Patricia ”Tricia” Gifford, Esq. is a senior associate attorney at Malman Law in central Illinois. She used TrialPad to present a medical malpractice case at an out-of-town trial in conservative and doctor-friendly Peoria. Her opposing counsel was a hometown legal team of two seasoned, local lawyers from a well-known local firm. Tricia knew she had an uphill battle in a venue that has given very little, if anything, to plaintiffs for many years. The jury returned a verdict of $1.668 million. This was the largest chiropractic verdict reported in Peoria County, and the third largest reported in Illinois! Despite being out of town, with no office, no printer, and no paralegal she found herself at home in the courtroom, presenting a paperless trial with TrialPad.
Tricia brought a claim against a chiropractor on behalf of a 17-year-old girl who was injured when the chiropractor negligently applied too much force to her spine while attempting to achieve a “pop”. The chiropractor’s three powerful thrusts to the plaintiff’s spine resulted in costochondritis and a long thoracic nerve injury. Nine days after the initial injury, the defendant began adjusting the plaintiff’s spine again and continued to perform chiropractic adjustments for the next two months. The initial injury occurred in early December 2012 and on February 1, 2013, he delivered a “gentle thrust” to her right scapula to resolve a “tracking problem” he thought she had. Two days later, she woke up with a winging scapula that would require five surgeries to repair.
Tricia’s expert opined that the high velocity, low amplitude thrusts that the defendant delivered to her client in early December were in violation of the standard of care. He further opined that the defendant’s continued manipulations to the plaintiff’s spine, ribs, and right scapula throughout December, January, and into February were contraindicated and that the February 1 thrust to her scapula resulted in a stretch injury to her long thoracic nerve which had already suffered a crush injury from the December adjustments. The jury agreed.
Tricia told us that “TrialPad was an invaluable tool in this case.” She had always been a big fan of the iPad, and of its portability, security, and versatility. One year Tricia saw our booth at the ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago. She then downloaded TranscriptPad, which she now uses before trial to read and summarize all her depositions. Once the deposition has been summarized in TranscriptPad, she never has to read the whole deposition again. If she needs to refresh her recollection of the deposition six months later, she reads her summary or does a quick report of all the Issue Codes. Additionally, she can search and then copy and paste reports into motions. For Motions in Limine, Tricia uses TranscriptPad to search across the entire case for terms like “violation” or “standard”, and then turns the search into an Issue Code to make a quick report of what needs to be addressed.
For this trial, Tricia knew it would be impossible to explain her case without being able to show a few key pieces of evidence, including photos of her client’s surgeries, and the defendant’s records, which were done in a flow-sheet system. The flowsheets the defendant created to track patient treatment and progress were large, horizontal, tri-fold pages, and contained all the information that was key to the case in a confusing array of boxes and checkmarks. But for TrialPad, the flowsheets would have been unmanageable as evidence. Tricia told us that, “It would have been impossible to explain the defendant’s actions and his negligence without being able to call out and highlight certain portions of the flowsheets. TrialPad allowed us to easily show his actual records, explain what they meant, and what he did wrong.”
In addition to the portability of the iPad, and TrialPad’s ability to present the documents to the jury, Tricia chose TrialPad because it is intuitive to pick up and use in a courtroom. She said, “My trial team partner was a first-year associate who had never tried a case and never used TrialPad. He was able to pick it up and use it effectively in a matter of minutes.” The courtroom had a large, built-in projection screen. Tricia brought a projector and an HDMI cable as well as her iPad. In very little time, she had her team and her equipment up and running, ready to present.
At the end of an out-of-town trial, even with no office and no paper, and against the “home team”, Tricia told us that TrialPad was undoubtably the best tool to present her case, and there are about $1.668 million reasons why.