From a deposition in southern Germany to a jury trial in southern Texas, the attorneys of West Mermis went the extra mile to secure a defense win earlier this year.

The case involved a fire and explosion in 2011 that destroyed seven fracking trucks and related equipment at a rural drilling site south of San Antonio. In 2015, two insurers brought an $11 million product liability and subrogation claim against the firm’s client, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of large diesel engines. The filing alleged that a faulty design and function of an engine directly led to the fire and property loss.

Preparation

Those claims set off a two-year journey of discovery and more than 30 depositions for the trial team of Joshua Mermis, Larry West and Justin Safady, including the deposition of the manufacturer’s corporate representative at their European headquarters. West Mermis also assembled a roster of first-class experts to further examine the evidence.

“We rely on our experts to explain the technology, and work closely with them to be sure that descriptions of complex processes are understandable and relatable for a jury. We were prepared for each witness, every piece of evidence and any scenario.” Joshua Mermis

Persuasion

The trial began in January at the Atascosa County Courthouse in Jourdanton, Texas, population 3,800. Despite several varying settlement offers from the plaintiffs, the team moved forward by sharply challenging a purported eyewitness and effectively presenting data showing that the diesel engines worked properly even after the fire began.

“One of the key portions of the trial was uncovering the inconsistencies of the eyewitness – he wasn’t as close as he originally said, he couldn’t have seen the ignition from where he was, and he wasn’t even wearing his contacts, much less his safety goggles.” Larry West

Deliberation

Following two weeks of testimony, the jury returned a verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.

Vindication

The jury found that the manufacturer had no liability in the incident.

“We’re very proud of the outcome, and the confidence our client had in our ability to secure a favorable jury verdict. It should show any company that, in any venue, we will fight and we can win. The other side thought we would blink; we never did.” Joshua Mermis