Matthew Krohn and Tara Walker won a favorable defense verdict in Ty Golden v. Michael Overton et al. Krohn and Walker represented Defendants Brad Burns and Wayne Burns. Krohn and Walker had the unenviable position of representing the only defendant without insurance coverage and the only defendant for which punitive damages were sought, Brad Burns.
On May 14, 2004, the Plaintiff, Ty Golden, was hosting an underage drinking party at his residence located on Joel Drive at the Brookfield Country Club in St. Catharine Missouri. Joel Drive is a narrow one-lane road owned by the Country Club. Plaintiff’s friends parked along both sides of the road narrowing the road even further. At around 11:00 PM that evening Defendants Michael Overton, Wayne Burns, and Brad Burns who were in a brand new Ford F-250 King Cab pickup truck took Joel Drive en route to another friend’s home located a couple of blocks from Plaintiff’s home. When Defendants reached the section of the road in front of Plaintiff’s home there was a van parked in the middle of the road blocking their passage.
Although the parties’ version of events differs it was uncontroverted that Defendants asked that Plaintiff get someone to move the van and the van never moved. After some jaw jacking between the parties Plaintiff called his friend, a former MU defensive end, over to the truck. Plaintiff’s friend pointed at Defendant Wayne Burns and said “I’ve got Grandpa” in a threatening manner. Wayne exited and met Plaintiff’s friend at the back of the truck and fighting ensued. Defendants Brad Burns and Michael Overton then exited the truck to help Wayne. During the course of the fighting Michael and Ty both went through a bay window in the kitchen of Plaintiff’s home. Michael’s nose was cut almost completely off and Ty’s forearm was severely lacerated.
Plaintiff sued under theories of conspiracy to trespass, conspiracy to commit a battery, and conspiracy to commit negligence. At the close of Plaintiff’s evidence Defendants won a partial directed verdict. The Court threw out the conspiracy claims and directed a verdict in favor of Wayne Burns on the battery claim. Defense won another major victory at the close of their evidence when they successfully argued that Plaintiff could not submit negligence and intentional tort claims to the jury together.
Plaintiff elected to submit on battery and trespass claims against Michael Overton, on a battery claim against Brad Burns, and on a negligence claim against Wayne Burns. After a week-long trial the jury deliberated for only 2 hours and returned a very favorable verdict. The Jury found in favor of Michael Overton on both counts. The jury found against Brad Burns on the battery claim but awarded no damages including punitive damages. The jury found against Wayne Burns apportioning his fault at 75% and awarded a total amount of $25,000 in damages. However, after comparative fault and credit for a set off, the net verdict to the plaintiff was only $8,750.
Plaintiff’s final pretrial demand was $275,000 and during the trial Plaintiff asked the jury for $373,000 plus punitive damages against Brad Burns.