in the 193rd Judicial District Court of Dallas County. An appeal is likely.