Defense Verdict / 20-day Trial Arising from Alleged Wrongful Disposal of Property

Attorney Paul S. Rainville successfully obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a trash disposal company in a case arising from the disposal of the contents of a home that was mistakenly characterized as a foreclosed property.

Before trial, all personal injury claims were disposed of on summary judgment. At trial, the plaintiffs claimed that the discarded contents of their home were valued at almost $300,000, and included valuable items such as fur coats, designer shoes and handbags, jewelry and other personal property. The trial lasted 20 days and included testimony from the plaintiff and her sons about the personal property allegedly left in the home and the value of the contents as well as from experts on the foreclosure process and the standard of care for a company performing a “trash out.”

After two days of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of three of the four defendants, including the trash disposal company, on all theories and in favor of the bank on all but negligence. The jury found that the bank and plaintiff were both 50% negligent and awarded a mere $10.00, which resulted in a net verdict of $5.00 to the plaintiffs.