Here we go again. The U S Chamber is back with another one of their videos that is flying around all of the business blogs as an example of why the courthouse doors should be shut. This time, it’s a pest control former owner (it looks like he is retired now) who had to go to trial twice. Basically, there was a trial, the defendant won, the case was appealed, and the plaintiff won. So there was another trial.
Now this video is a little different for the Chamber because it actually contained the wording:
“Everyone deserves their day in court,”
which clearly isn’t in line with any of the other lawsuit garbage that comes out of the U S Chamber. Usually it’s :
"only we get to go to court"
Now looking into the story a little more, it probably is worth reading the actual appeal decision. Looks like the court ruled that there was excessive hearsay evidence that was admitted for the defendant. The court actually said:
The erroneous admission of hearsay evidence does not mandate reversal where the admission is cumulative of legally admissible evidence and therefore harmless.9 But Peachtree Pest Control does not allege that the error was harmless. And given that the record in this case consists of eighteen volumes, including a ten-volume trial transcript, we decline to cull the record on the defendant’s behalf to determine whether the evidence was cumulative.10 Thus, we reverse.
In fact, when the defendant was asked for support of their position the court said:
Peachtree Pest Control argues, without providing a single citation of authority, that the document was not hearsay. It does not contend that the evidence was admissible under any exception to the hearsay rule.
It is also interesting that despite what is said in the video, the court facts indicate that:
Viewed in a light favorable to the verdict,2 the evidence shows that Garland Gillette, an employee of Peachtree Pest Control, applied pesticide-Talstar-at the offices of the Molex Connector Corporation in December 1999. Chancey, a Molex employee, testified at trial that Gillette applied pesticide to the room and desk where she was seated.3 According to Chancey, she had an immediate allergic reaction to the pesticide and suffered serious permanent health problems-including reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (“RADS”), a rare lung disorder, and vocal cord dysfunction-as a result of the chemical exposure.
The rest of the propaganda involves a demand and the tearful statements about the fear for his whole business. I wonder why he didn’t have insurance coverage? Although if the industry is as regulated as he says, wasn’t insurance a part of the compliance? Actually it looks like Georgia has a law requiring coverage. So what was really at risk?
All in all, this really doesn’t look like a crazy appellate decision. Which is probably why they don’t explain it.
Past commercials from the U S Chamber :
U S Chamber Has A Brand New Abuse That Makes You Scratch Your Head, Mike Bryant | August 19, 2010 9:35 AM
U S Chamber Emails Minnesota About Washington State Jobs, Mike Bryant | May 03, 2010 9:14 AM
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.