Jeb Achieves Win During First Jury Trial

Jeb Achieves Win During First Jury Trial
06/07/2010

Congratulations to Jeb on a successful first jury trial! Check out the details below to learn more about the case that offered Jeb his first win at his first trial.

Premises Liability – An elderly woman claimed she was attacked by the defendant and knocked unconscious, resulting in a brief hospital stay and permanent pain throughout her body. Defendant claimed self defense.

Martin v. Flannary
10D01-0904-CT-364
Plaintiff: Stephen Beardsley
New Albany
Defendant: Jeb Crandall and James Bleeke
Sweetin & Bleeke, P.C., Indianapolis
Verdict: Defense verdict on liability
County: Clark Superior
Court: V. Carmichael


On 5/15/04, Joseph Flannary approached Margarete Martin in her driveway after Mr. Flannary was informed by his renter (who lived two doors down from Ms. Martin) that she had stolen the renter’s newspaper and forced her way into his house. Mr. Flannary had experienced a long history of Ms. Martin causing problems for his renters. During the argument between Ms. Martin and Mr. Flannary, Ms. Martin raised a pair of hedge shears above her head in a threatening manner. In response, Mr. Flannary extended his arms to protect himself from the impending blow. As a result, Mr. Flannary made contact with Ms. Martin and she fell backwards onto the pavement.

Plaintiff identified her treating physician as her expert, who initially opined that Ms. Martin’s current ailments and pains were a result of the incident with Mr. Flannary. However, upon cross examination, the physician significantly retracted his statements and conceded that he could not with any confidence provide a causal relationship between Ms. Martin’s current complaints and the incident that occurred on 5/15/04.

Defendant identified Dr. Robert Baker, a dynamic orthopedic expert, who confirmed that none of Ms. Martin’s complaints could be related to the incident with Mr. Flannary with any certainty. Instead, Ms. Martin’s ailments were most likely the result of aging.

The case was tried for three days in Jeffersonville. Defendant denied Plaintiff’s allegations that he was the aggressor and instead produced witnesses to impeach Ms. Martin’s credibility following her testimony that she was a peaceful person and did not get involved in arguments or altercations. Counsel for defendant drove this point home when Ms. Martin actually struck defense counsel in anger during cross examination and even stated, “I’m gonna get you for this!” within earshot of the jury. This was the nail in the coffin.

The jury returned a verdict in which fault was allocated 49% to Mr. Flannary and 51% to Ms. Martin. Based on the allocation, the court entered judgment for the defendant.
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