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Transcript for Trial Lawyer Talk, Episode 26: Jim Fitzgerald

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Listen to the episode here.

Scott Glovsky: Welcome to Trial Lawyer Talk. I’m Scott Glovsky and I’m your host for this podcast where we speak with some of the best trial lawyers in the United States. This is a storytelling podcast where we have great lawyers tell great stories of trials that had a significant impact on them.

First, I want to thank our exclusive sponsor, Traci Kaas. I picked Traci she cares like the lawyers I interview on this podcast. Traci is from the Settlement Alliance West and they provide plaintiff attorneys and their clients with comprehensive settlement planning services including income tax free and tax deferred structured settlement annuities, government benefit preservation, trust planning, and more. You can check out their website at www.alliance-west.com.

Now I mentioned before that this podcast is not about making money and it never will be so all of the funds we get from Traci’s sponsorship go to marketing the podcast and I’m very thankful for her and thankful to you for listening. I’m also thankful for the wonderful guest we have today, Jim Fitzgerald.

Jim is a giant of a trial lawyer, giant of a human being, and truly a special person. He’s from Wyoming and not only is he from Wyoming, but he’s been involved in roughly half of the million dollar verdicts in the history of Wyoming. He’s a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, teaches at Trial Lawyers College, and is genuinely just a gem of a human being. I’d like to thank Jim for joining us so let’s get started.

I’m very pleased today to be with Jim Fitzgerald. Jim is a true giant of a trial lawyer and the most humble, real, and caring person. Jim practices in Wyoming and has had tremendous, tremendous, tremendous success. Jim, thanks for being with us.

Jim Fitzgerald: You bet, Scott.

Scott Glovsky: Jim, could you tell us a story of a case that had a profound impact on you?

Jim Fitzgerald: Yes, a case would be a case called originally Donahue versus Caterpillar Tractor Company, officially in the Pacific Reporter as Caterpillar Company versus Donahue because Caterpiller Tractor company wound up being the appellant, but I can take you from when we first got the case through trial through the appeal.

Scott Glovsky: Wonderful.

Jim Fitzgerald: Okay. Jerry Dean Donahue was a wonderful man. He was about 35 years old. He had been in the Marine Corps. He was the honored graduate of his training platoon so he got the dress blues award, a free set of dress blues. Big honor. He left the Marine Corps after serving four years and moved to Rawlins, Wyoming. For a while he was in law enforcement and then he had an opportunity to be a heavy equipment operator and went to work for a company called Olson Construction Company.

One day Jerry was out working on a gravel pit, in a gravel pit, and on an incline in a Caterpillar 988B front-end loader. Part of the pit sloughed away and Jerry’s front-end loader, which weighed something along the lines of 80,000 pounds, rolled a quarter turn, a half turn, crushing him, and then another quarter turn so it went three-quarter turn altogether, a rollover, essentially. Jerry left a widow and three young children.

At that time, I was practicing with another lawyer who’s still a great friend of mine. I love him like a brother. We just couldn’t be in a firm together so eventually that firm broke up before the trial of this case, but we’re friends today. He and I had good instincts at that point. I’m, at that time, probably five years out of law school when we get the case, maybe four.

We went to Rawlins, Wyoming which is a town named after John Rawlins who was on the staff of Ulysses S. Grant. The town’s named for General Rawlins. There’s a Rawlins Spring. Many of the towns in Wyoming have a Civil War history to them because right after the Civil War, the railroad was built across the country and a lot of Civil War veterans worked on it.

In any event, we’re in Rawlins, which is a small town. It’s in a near picturesque scenery in Wyoming, but it’s actually itself on a high desert. Met with Mrs. Donahue and met her three children, just so we would know who they were. She was just devastated. Here she is suddenly a widow. Her husband’s gone. They’d been a good, close couple. We sized up and just said we’d try to help her.

Now before this meeting, she had been turned down by two other law firms that I know of who had advised her that her only remedy would be workers’ compensation because Jerry was an employee of Olson Construction Company and, at least in this state, in most states, it’s receiving workers’ compensation benefits is an absolute bar to recovery in some states. You can elect either the workers’ comp benefits or a lawsuit. Here you have no choice as to that if the decedent, Mr. Donahue, was covered by workers’ compensation. Absolute bar to any lawsuit against Olson Construction Company.

You have to keep in mind I’m cutting my teeth as a lawyer at this point and I dug into the law and I found that there was an exception to the absolute bar and that is if you, in those days, if you could prove that there was a co-employee who had been careless, that co-employee could be made a defendant. I listed, as a defendant, ultimately … I’ll get to that. One of the foreman at the Olson Construction Company. Also listed a company called H.W. Moore Equipment Company as a defendant because H.W. Moore  had sold this piece of equipment at retail, but it was used. That company was out of Denver. Also sued, almost as an afterthought, Caterpillar Tractor Company, because it occurred to me that it was a failure to guard case, that Mr. Donahue’s life could’ve been saved had there been a sufficient rollover protective structure, which I will sometimes in this conversation call a ROPS. R-O-P-S. Added Caterpillar Tractor Company.

I remember one of the first depositions I took was of a … Tried to take was of an MSHA inspector. Did not learn until I got to the deposition that we were not allowed to depose MSHA inspectors, MSHA being the Mine Safety and Health Administration. You can’t depose those people, at least you couldn’t in those days. I learned that at the deposition, which actually was set for Rawlins because at the same time, the defense lawyers wanted to depose Mrs. Donahue.

Let me back up a little bit and just say one of the things that I fortuitously did after Mrs. Donahue was I contacted the company, which was a company in Casper, Wyoming, 140 or so miles north of Rawlins that had all the parts of this front-end loader that had been crushed and they were taking it apart to see what they could salvage. Luckily, I was able to track that down and I had an investigator go to the facility where the Caterpillar tractor was being taken apart and photograph it and take possession of such pieces as the salvage people would permit him to take. Turned out one of them was very important to our expert ultimately, but it was just an instinct that let’s get our hands on whatever physical evidence that we can from this incident.

Then I started reading transcripts of others who … Other cases against Caterpillar Tractor Company because as you can imagine this case was not an isolated case. There were other people who had been killed because there was no rollover protective structure, or as in our case, there was a structure, but it wasn’t sufficient to protect somebody in the case of a rollover.

Filed the case. I waited much too long. I filed it about two days before the statute of limitations was going to run and that’s a risk I have tried never to take again. Luckily, I had selected some viable defendants. Turns out the best and who should have been the only defendant was Caterpillar Tractor Company on a theory of failure to guard.

In any event, I’ll go back to the discovery. As I said, I tried to depose the MSHA investigator. Had already driven to Rawlins. Had a lawyer coming from Rawlins, from Casper, and another lawyer from Casper. Another one of the lawyers from Casper had called ahead and found out that this MSHA inspector was not even going to show up.

Here’s one of my first depositions of my entire career. Got everybody together. I got a court reporter. We’re ready to roll and no witness. I learned some things about making sure everything gets pulled together for a deposition. Mrs. Donahue was deposed. Did a very fine job and her three young children were never deposed. The defense actually never met them until we were in trial.

As I said, we had started to gather transcripts to see what other … How other lawyers would handle these kinds of cases and I also started doing a lot of research, basic research into safety issues. I contacted the Georgia Institute of Technology. In those days you wrote letters. I wrote a letter saying, “I am looking for whatever literature you may have on rollover protective structures for earth-moving equipment.” It turns out that they were able to find some stuff for me. Cost a couple of hundred bucks. I was happy to spend it as a young lawyer.

I might add here. I made the decision in that case that I would never worry about cost. I would keep track of them and keep the clients informed, but I would never say we’ve got to resolve this case because the costs are too high or we’re not taking this case because we can’t afford it. I just made the decision early on in my career and with this case we will bear the costs. If we believe in the case, we’re going to bear the costs and whatever they are, we’ll spend them.

The partnership that I had with my dear friend broke up before I filed this case. I went ahead and filed it. The Georgia Tech materials came in after I filed the case and there was a man named G. Edwin Burkes who was the vice president of the Caterpillar Tractor Company who had written an article. Ed Burkes was a good man and he had written an article that proved very helpful to me at trial. I also read transcripts of other trials. There was Beck versus the Caterpillar Tractor Company which was tried by Nelson Parrish and Russ Dunn who were excellent lawyers up in Montana. There was Lanny Vines in Alabama who had tried a case. Lanny’s case was actually what most people would call a Cat. It’s a bulldozer. All these cases were against Caterpillar Tractor Company. I read Lanny Vine’s transcript. Got my hands on that. I read the transcript of the Beck case.

I plodded along for quite a while. Took depositions in Peoria, Illinois. Among other places, Peoria is where the headquarters of Caterpillar Tractor Company is, at least their manufacturing side.

I lived in fleabag hotels and I paid for the court reporter and set depositions of a great number of people who had written articles or were authors of documents that had been produced in Lanny’s case and in Russ and Nelson’s case. Obtained about a hundred documents by contacting lawyers that had already tried cases and went off to Illinois and other places to take testimony from the authors of these papers.

One of the documents which became Exhibit 72 was … I believe it was called Caterpillar Design Criteria. One of the sentences in it was very intriguing and it talked about the need to build safety into the product. Now mind you, this was back in the days before corporations strictly controlled their documents, got confidentiality orders, which essentially prevented justice in a lot of cases because lawyers other than me certainly had these cases for years after I had people call up and say, “Can I talk about your case with you?” I’ll say, “I’ll go you one better. The archive is in storage in my office. You’re welcome to come and go through it. Why don’t you do that? I’ll send you the transcript if you want. You can read that and do essentially what I did.”

Now that couldn’t happen today because the lawyer would have to persuade the court that asking for this discovery was proportional and was acceptable and why do you need to ask all these questions and why do you need all these documents and fight all the discovery battles that corporations are able to have use engage in but in those days, information was freely available, as it should be, but anyways, the system has been changed.

I’m going into quite a bit of detail about that just to say that I knew it would be important to question the same people who had been questioned before about documents and some new people. Many other law firms, as I mentioned, had done these kinds of cases. Nobody had yet turned up this important witness, Ed Burkes.

I had a lot of breaks as a young lawyer starting out and one of them was when I tried to figure out how to compel Mr. Burkes to come to his deposition in some town not in Peoria, but another town at some distance away from Peoria where he had retired to. I sent off some process and I got a call from the judge. It was actually the judge. Must have somehow known I was a kid lawyer and he basically said to me, “Well, I see what you’re trying to do here, but what you really need is this kind of writ in our courts.” Heckuva good guy. Talk about justice. He said, “So, if you contact the clerk, you can get the correct form,” otherwise, I probably would’ve never met Edward Burkes, but he had retired and he had strong feelings about this subject.

He had written this paper I mentioned in the National Safety Council newsletter or information sheet. I don’t remember precisely what it was called, but he had said several things that were quite important to the theory of the case such as again, we need to design safety into our products. We shouldn’t be … Not in these words … Faulting these people who operate our equipment and then it rolls over on them because operation of one of these pieces of equipment in a construction zone is inherently unpredictable in terms of the risks that they may encounter. There were five or six really key things like that that he had said in his paper.

As I said, I got his deposition notice up and I had sent him a check. Even as young as I was, I had a feeling that maybe this was going to be a pretty good deposition. When he walked in, I introduced myself. He reached in his suit coat vest pocket … This man had been a vice president at Caterpillar Tractor Company, very accomplished man, nicely dressed. Pulls out the check. It’s made out to him. Hands it to me and says, “Your widow needs this money a lot more than I do.”

Scott Glovsky: Wow.

Jim Fitzgerald: I don’t know what the defense lawyer was expecting, but I basically said, “Now, you are G. Edwin Burkes, yes? What was your position at Caterpillar Tractor Company?” “Such and such.” “I’m going to hand you exhibit such-and-such. Did you author this?” “Yes.” “And this contain certain opinions you have.” “Yes, indeed.” “You wrote these opinions as a vice president for engineering at Caterpillar Tractor Company.” “Yes, I did.” “These are things that you wanted your company to do.” “Yes, they were.” Then I just read ’em to him. I said, “Is this one of those things?” Then I said, “Safety should be designed in or construction zone can be inherently unpredictable.” I asked about six of those and said, “I have no other questions.” The defense lawyer, of course, had no questions.

That ultimately was read to the jury and the document itself became an exhibit, which was very, very helpful to us at trial and on appeal. I say ‘us’ because along the way, it occurred to me that I probably did not have the kind of expert that I needed and I needed some help so I got ahold of one of the Alaska triallers who by then, when I tracked him down, I found out was living in Bozeman, Montana, Russ Dunn. A very, very bright guy who … Ethical, honest, hardworking, West Point graduate, took his commission in the Marines and some folks will know that you basically, in those days, got a general engineering degree if you went to one of the service academies, which Russ had. I asked if he would join me. Yes, he did, and he provided a man named John Ballard who was a very fine expert witness.

That wasn’t long before trial. There were a couple of depositions yet to be taken. There was a firm in California that had done a lot of the work on setting by regulation a standard for the retrofitting heavy construction equipment with rollover protection on a basis of by year of manufacture. This regulation was adopted probably in about 1972 or 3 and it only went back to about ’69 or ’67 and what we had was a 1966 Caterpillar front-end loader so the regulations did not apply, but Caterpillar had hired … His name was Woodard. Woodward or Woodard. I think Woodward. Mr. Woodward was going to testify about the work that he had done and so on and so forth about establishing these rollover protective criteria and basically testifying that before they promulgated them, there really wasn’t a way that it wasn’t feasible to create rollover protective structures.

There were three things that we really needed to prove: that they were feasible, they were necessary, and they were available. Part of Caterpillar’s defense was, “Well, they really weren’t feasible.” That’s why they called Mr. Woodward. He had an associate engineer with him named Clifford Farmer. Mr. Farmer was basically going to testify to the same thing.

Out to California I go. Mr. Woodward would not travel and I accommodated Caterpillar Tractor Company by saying, “Okay, you want to take his deposition for trial presentation and I’m willing to do that, but I want to take his discovery deposition and we’ll do ’em back to back.” Would be risky if you didn’t have some documents in your hip pocket, but I did and they’d been produced in discovery so I shouldn’t say they were … Imply that they were unknown to Caterpillar Tractor.

Basically, Mr. Woodward testified on direct at the questioning of Caterpillar counsel after we’d done the discovery deposition and then confronted him with some of the documents and neutralized some of his opinions, but we still needed a good expert of our own to counter this feasibility, necessity, and availability issue. Russ knew of an engineer named John Ballard and he became our engineer at trial and testified live, which I think helped. Mr. Woodward was only on video.

In the end, during the trial I had mentioned earlier that I had gathered up, through an investigator, gathered up broken parts of the front-end loader and one of them became very, very important at trial because I’m actually thinking that Caterpillar eventually did not call Mr. Woodward, did not play his videotape, but Russ did a deposition of his associate, Mr. Farmer and we read that into the record. Basically, Caterpillar had its own employee, Mr. Bordeaux come in and he was trying to persuade the jury that this Caterpillar tractor hadn’t been in a mile roll, that it actually during the course of the rolling became airborne and came down flat on its top and no rollover structure in the world would’ve saved him. That was basically their defense.

Did it go up in the air and come back down? Which sounds preposterous, but we’ve all seen juries believe preposterous things when they’re put forward by a major corporation. You have to imagine a very large air cleaner like 20 inches in diameter and this would go on the top of the diesel engine that powers the front-end loader. On top of that, there was a spindle, a threaded spindle, like a screw that protruded up about eight inches above the level of this large 20-inch diameter metal component of the air cleaner.

The spindle’s purpose was to hold a filter on top of the air cleaner and actually be the most important of the air cleaner and they were fragile. It was crushed and done away with, but the spindle was bent and it wasn’t smashed down. It was very obvious that it had been gradually, although quickly, but gradually bent. This small piece of evidence that my instincts had told me I might need to preserve turned out to be very persuasive … I still have it today in storage. A persuasive piece of evidence to show the jury that this theory that this 80,000-pound piece of equipment somehow leapt up in the air and came down on its top.

Now if you think about it, if it had been a long roll, multiple rolls on a steep incline, that could certainly have happened, the Caterpillar tractor could have bounced away from the side and ultimately smashed right down on its top so it’s not totally out of the realm of reason, but this piece of evidence, I think, persuaded the jury that Caterpillar’s theory of their defense wasn’t working.

In any event, I did the jury selection. I did the opening statement. Russ put on Dr. Ballard. I cross examined most of the Caterpillar lay witnesses. In our case in chief, we presented 16 witnesses. Russ presented three of them which were very important witnesses. In the defense case in chief, they presented 15 witnesses. Russ did two important cross examinations and I did the rest. Then in our rebuttal case, we had a lot of fun because we called two witnesses, both by reading in portions of two depositions. One of those had been Caterpillar expert that they did not call and we used his testimony to punch some holes in their defense and we also read in a little testimony of one of our experts who the court allowed us to call because it was very brief.

That ended the case and we went on to argument. I did the opening portion of the closing. The defense then did its closing and Russ presented the rebuttal closing.

Scott Glovsky: How did you prepare to tell the story at trial?

Jim Fitzgerald: Well, by learning and living with the documents and understanding the chronology of the decisions that went into making Caterpillar tractors and particularly rollover protective structures. I got to know the players at Caterpillar who had designed it. I got to know Mrs. Donahue’s own story by sitting down and talking with her and found out some things about Jerry. I learned what I could about Jerry himself. Went through such photographs as the family had of him in the Marine Corps and talked to his friends, a lot of people in Rawlins, and mostly everybody at his workplace was friendly to us with one exception. That man wasn’t really unfriendly to us, but was jealous about the possibility that Mrs. Donahue might win her lawsuit and so he withheld some evidence which we didn’t find out about until we were in trial.

But the answer is, a lot of work to learn the story. The story being partly of his life, but more the story was of the development of rollover protective structures. Our theory was they could have done all that work 10 years sooner. There’s nothing magical about it. There’s no new science. Nothing was required. They just didn’t get around to doing it until the government forced them to with the MSHA regulation on this kind of equipment you must have rollover and falling object protection.

We go to trial and it’s a no offer case. There’s a lot at stake. As I mentioned, we’re through the opening statement now and we’ve had our expert on and now we’re cross examining the defense people. I mentioned cross examining Mr. Bordeaux on his theory and ultimately read a portion of Mr. Farmer’s testimony about the development of rollover protection structures in rebuttal and rested.

The jury came back with what was then the largest wrongful death verdict in the history of the state, which was $1.5 million. I had dismissed before I had ever even asked Russ to come in, I had dismissed the case against the co-employee at H.W. Moore. Excuse me. At Olson Construction and I had dismissed the retailer. They paid a little bit of money. I wouldn’t have wanted any money from his coworker, but his lawyer told him, “Well, you need to pay him something you can be out of this.”

I’ll just jump ahead to the end of the story. We ultimately got paid on this case and I send the money back to his foreman who had been named as a defendant, who I wouldn’t name today.

The jury comes back with that verdict and we have post trial motions. The costs started accruing from that entry of judgment forward at 10% a year which today is what would be a wonderful interest rate if you could just get it. We had the post trial motions and we won all the post trial motions. Now the case goes up on appeal. I sat down with about 20 legal pads. Today you could do it on your computer and I marshaled all the documents that had come into trial that supported each point. I came up with about 20 different topics. Obviously, necessity, availability, and feasibility were big topics, but as you can imagine there were other topics as well. Did all that outline physically in my conference room and came up with the first draft of the brief. Russ read that and made some suggestions. Of course, this is the appellee’s brief. Caterpillar appealed on I don’t know how many grounds. Six or eight.

The appellee’s brief turned out to be quite compelling and the Supreme Court affirmed and we got the affirmants just about on Christmas Eve a year and a half later.

Then Caterpillar replaced its trial counsel and they hired new counsel, a well-known firm in this region to file another … A motion for a rehearing, which did not succeed and then Caterpillar Tractor Company hired a firm in Chicago to call and talk to me about settling the case and said … This was actually before the ruling came down on appeal and I basically said, “No, we don’t see any reason to do that. We think we got a strong record.”

Then ultimately after the affirmants, I got a call from a silk stocking law firm in New York City. The lawyer was very good. He said to me … He was a good guy to deal with. He said, “So, Jim, what would it take to settle this case?” I had already worked out figures and I said, “Well, the verdict was $1.5 million.” “Yes.” “And the interest, as you know, is at 10% and as of last Tuesday, that would have been … Whatever it was. And we were also awarded our costs and that would be this and if you add all that up, it adds up to …” I think it around $1.6 422,938.27. He says, “Yes.” I said, “Well, that’s what it’ll take to settle the case.” He chuckled and said, “Okay. Thanks for talking with me.” Of course, it didn’t settle for that.

Then the opinion came down, whatever it was by then. They paid.

Scott Glovsky: What impact did this case have on you?

Jim Fitzgerald: Well, a lot of impact. First of all, this was in the days before verdicts were widely publicized as they are now, but there was some publicity to it. I had already tried some cases and won and that’s how I got this case. It was referred to me by a lawyer or a non-lawyer about a person who was aware of my past verdicts. As a kid lawyer, I just tried cases out of my heart and my gut because I didn’t have enough brains or experience to do anything else. I had success in getting verdicts.

Unlike most states, we do a lot of our work in the United States District Courts here. Lot of people will shy away from federal court. I really like the federal court for many, many reasons and I had had federal court victories. We had diversity with Caterpillar so filed there, but after this verdict, then I was better known, especially in this state as somebody could try a case and would try a case and who couldn’t be bought out by costing me out of the case, too much in the way of costs or couldn’t be intimidated out of the case, couldn’t be … I wouldn’t cower. I wouldn’t back down if I thought it was a good case. Frankly, it’s a no offer case. What are you going to do? You’re going to try it.

But it propelled me into the next level of work and I had the privilege of working with Russ again on other cases. Sometimes he would ask me into his cases and sometimes I’d ask him into my cases. We’ve had a long, good relationship. I made a friend. He became a very helpful colleague. He’s very bright on evidence law and so I still will call them up and say, “Hey, I got this issue. What do you think?” He likes to do that. Russ is retired now.

So what did it do? It established me as somebody who knew what he was doing. It made me some new friends. It frankly gave me capital to plow back into the firm because this money was collected when I was probably about 37. I only became a lawyer at the age of 28 so I hadn’t been practicing that long by the time the money was paid and it helped finance a law firm and a law practice.

Scott Glovsky: Jim, you’re one of the most humble guys that I know. You’re a member of the Inner Circle, probably the most prestigious group for trial lawyers in the United States and there’s a lot of trial lawyers that are … Let’s say flamboyant or egocentric. I’m not talking about the Inner Circle. I’m just talking in the larger trial lawyer population. How have you stayed so humble and real?

Jim Fitzgerald: It didn’t always happen. Sometimes when I was younger I’d get a trial verdict and think I was something hot, but it’s come with age and it’s come with the knowledge that there are tragedies in this world and my job is to not become famous and rich on the backs of those cases. It’s my job to try make things safer. That’s my whole goal. Always has been. I saw no reason why Caterpillar Tractor Company shouldn’t have had a rollover protective structure on those pieces of equipment long before they did so I believed in those cases.

At times, I’ve thought, “Well, I had a lot to do with it.” I think the truth is just tell the truth, find out what the truth is and tell it. Keep telling it and a jury will, in those days, do the right thing. It’s harder now because corporate America has done a really good job of persuading people that there are too many lawyers and too many big verdicts and too many of this and too many of that. It’s harder now to win a case, frankly, but still just as important. If nothing else, the greater difficulty now of winning cases keeps me humble.

Scott Glovsky: You have been …

Jim Fitzgerald: I hope I’m humble. You described me as humble. I don’t feel that humble. I just know I have to work really hard to keep up and to prevail.

Scott Glovsky: You have been on the forefront of schools of thought for trying cases for many years. I know that you were in the first psychodrama for lawyers with Jerry Spence and Don Clarkson, I believe. Maybe not Don Clarkson.

Jim Fitzgera: Don came along not long after that. He was involved.

Scott Glovsky: And you were involved in the last few years in developing the reptile theory that is very prominent among trial lawyers now. What advice do you have as truly a brilliant legal mind, a legal legend, and someone that’s been doing this for quite a while, what advice do you have for young trial lawyers?

Jim Fitzgerald: Let me correct one thing. I’m not a brilliant legal mind, but I’m brilliant in this way: I’m brilliant in knowing what I don’t know. I happen to be married to a lawyer and she has a brilliant legal mind and she, what I call, speaks judge. When there is a legal issue, a thorny legal issue, I enlist her to go do the argument. She prepares a lot of the briefs and we have a common … We have a lot of editing among the lawyers in the firm which now includes our son. One of our sons.

My advice to young lawyers in that regard and every other regard is ask for help. Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, something to work on. Do work that you find personally compelling. Frankly, you can’t just do this for a paycheck. It will eat you up. You have to have a greater purpose in fighting these battles unless you just like to fight, which describes a lot of lawyers, but that won’t sustain you forever I don’t believe. If you just like to fight, you may need to exercise better judgment from time to time on which fights to actually pick. But get to know yourself. Be honest with yourself and let people help you.

Scott Glovsky: Jim, on behalf of your clients, on behalf of your students who you’ve taught, trial lawyers around the country, and behalf of myself, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us.

Jim Fitzgerald: Thank you, Scott. It’s been a privilege.

Scott Glovsky: Thank you for joining us today for Trial Lawyer Talk. If you like the show, I’d really appreciate it if you could give us a good review on iTunes and I’d love to get your feedback. You can reach me at scottglovsky.wpengine.com. That’s S-C-O-T-T-G-L-O-V-S-K-Y .com and I’d love to hear your feedback. You can also check out the book that I published called Finding Health Insurance Denials: A Primer for Lawyers. It’s on Amazon. I put the book together based on 20 years of suing health insurance companies for denying medical care to people and it provides a general outline of how to fight health insurance denials.

Have a great week and we’ll talk to you in the next episode.