Effective Cross-Examination: An Aggressive Defense Pays Off

Effective Cross-Examination: An Aggressive Defense Pays Off

Many jurors still have a Perry Mason like expectation of a trial. They expect a cross-examination of a witness that will expose, confront and break the witness. While this sometimes can happen, most cross-examinations of witnesses are more mundane. One of the risks of cross-examination is that the witness weathers the attack by the opposing attorney. In so doing, the witness is given a golden opportunity to explain their story once again and ends up looking stronger in the eyes of a jury because they took the “blows” and didn’t break. Another danger of cross-examination is that the attorney comes on too strong and invokes sympathy for the “badgered” witness in the eyes of the jury. Great trial attorneys know how to strike the right balance on cross-examination. They are prepared for cross-examination because they find the buried and hidden material that will discredit a witness, impeach their credibility and expose their lies to a jury. This kind of relentless questioning is hard to accomplish and the cross-examiner must be able to lead the witness into an unsuspecting trap and then pounce on the witness all the while keeping the jurors’ attention. This month we highlight Ernest J. Bernabei lll who obtained a defense verdict in a contentious attorney negligence case in Camden County Superior Court through effective cross-examination. View Ernest J. Bernabei lll’s bio Jury Deliberated Unanimous Defense Verdict Court: Camden County Superior Court Judge: Sherri Schweitzer Case Type: Professional Malpractice Caption: Frank Dippolito v Charles Nugent, Esq. Index No.: CAM-L-4605-14 Verdict Date: November 14, 2019 After three and half weeks of trial, Ernest Bernabei, with the assistance...
Social Media and Heavy Cross Examination from PMT Attorneys, Ernest Bernabei assisted by Lisa Grandner, Deliver Construction Client Defense Verdict.

Social Media and Heavy Cross Examination from PMT Attorneys, Ernest Bernabei assisted by Lisa Grandner, Deliver Construction Client Defense Verdict.

Ernest Bernabei, assisted by Lisa Grandner, obtained a defense verdict before a jury in Atlantic County, New Jersey on January 31, 2018. A substantial amount of time and effort was expended in dealing with serious evidentiary issues arising from the Plaintiff’s conduct at trial. The Plaintiff had a 2.5 million dollar settlement demand and alleged permanent injuries arising from debris striking her vehicle at a construction site controlled by the defendant construction company. Mr. Bernabei was able to use information obtained through social media posts to successfully cross examine the plaintiff and prevent any jury sympathy. Heavy cross examination of plaintiff’s medical and liability experts using past medical records and accident scene photos was also very effective. The jury returned a verdict for the defendant within 15...
PMT Attorneys Ernest Bernabei and Harminda Morales Obtain Defense Verdict in Hudson County, NJ

PMT Attorneys Ernest Bernabei and Harminda Morales Obtain Defense Verdict in Hudson County, NJ

On July 25th, 2017, after a 6-day jury trial, PMT partner, Ernest J. Bernabei, assisted by associate, Harminda Morales, obtained a defense verdict in the Hudson County, New Jersey Superior Court. Hon. Jeffrey Jablonski presided over this premises liability matter in which Mr. Bernabei represented Pier 115 Bar and Grill, a commercial tenant in a building owned by co-defendant 115 River Road. Plaintiff alleged that she was struck by an exit door to the side of the main entrance to the lobby, incurring a severe head injury leading to permanent neurological impairment, vision issues, as well as cervical and lumbar injuries. Plaintiff lost consciousness and was taken to the ER after the impact. She presented medical testimony opining the need for lumbar fusion surgery. Her pretrial demand was $3 million dollars. On the first day of trial, plaintiff settled with the co-defendant landlord, thus changing the dynamics and focus of the trial. Plaintiff specifically claimed that employees of our client had caused damage to the “panic bar” of the door through constant misuse. This allegedly caused the door to open very quickly and without warning, leading to the accident. Mr. Bernabei focused on the plaintiff’s lack of direct evidence as to actions of the employees as well as raising serious credibility issues as to plaintiff’s damages. He established her bias towards the defendant restaurant by showing a pattern of complaints by her and her business partner made to the landlord, the health department and various local officials. Through motion practice, he was able to preclude large portions of the plaintiff’s medical expert testimony on causation since it was not...