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A first-time lawyer helps earn a $20m jury verdict after six years

A first-time lawyer helps earn a $20m jury verdict after six years

Lawyers Louis “Buddy” Yosha, Bryan C. Tisch, and Richard A. Cook of the Yosha Cook & Tisch are no strangers to the personal injury litigation trial. As a team, these lawyers have a combined experience of over 100 years in the courtrooms, and they have received a multitude of national recognitions for their efforts on behalf of their injured clients. Additionally, their legal expertise spans the gamut of judiciary practices and specialties, as that is what has contributed to their sustained group success. 

Each of the men hold distinguished honors in their field, and they are all nationally acclaimed for their work in the courtroom. So if the team of Yosha Cook & Tisch – Personal Injury Lawyers are accomplished and capable masters of the American Legal System, it may be shocking to learn a first-time lawyer helped the men win a 20-million-dollar jury verdict for their client in Simmons v. Indianapolis Power & Light Co. (IPL). The team specializes in, but are not limited to, personal injury claims, sexual harassment, product liability, breach of contract related to construction disputes, and most importantly for the first-time lawyer’s case, construction-related injury claims. 

Who is Brandon Yosha? 

Who is Brandon Yosha?

Joining Yosha, Cook and Tisch was Yosha’s son Brandon, who only graduated from Indiana University two years earlier, on the case tried in front of Judge James Joven in Indianapolis’s Marion Superior Court. It was never Brandon’s plan to follow in the footsteps of his father. Instead, his dream was to play football. After a successful high school and brief college career, a nagging knee injury sidelined him for good. 

With his first and initial ideal career path broken down, Brandon transferred his passion and drive for greatness to the courtrooms alongside his award-winning father. He found immediate success as an eloquently spoken wordsmith, as by year two, Indiana University (IU) named him to the Order of Barristers, a national honorary society of the country’s top collegiate oral advocates. As part of the Order, IU selected Brandon to be their representative against the University of Notre Dame and other in-state law schools in a competition hosted by the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA). By July 2019, Brandon earned his Juris Doctorate, and later that year, he was an official Junior Partner for his father’s practice. The following year, he made the opening and closing statements for the plaintiff in his first case with 20 million dollars on the line.

A 20-million-dollar mistake

Simmons v. Indiana Power & Light Co. stemmed from a contract-for-hire maintenance worker situation gone wrong around seven years ago. Wayne Simmons, a union carpenter, has not been able to do his job since 2014 because of a critical lack of thorough preparation from an employee of IPL. Sterling Boiler & Mechanical sent the contractor Simmons out to IPL’s Petersburg plant to excavate a hole that would later be filled with concrete so construction workers on a large-scale hydrogen tank could have stable ground. 

IPL issued Simmons a permit that allowed him to begin his job, and in the words of Tisch, this permit assured Wayne there were no electrical lines beneath the surface of the dig site. Cook noted that one of IPL’s workers did not properly survey what lies underneath the site, and instead the worker relied on an inaccurate drawn representation of the area from years prior. According to the drawing, there were no live wires, but once Simmons began to jackhammer into the earth’s surface, the opposite, sadly, became true. 

Simmons’ jackhammer made contact with a 4,160-volt line waiting for only feet underneath the surface and was immediately thrust backward from where he stood by a lightning-quick explosion. In only four days, Simmons contracted neurological symptoms that have not lessened over the past six years and continue to halt him from making money with the job he spent years in training and in the field. Simmons’ medical bills began to pile atop of one another with the loss of steady income, as one infusion surgery seemed to lead right into another.

A strange case

A strange case

Brandon Yosha’s trial debut was by no means an ordinary trial. Although the entire Yosha Cook & Tisch team prepared meticulously for several years for their day in court, it took some good fortune to have their case heard in late October 2020. Due to the pandemic, the Marion County Superior Courts only heard one case each week, and the Simmons had the one case in Marion County in late October. To give themselves more time, IPL moved for a COVID-19 continuance as close as three days before the trial was scheduled to begin, but their efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful. 

In an interview with the Indiana Lawyer, Brandon explained to the reporter that the Plaintiff’s legal team argued another trial extension would delay justice further, as the Simmons had to wait six and half years before their proposed trial date.   The honorably Judge Joven ruled the case would move forward as planned with a socially distanced, six-foot-apart jury in attendance. Further, the jury members, scattered and seated along the walls, wore masks for the entirety of the proceedings. This was an immediate hurdle to climb for Brandon, as in his first case, he had no indication of his success during and following his delivery of the opening and closing statements on damages.

One final element affected by COVID-19 was the introduction of technology into the courtroom. The trial team of Yosha, Cook, & Tisch called two medical experts to testify via Zoom which was broadcasted on a large television in front of the jury members. According to Tisch, the court staff informed the plaintiff’s team that this was the first time the Marion County Superior Courts implemented and allowed anything like it.

A Strange case’s conclusion 

As the case wrapped up, Simmons’ representatives presented the jury with a 40-million-dollar valuation, with 35 million resulting from pain and suffering and the remaining five million from what Cook defined as “hard damages.” For years, Yosha, Cook and Tisch were confident they could net their client a repayment of, at minimum, an eight-figure number. When the jury returned, the belief rang true as

they obtained a judgment in favor of the plaintiff at the cost of 20 million in damages.

The jurors found IPL responsible for 60 percent of the damages, Sterling Boiler at 30 percent and Simmons at the bottom with ten percent. Due to this, the final verdict amount rested at 12.2 million, but a long and arduous process was finally at its end. In his first case, Brandon achieved justice for an ailing man and his wife. “Brandon’s accomplishment is unheard of,” said Tisch. “To win your very first trial with an eight-figure jury verdict is not something a five-week-in lawyer should be able to do.”