One of the Nation’s Top Trial Lawyers Gives Readers a Front Row Seat to the Intriguing Inner-workings of the American Legal Process in When Justice Prevails.
“Each case serves as a testament to the endurance of the human spirit.”
C. Steven Yerrid became a trial lawyer to make a difference. In an impressive career that spans more than 25 years, he has done just that. While successfully litigating virtually all types of civil cases, Yerrid has been the champion of those without the money and power usually necessary to battle corporate giants and win. In the process, he has helped to establish legal precedents that have had significant impact. Yerrid continues to “walk the walk,” pursuing equal justice under the law for his clients regardless of their gender, race or socioeconomic status.
In When Justice Prevails (Yorkville Press; July 2003; $26.95 hardcover), Steve Yerrid presents eight of his most dramatic and challenging cases. Although they involve many different areas of the law – from the State of Florida’s landmark case against “Big Tobacco,” to medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability, maritime catastrophe, and intellectual property law – they all share a common thread. Yerrid states, “Each case serves as a testament to the endurance of the human spirit. It is reflected in the victims’ ability to overcome personal tragedy and loss, as well as in the jurors’ struggle to find the truth and deliver a just verdict.”
A page-turning work of legal nonfiction, When Justice Prevails depicts in vivid detail the dramatic, often heartbreaking stories of Yerrid’s clients. Writing compellingly about his own thoughts as he decides to take on each case, Yerrid offers insight into how he builds and executes his legal strategies, from opening remarks to the verbatim presentations of his emotionally charged closing arguments. Rarely have readers been given such direct access to all the fascinating moments of real-life trials – the sparring of the lawyers, the testimony of the witnesses, the turning points of cross examination, and the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of both Yerrid and his opponents.
Among the riveting accounts included in When Justice Prevails:
- The Tobacco Crusade: In 1997,Yerrid was one of 11 trial lawyers selected by then-Governor Lawton Chiles to represent the State of Florida in its landmark lawsuit against the cigarette industry. Undertaken on behalf of Florida taxpayers and children, the case resulted (at the time) in the largest civil monetary settlement of its kind in the history of this country.
- The Maritime Catastrophe: In 1980, Captain John Lerro was accused of causing 35 deaths and millions of dollars in damage when the Summit Venture, a large bulk freighter that he was piloting, crashed into Florida’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Yerrid’s successful defense in the case was a risky one – having the cause of the disaster declared to be an Act of God rather than human error.
- Product Liability and a Toddler’s Death: The parents of angelic two-year-old Jessica Bowden came to Yerrid seeking justice against the manufacturer of a defective children’s product that strangled their daughter to death. Their anguish was compounded when the manufacturer blamed them for the tragedy. The parents were exonerated by the jury but the $7.5 million verdict was later set aside by the judge and a new trial ordered. Before the second trial could occur, the parties agreed to a confidential settlement.
- A Groundbreaking Premises Liability Case: Twenty-four-year-old Tony Verran was shot and blinded in one eye by a criminal assailant hiding in the overgrown shrubbery at a bank’s poorly lit night depository and ATM machine. In representing Tony, Yerrid based his case on the theory that the bank, not the police department, was liable for third-party assaults on customers that occurred outside the actual bank building. The victim was awarded $1 million by the jury. Appropriate landscaping, adequate lighting, and security precautions around ATM’s have become the standard in the banking industry, in large part because of the verdict in Tony’s case and others like it.
- A Case of Medical Malpractice: With Yerrid’s help, former Notre Dame football great Frank Spaniel brought a malpractice suit against a doctor and radiology group whose negligence in reviewing and interpreting a CT scan film allowed his undiagnosed throat cancer to spread, virtually eliminating any opportunity for a cure. Frank and his wife never got to see a penny of the $1 million in damages that the jury awarded. After a lengthy appeals process, the jury’s verdict was upheld. By that time, both the star running back and his wife had died, and the recovery went to their children and grandchildren.
Riveting in content, each case confirms Steve Yerrid’s deeply held belief that right can, and does, win out over might. Much more than courtroom drama, with its unforgettable stories of everyday people, When Justice Prevails puts a human face on the American legal system.