Mitch: Good morning and welcome in, this is ask the experts here on the Big 920. The Big 920.com streaming nationalwide and beyond by the IHeart radio app my name is Mitch Nelles AKA thunder. And looking at my watch it must be the first Sunday of the month be you know who is with me the one the only they are celebrating their 8th birthday as a law firm he’s Jon Groth from Groth Law Firm. Jon, good morning.
Jon: Good morning, how are you?
Mitch: I am great.
Jon: You sound great.
Mitch: I feel great and yeah and we should all be great.
Jon: It’s a good day to be great.
Mitch: It is, so this week you guys celebrated your eight birthday your eight anniversary as a law firm.
Jon: That’s right eight years so it.
Mitch: That’s exciting.
Jon: It is exciting it’s kind of shocking that we have been around for eight years. I don’t feel that old, I’ve been a lawyer for 18 years and…
Mitch: I was going to say you’ve been a lawyer longer than eight years you had other jobs before that, before… So what made you take the leap that you were working for somebody else of you were trying to figure out what you wanted to be when you grow up. How about I open up my own show. How do you take that leap?
Jon: Boy, I didn’t have that goal way back when that I would have my own law firm but you just kind of look at the numbers and figure out like everybody does hey can I do this better of can I make more or can I have a better quality of life or something like that. I decided that I could, that was the hope and it’s worked out well.
Mitch: Yeah, I was gonna say eight years in feeling good.
Jon: I feel good yeah we have more staff than we have ever had we are in a new office on 112 and Bluemound and things are going well.
Mitch: Did you celebrate you go out you pop a little bubbly or anything?
Jon: Yeah, my wife and I went out to eat and she did get some champagne.
Mitch: There you go.
Jon: I thought she was getting three drinks for herself she was getter two or sorry two bottles two glasses of champagne and a drink and I had my beer. I said that’s a lot of drinks for you hunny she goes well one is for you so we had champagne and then a drink.
Mitch: Nice, made a little more sense…
Jon: It made more sense it didn’t make any sense initially then it was like I know what’s going on.
Mitch: Well, congratulations. So eight years in what have you learned what has surprised you what’s maybe one of the thing that as a business owner… You went to law school you were a lawyer and you practiced law well it’s more than that being a business owner and still practicing… Tell us something that maybe surprised you or has open your eyes about being a business owner that you weren’t necessarily expecting when you became a lawyer.
Jon: When you are in law school what you are taught really is that the law is this magical mysterious lofty kind of profession. And that all you have to do is just be a lawyer and that’s it. Then when you have your own shingle and you are doing this you realize you have to pay the bills and you have to do certain things. Just being a lawyer isn’t good enough you have to actually collect fees and understand all of that. That’s kind of the eye opening part is how much time I spend doing the business side versus how much time I spend doing the law side so all day today I’ve been in mediation and luckily I was working last night and I’ll work this weekend to get the business side done but everyday there is some business side thing you have to do.
Mitch: Well there is payroll and there’s HR and there’s accounts receivable and accounts payable and you gotta pay the rent for where you are and again like you said somebody has to pay a bill if they haven’t paid within their time. You gotta figure out what’s going on and hopefully it’s for the right reasons or they just missed it or whatever and then bill collectors get in I mean there is all…. Wow, I just got tired just thinking about that stuff.
Jon: It’s something where in our world it’s different then let’s say a trust and estate lawyer for a criminal defence attorney where as in our world we front all the costs for our clients and then we wait until we get paid in the back end. So you have to win in order to get paid but in the meantime between the beginning of the case and the end of the case you might spend 2,3,4, in some cases 15,30,40 thousand dollars in costs so you have to then figure out how you are gonna do it because you then have to have other cases that are settling to fund those cases that are gonna take a while. There are some cases that will last for four or five years and at the end of that four or five years you might have 25 thousand dollars in costs of whatever and then you get paid but you have to have enough cases early on that you can have that cycle get maintained.
Mitch: Absolutely so that you can execute your job to your fullest abilities he is Jon Groth. Groth Law Offices visit maxmycase.com. Just celebrating his eight anniversary as a business owner and so do you get to enjoy is not the right word. Maybe it is maybe enjoy is the right word. I think about what we all went to school for and we all hopefully many of us are doing what we are passionate about or at least what we are connected to for a living and I’m guessing the law is like that. So do you get to enjoy the law often enough as a business owner or as a lawyer in general? You talked about in law school where law is kind of this magical thing, again I don’t know if enjoy is right word or not but do you get to enjoy the law enough.
Jon: Where you feel good about it you feel good about what you are doing?
Mitch: Yeah, you know that sense of purpose helping people that sort of thing?
Jon: Looking back at the very beginning so when I started the firm in March first 2010 the our office..
Mitch: First of all I can’t believe 2010 is eight years ago.
Jon: I know isn’t that crazy? I remember when it was Y2K. (laughter) And the whole world was going to end.
Mitch: It was.
Jon: The office was this little Ikea type desk it wasn’t really a desk it was an Ikea type thing that I had in our basement and it looked out on the block wall. So it was my face looking at the block wall and we had two kids and a dog and I would be on the phone… I remember specifically being on the phone with a potential client and I heard my dog Milley running on top of it felt like me because she is a very big lab. Trying to cover that up… I’m a actual legitimate attorney here that just don’t mind the dog running around.
Jon: So going from that were you worried what is going to happen next and what can you do and were you just making ends meet and paying for your kids diapers and such. Now it’s different and you get from time to time cases where you can really feel like you are making a difference number one and then you get cases where you can really exert some strategy and then understand how the pieces go together and you can see how the long play comes out that you do something today that is going to take effect six months from now but you get to really see that and enjoy the strategy of it all. Those things the strategy certainly funds helping all clients, I had a trail a couple weeks ago and literally my client at the end of trail: he a six foot six 280 guy who hadn’t shaved that day and he grabbed me and we jumping up and down a big hug and that was the best feeling.
Mitch: That’s a big bear hug.
Jon: That was a big bear hug.
Mitch: And we will get more into that a little bit further into the show.
John: So you have those kind of days where you can really feel good about yourself and it’s all worthwhile and then you have days where you… Every single call is just a sad story where there is no recovery and there is no way to help people out and why am I doing this and what’s wrong. Just ebbs and flows.
Mitch: Absolutely, maxmycase.com that’s maxmycase.com to get in touch with John. John Growth with us on ask the experts from Growth Law Firm. As it is the first Sunday of every month and you mentioned earlier that you’ve had kind of a long day on Friday you were busy on mediation. We had a phone call set up and you kept texting me and saying I’ll get back to you later, I’ll get back to you later, how do you get caught up in mediation all day. How does that happen?
Jon: Boy, in mediation what happens is in today’s mediation usually it’s just two parties you have the victim and at then the at fault party. When you are talking like a car accident I will say. So it’s a rear end accident so you have one person that caused it and one person that’s the victim and that’s the easy mediation cause it’s two people and you don’t have to wait too long for anyone to get back to you. So it can take an hour or something like that when you are going back and forth. Todays mediation was and let me think of all the rooms there was our room their room so that’s two. I think there was five different rooms.
Mitch: So five different parties that were part of this case?
Jon: Five different parties and then there was one person who was stuck in the hallway.
Jon: So there was six different people.
Mitch: Did they draw the short stick is that how it works?
Jon: They didn’t…
Mitch: Or they weren’t that involved?
Jon: They weren’t that involved and they didn’t have a client with them so it was just the attorney. That attorney just had his laptop and was sitting in the hallway in a chair.
Mitch: Sucker, do you make fun of that? Sucker.
Jon: And we would walk past him to go to the restroom and go back and say hey, how are you. But this case was one where nobody was in a good position it was just a horrific case where there was a fatality and the person who was driving the car that was the passenger had passed away the driver of that car didn’t have any insurance. He the passenger didn’t have any insurance the driver actually was going backwards on the freeway so we are supposed to 70 this person was backing up on the freeway on the middle lane.
Mitch: I feel like you are not supposed to go backwards on the expressway.
Jon: You probably should not.
Mitch: Already so quick side. When I was a senior in high school in physics class Earl Feltiburger, Mr. Feltiburger was the teacher and I remember I don’t know why I was telling the story before class or whatever but I was getting of 43 on good hope and I just missed the exit. I’m in the breakdown lane I’m not even in the… I just backed up 50 feet, 20 feet, and he lost his brain. He just started yelling that you never ever back up on the expressway because you never know who is coming or who is not paying attention. It’s just not worth it just go to the next exit and get there or pull over if you have to pull over whatever it is. But never back up on the expressway. Well to his point.
Jon: And now you know why. This guy was backing up he was under the influence of something and he caused this horrific accident. There were multiple cars over minutes where a car collision happens and a minute later another car collision happens because somebody else wasn’t paying attention and they just ran through the accident site. It was unbelievable so there was all these different parties.
Mitch: I feel like I did that once. It wasn’t that horrific or anything like that but there were two or maybe three cars and all of a sudden you look up and you’re just flying through this site because you had no warning really you are coming around a bend of whatever it is….
Jon: And you assume everybody is going the same speed that they are not stopped…
Mitch: We do as humans I think have that assumption on the expressway that everybody is driving the same speed essentially on the expressway.
Jon: And you don’t realize how much ground you cover in a second going 70 miles an hour.
Mitch: Yeah, that’s a lot.
Jon: That’s approximately 100 feet. So anyway that’s what made it complex we have all these different parties and then there is at fault insurance, underinsured motorist, uninsured motorist, and then the insurance who paid for medical bills. All those people were involved and the mediator was running late because he was serving as an expert in a different case and he was getting deposed so he was somewhere and he showed up late. It was that kind of day.
Mitch: I hear you, well I want to hear more a little bit about how those mechanics go back and forth and who gets to talk when and who gets to present and who get paid first. All that order of stuff I want to hear, we will get a little bit more in depth into that. He is John Growth, Growth Law Firm visit maxmycase.com that’s maxmycase.com they are right here on 111 and blue mount in Tosa. You are listening to the Big 920 the Big 920.com the Iheart radio app it’s ask the experts.
Mitch: We are back it’s ask the experts here on the Big 920, thebig920.com. Mitch Nelles AKA Thunder here with you on this Sunday morning and it’s the first Sunday of the month, Sunday March 4th and that means our friend Jon Groth from Groth Law Firm is here go to maxmycase.com that’s maxmycase.com. Jon has told us a little bit about his eight anniversary as headlining at Groth Law Firm. You are the headliner you get center space on the stage.
Jon: I haven’t been called a headliner before but sure I will take it yeah.
Mitch: Jon spent Friday in mediation all day. I know that because we were supposed to have a phone call in the middle of the afternoon. I kept getting texts from Jon saying it’s running late got an email Thursday that I’ll be done by one then I got a text that said ah we will try two and then I’m leaving it’s three so I will give you a call now. You were mentioning in the last segment Jon that there were five or six different parties in this mediation and more often than not there is two parties. So when there is this many parties involved in mediation who gets to talk when, who get to talk to who how do different parties get whole again? How do… I’m guessing a number of these are insurance companies that want to collect on what they feel is owed to them. How does this process work?
Jon: Well first off I guess we always assume that mediation or anything involving the court or the law is formal. Mediation is far from formal it’s really…
Mitch: It’s a free for all.
Jon: It’s a free for all. This one is somewhat typical in that it was at an attorney’s office so you weren’t in a court. You are in an attorney’s office and every party had their own conference room. So we are literally just hold up in a conference room..
Mitch: So you are in a conference room with your client? It’s the two off you or did you have other people there with you?
Jon: My client and his spouse well his wife but… So those two it was the three of us and I was joking that we could maybe play hangman or we could do something or planks whatever the game may be.
Mitch: A lot of looking at each other.
Jon: A lot of looking. If you can’t talk it’s going to be an awkward six hours. So lucky we got along pretty well and we got lots to talk about because kids and that kind of stuff. That’s somewhat, what happens in a mediation your in a room. Most of the time the mediator just like a bumble bee just goes from room to room to room buzzes around. Sometimes what happens is the mediator will take every party in the beginning of a mediation into the biggest conference room and then kind of talk to everybody and make sure that the parties are on the same page. Make sure that everybody has time to air their grievances or something like that.
Mitch: It’s like festivus everyday.
Jon: It’s like festivus yeah for the rest of us. So what it is that’s being one out of the 10 times. But the majority of the time then it’s we literally walk in they give us a conference room we sit down and you don’t see anybody. So really you could be just some massive scam that nobody else is there and you wouldn’t know because you are sitting there. You sit there then the mediator comes in tell us what is going on and then walks out and goes to the next room and tries to figure out what is all happening.
Mitch: So when the mediator comes in and tell you what is going on do you then huddle with your client and say well this is what I think is really going on. This is how we need to attack this next stage or whatever it must be. Is there stratery going on?
Jon: There is strategy yes so what you usually see is I tell my clients if he is going to ask you a question that has to do with any kind of numbers say I need to talk to my lawyer.
Mitch: Cause you don’t want to be on record saying a number.
Jon: Or you don’t want to kind of like the whole Scientfelt reference where you be like crammer who says I’ll take coffee forever when he could of gotten something.
Mitch: Who told you to put the bomb on I didn’t tell you to put the bomb on.
Jon: Exactly, Jacqui Child’s right is that Jacqui Childs?
Mitch: Absolutely it is.
Jon: So the mediator leaves and then I talk to my clients ok this is what I think is actually happening because if you heard the inflection of his voice or this or that. Or he said he is going to them next and just came from these guys then you can kind of figure out and really try and read between the lines as to what the heck is actually happening because you can’t trust anybody because it’s all lawyers.
Mitch: Now the mediator though doesn’t have a dog in the race does he? Can you at least trust them that they really did come from this room and that they are really going to this room next?
Jon: I think the old saying is trust but verify. You don’t trust anybody but sorry you don’t trust anybody and one of the underlying problems is ego cause the mediator wants to sell the case as a matter of just ego.
Mitch: I am the mediator who settled this case look at me. I’m the wiz it’s all Scientfelt all the time this morning.
Jon: There is no other way to compete with anybody else because there is not two mediators there is just one mediator. So the mediator wants to get something done so they might try to get somebody to take less knowing that, that will settle the case. But as the attorney for that person you want that person to get more. So sometimes you are fighting against the mediator and the mediator might be holding something back so you just never really know. So that’s why you have to really gauge what’s going on and just know from experience how this mediator works or how this attorney works so you can try and get a sense walking into it.
Mitch: Got it so you are in the room and you are with your clients and your client’s spouse is there or other medications. Maybe there is other people in the room or maybe it’s just you and one other person so when it starts dragging on or when you are wondering weather… Is there a way that you have that you can go and figure out, I mean are you allowed to leave the room and call the mediator over and say hey can we get an update.
Jon: My, and this is maybe different just because now I’m older but.
Mitch: Eight years old even.
Jon: I am eight years old, I guess it’s been one of the tricks of the trade where it comes with confidence or it comes with being there that I often try and get out of the room and I wonder around and try to talk to the other parties just to try and get a sense on my own. I think it’s totally appropriate if there is other attorneys around then it’s no big deal if it’s just an adjuster who has no attorney it’s not appropriate but I always try and do that and that’s maybe just one of my tactics that you want get a sense some verification. Again trusting and verifying to kind of see what is going on.
Mitch: I guessing you go into some of these and weather it’s just you and another party or like this one on Friday where there is a big… Or maybe you know some of the other lawyers or have worked with or against each other before can you play up a relationship let’s figure this out. Yeah, the mediator is in this room so why don’t you and I just talk real quick and figure out if we can get this done.
Jon: That’s I guess when it comes to mediation the mediator that we had last Friday was he is a good guy that I like using because I tried cases against him. So he knows that I am somebody that will trial a case so that’s good. The attorney who was in the hallway last week he is somebody who I have known for a long time so I can kind of get a sense and kind of get a sense of where he is coming from and what ideas he has about other parties because I know the guy pretty well. There is two parties that I hadn’t ever seen before. That was interesting and I walked into one of the rooms and talked to him for a while. Just to get a sense of who they were and…
Mitch: And it went ok?
Mitch: Seemed like a normal person?
Jon: A normal person nothing too crazy. So it was good to get that assurance really. The other room I didn’t talk to them until the end and I kind of know those guys but it wasn’t really that important. That’s something that you can use your outside influence and you have to use your reputation I guess or whatever you can so you can walk in and get a better feeling as to what you can do for your client that day. Weather you can flex your muscle or not and what you can do to help your client the best you can.
Mitch: Sure, he is Jon Groth with Groth Law Firm. That is Groth, Groth Law Firm. Go to maxmycase.com maxmycase.com. So we you are in mediation weather it’s one other party or whatever the case may be. What do you tell your client? You know I am your client and we are sitting there in mediation and we are there for an hour or we are there for five hour or whatever it may be. Beside small talk and kids, pertaining to the case or pertaining to life or whatever. What type of conversation are you having? What advice should I have if I know I am going into mediation with my attorney. Or if I am hiring you are my attorney. What should I know about the mediation process.
Jon: Sure and I’m a little bit different because..
Mitch: Well we know that Jon. We could just drop the mic right now.
Jon: I can tell you that what I like to do is get ahead of expectations. Cause this is many times the only time somebody is going to be in a mediation and so they are going to be freaked out as to what is going on. Am I going to court am I doing this? Am I going to be under the bright lights.
Mitch: We are sitting in this room we are going to be quite for two hours what is going on.
Jon: They are not disappointed as to what mediation was. I was sitting in somebody’s conference room that is kind of weird. So what I like to do is meet with the client or talk to the client certainly days before hand and get a sense and tell them I have a sheet that I have what is a mediation that I give to the client. Then we go through, ok this is the mediation this is what is going to happen and if we are looking for… If we think your case at trial is worth x amount of money we can settle y amount of money at mediation because of these tactics. Or because of things we can get this person to take less of or this person to pay more. Or if it’s coming from this particular entity then we have a made hole argument or a rhyme seering all these different tactics that you can use to maximize the settlement. It all goes back to maximizing your case you know.
Mitch: Exactly maxmycase.com
Jon: I know it’s corny but it’s true. So you want to have that so the client knows what is going on before mediation so when you go in mediation they are not freaked out and overly nervous and then you have to kind of explain things ten times over because it is just not comfortable. It’s already uncomfortable situation why make it more uncomfortable by having them walk in totally blindfolded. Then at mediation what I usually do is for not a case like well… I have a case next week I have a mediation that is going to be an average case meanings it’s one on one not five parties.
Jon: On that case what I will have is I will have probably five different pieces of paper that will say I think their first offer might be x amount of money. This is what that means to you and the next piece of paper is y amount of money and this is what it means to you. A third and fourth and then that’s what it means to you at mediation and then you have to look at what that means to you at the other side what that same amount of money means at trial. Because between mediation and trail the costs are going to increase and the costs come off the bottom line of the client. So you could be spending easily five, ten thousand dollar between mediation and trial.
Mitch: So if that number is a hundred thousand if I’m getting a hundred thousand in mediation that’s a lot more then if I’m getting a hundred thousand at trial.
Jon: Exactly right and you have some tactics that you can use at mediation to get maybe your payback to your chiropractor so if the chiropractor wants ten thousand dollars maybe they are willing to take because the time value of money whatever it is they will take eight thousand dollars well that is a two thousand dollar bump. So there are two different ways of getting the best value getting the ad fault to pay as much as possible and your medical expenses to take as little as possible or your health insurance to take as little as possible. So you can get that difference as big as possible.
Mitch: He is Jon Groth with Groth Law Firm that groth go to maxmycase.com. Do you bring snacks?
Jon: I do, I have.
Mitch: Do you tell people like bring a cup of coffee or bring a couple snacks or bring something if you want to do something.
Jon: Usually I do yeah, cause especially if it’s something that starts at like ten.
Mitch: It’s going to go over lunch hour. Do you ever order lunch?
Jon: We do yeah if it’s a nice mediation they will actually order lunch for ya. Then they have the kind of the scrooge mediators who they don’t and they expect us to we do it which is still fine.
Mitch: You still make it work.
Jon: You still make it work yeah. I always have like a Fiber One bar in my briefcase.
Mitch: We have Fiber Ones at our new kitchen area here at the Iheart media. Have you seen the new snacks here?
Jon: Isn’t that the one where they trust that you are going to.
Mitch: Yeah, well they have cameras set up. Trust and verify, I heard that once. He is Jon Groth, Groth Law Firm go to maxmycase.com that’s maxmycase.com. When we come back Jon had a case a couple weeks ago he is going to let us know how that went and some of the things that we can take away from that experience. This is the Big 920 the Big920.com streaming nation wide and beyond on the via the Iheart radio app. You are listening to Ask The Experts.
Mtich: Continuing Ask the Experts on the Big 920 the Big920.com streaming nationwide and beyond via the Iheart radio app. Mitch Nelles AKA Thunder here with you a little plug make sure you check out the longshot podcast on the Iheart radio app it’s very funny very clever and Bronze Strollmen of the WWE will be appearing on it this week. Of course I am going to miss him because I am going to be out of town but it should be great with Josh and Armen and special guest Pat Mccurdy. Back here on Ask the Experts that’s right Jon Groth eyes just lit up you know Pat right?
Jon: Of course Pat Mccurdy yeah.
Mitch: So I don’t know if you know this or not because you are not a podcast lawyer.
Jon: Podcast lawyer.
Mitch: I don’t know IP lawyer.
Jon: Oh IP yeah.
Mitch: So on podcasts you are not allowed to play songs that you don’t own the rights to or have permission too.
Jon: OK, so like on the radio.
Mitch: But on the radio when we are on the radio we can play the first 30 seconds of any song we want. There is some rule where it’s like upto 45 seconds you are allowed to play whatever you want. On podcasts you are not allowed to play anything you don’t have the rights to. So we were starting this podcast and we were like it doesn’t sounds right when you don’t have music coming in and music going out. Josh who is on our podcast is actually close personal friends with Pat Mccurdy so he goes Pat can we use your music and Pat goes sure. Pat Mccurdy does all the music for the Longshot podcast and with me out of town this coming week. Pat Mccurdy is going to sit in and record the podcast with him this coming week.
Jon: That’s awesome so it’s like I am wonderful or what’s the song?
Mitch: We use all of them Nude Party, Sex and Beer all of the classic hits some new ones that I’m not as familiar with because I haven’t seen Pat Mccurdy I’ve been thinking for 24 years. But anything that he’s done in the last 10 years I’ve never heard before.
Jon: We used to go I guess it was late 90’s. Go all over the place.
Mitch: Yeah, we were probably in the same place together at some point. I bet we were.
Jon: I had the bumper sticker on the car the Sex and Beer bumper sticker and all that kind of stuff. It was a long time ago.
Mitch: Last Thursday night I may have danced with Pat on the stage and done a little Sex and Beer. It was a night blast from the past that’s for sure. He is Job Groth from Groth Law Firm our guest this week on Ask the Expert. Learning a little bit about podcast law and social media and all that stuff.
Jon: It’s good to know.
Mitch: Absolutely, Jon earlier or I guess it’s March now last month a couple weeks ago had an opportunity to trial a case. And Jon is not afraid for the courtroom Jon will get dirty when he needs to he will get in their if there is a settlement to be made or a mediation to be made Jon is open to that opportunity but when a case merits it Jon is more than willing to get involved in that way and a couple weeks ago you got involved in a case Jon.
Jon: That’s true well it’s a case that has been around forever it seems and this is a case that there is some attorneys and this is something that I learned years ago that you have to trial the A cases you have to trial good cases. That’s just the way it should be so that you can keep insurance companies honest or certainly know what the value of a case is and things like that. This is a case that my clients were just the nicest people ever good Packers fans even though they are out of the state.
Mitch: But that helps sometimes when you have nice clients.
Jon: Correct big time.
Mitch: Because I’m guessing you’ve had clients that aren’t the nicest people in the world.
Jon: Grumpy clients I call them yes.
Mitch: Grumpy is a good word.
Jon: Grumpy is the nice way of putting it. This super nice guy great guy and good family. It was really easy to be an advocate for them because it just was a pleasure to talk about them and advocate for them. This was a case that he is from out of state and he was here for a Packer game and as he is leaving to go home the host family I will say owns a business up in Callamack county just east of Lake Winnebago.
Mitch: Up there a little bit.
Jon: Up there and during the trial it was sturgeon spearing when you drive up near Lake Winnebago it was ice shanty city. It was unbelievable all the little houses that were up there. There were cars in the hotel parking lot that were from all over the United States Oklahoma, certainly Illinois, Michigan.
Mitch: Some people come from all over.
Jon: Everywhere it was pretty cool.
Mitch: You meet some cool people not just during the trial just being up there during that time.
Jon: I meet a guy who had the biggest belt buckle I’ve seen and he just happens to be from Oklahoma and he had this old it was a Ford truck and on the front of the truck was a shovel just like a shovel. He had it welded on the front of the truck. I should of asked why but I didn’t.
Mitch: That’s his thing.
Jon: That’s his thing.
Mitch: Shovel man.
Jon: He was the shovel guy. So my client was going home as they are going back to Milwaukee to get on the airplane. They stop by the host family, host family says hey what you need to do is look at our new bar that we just built at the business we are at. So he says OK he goes up lets call it the fire escape looks in the window he says it a bar, I’ve seen bars I know what a bar is. He walks down the fire escape when it collapses so he falls ten feet and fractures the Kaneo Form Navicular bone.
Mitch: You just made that up.
Jon: I did, in his right foot.
Mitch: Sounds good though.
Jon: It sounds real. It’s intra articular so the joint.
Mitch: It’s the word that is intra articular.
Jon: It’s pretty bad so the fracture is over joints which means it’s going to be arthritic so you are going to get arthritis.
Mitch: That’s the worst that actually is the worst because it’s going to be back for a long time.
Jon: The thought is well what is going to happen we are going to need surgery he lucky hasn’t had the surgery yet. But he will need multiple surgeries going forward and they are fusion surgeries so you lose this range of motion you can’t use your foot like you could. That was the big claim, he hadn’t had surgery yet the insurance company didn’t believe that he would ever have surgery and our doctors said that he should put off the surgery for as long as possible which is pretty common sense I think. You don’t want to just rush into a fusion surgery because once you have the first surgery then the joints next to it adjacent deteriorate and then the next one and the next one.
Mitch: It’s too much.
Jon: And he was too young to rush into any kind of surgery. The insurance company didn’t buy it so they had offered like 40 thousand dollars pre suite and then they offered maybe 75 thousand dollars in suite it was just. His future medical bills were hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mitch: I was going to say like this doesn’t sound like what it should be.
Jon: He lives near a Mayo clinic and Mayo clinic isn’t cheap. So they are they meaning the insurance company just did not buy it and one point during trial my client wanted to save his wife from the stress of having to testify so he said let’s try to settle this. So I took a number over to the insurance attorney and she said well my client is here give it to his representative. I gave it to the insurance representative and she literally I’m sure she would dispute this literally laughed in my face and said no. So then we walked away and said ok we gave them the chance.
Mitch: Did you think about Facebook liveing that at all? When you go up to someone do you think about just Facebook liveing it so you have it on camera?
Jon: We were in the courtroom and the judge had made it very clear that there was no taping in my courtroom so even if I thought that far ahead which I should have because that would’ve been awesome. I couldn’t have but it was speak of Facebook. It wasn’t Facebook it was Facetime our expert was video taped but also he appeared live for an update. On FaceTime it was awesome.
Mitch: Is that acceptable in every court? Or some courts does it depend on the county how does that work?
Jon: It depends on the judge and this judge actually encouraged it.
Mitch: So you are not allowed to record in his courtroom but you can use Facetime in his courtroom.
Jon: You can use Facetime so I honestly had to go buy Apple TV so I could have my phone connect to the Apple TV connect to the screen in the courtroom. And then the doctor happens to be at a conference I think in California or something. So he was in lunch he got his phone out and it was like you are on some Apple commercial. That was kind of the trial, it was a trial over weather the jury would believe that my client was as badly injured and would require these surgeries in the future or weather the insurance company would convince the jury that he wasn’t that badly injured and he wouldn’t need it.
Mitch: I’m not saying that sounds a little easy but I feel like that should be easy in terms of if this is the injury and this is how the injury plays out and this is how other people who have this injury this is how they are affected well this is the injury. Well these are the facts two plus two isn’t an opinion the facts are the facts what’s the argument.
Jon: I think this is one of the cases that gives insurance companies a bad name because they were relying on maybe the conservative nature and their opinion as to what this particular jurisdiction this venue Calimac county would think of an outsider from a different state and they thought that this particular jury wouldn’t believe that future medical expenses would be incurred so they were relying on their opinion and their scepticism really. That’s why they just really refused to any point offer anywhere near even what the more conservative estimates for his care was.
Mitch: Alright well let’s get more into the case and find out how the case went down and what happend what lead to the bear hug with the six, six bearded man. He is Jon Groth with Groth Law Firm go to maxmycase.com maxmycase.com that is Groth Job Groth. I’d say he has been doing it for eight years he has been doing it for a lot more than eight years but Groth Law Firm is celebrating it’s eight birthday this past week. It’s the Big 920 the Big 920.com streaming nationwide and beyond via the Iheart radio app you’re listening to ask the experts.
Mitch: And we are back here on the Ask the Experts radio program the Big 920, the Big 920.com streaming nationwide and beyond via the Iheart radio app. Mitch Nellis here with Jon Groth remember go to maxmycase.com maxmycase.com which Jon is telling up about one of his cases that he recently tried up in Calumet county where to me it sounds like your client had a pretty strong case coming in here there was a foot injury and there was clear medical evidence that this was going to be a ongoing long term problem that you know you give a guy 20 grand or 30 grand that is not even going to cover current medical bills lets not even talk about the future effect of that type of injury. You are up in Calumet county and you got this case and do you know from the beginning that you are the favorite in a case like this. Some judges had it three and a half some judges had it at three going into a case like this do you know that it should go your way do you feel that way about all your cases? Are some riskier than others?
Jon: Yeah, certainly some cases are riskier than others just based on. What the defence does on the medical side for example some cases are risky because if you have r doctor who says that yes this is an injury from a car accident and then a doctor that the defence hires that says these injuries are not from a car accident they are because you are one day old or whatever then there is some risk. Even with those kind of situations you have to look at and know the doctors and if it’s a platifs doctor that is like a doctor Nick or somebody that is not going to testify very well that’s not good. If there is a defence doctors, there are some defence doctors who have literally made millions and millions of dollars only doing defence medical exams.
Jon: Those doctors are pretty easy to explain well hey they are bought and paid for by the insurance company so they are very very biased. So you can get a sense with experience where you are at and the risk is. In this particular case we had a doctor who was very experience very good was on a board in his state to oversee other doctors so he had that going for him and in this case the defence had sent my client to a doctor in Milwaukee for a they call it an independent medical exam we call it insurance medical exams or defence medical exams or adverse medical exams. Cause they are no way in anyway independant so they sent.
MItch: I’ve heard that about IMA’s.
Jon: They are well that’s a whole nother… So he goes and sees this doctor and the doctor did an exam was there with him and his wife from let’s say it’s an hour and the defence named the doctor and I was ready to take the doctor’s deposition or do whatever I had to do and then the defence withdrew the doctor. So you know why, I can assume we all know why. That they didn’t disclose a report and they withdrew the doctor from testifying so in that particular situation there’s things called jury instructions and that’s what the judge reads to the jury it really says what the law is in layman’s terms. So the attorneys have to decide what jury instructions should be read to the jury to instruct them on the law and that is something that if you instruct the jury about the wrong law that is an Applet issue so the trial is not going to be your last step.
Jon: You are going to go up to the court of appeal or the Wisconsin supreme court and that’s why you have those court of appeal and supreme court to deal with that kind of stuff. We argued for and we were successful in that the judge read what’s called the Absent Witness Instruction and the Absent Witness Instruction says that if it’s more likely that one side versus the other would or should have called a witness and they didn’t and they have no good explanation for it then the jury can infer that what that witness is going to say is against the party that should of called them.
Mitch: Right, it was not going to help them.
Jon: Right, so that was part of the…
Mitch: That helps, when that happens do you just like get a smile on your face. You gotta be poker face but on the inside do you get unicorns, gumdrops, rainbows.
Jon: This is something where it is kind of like I’m sure I said this before where it’s like playing chess where you have to know six moves ahead. Last year, I found out about this doctor and I was like now I am going to position the case where I can ask for that instruction. So you have to be ready way back when with how you are going to position the case so that come February 15th when I was asking the judge for the instructions I can say because of this I want that read.
Mitch: Man, you are a good lawyer.
Jon: It’s the long play.
Mitch: That’s part of doing your job and I’m guessing there are and part of it is probably experience but part of that is I’m sure there are some lawyers who don’t see things as strategically and maybe they miss and opportunity.
Jon: Or you just don’t know what you don’t know. Lucky some with the firms that I have worked for in the past I have had a lot of really good experience having trials and arguments before the supreme court and that kind of stuff. You get that knowledge base and you can help your clients now from what you learned in the past and that’s just well that is with everything right?
Mitch: Yeah, Jon Groth with Groth Law Firm. Go to maxmycase.com maxmycase.com. OK so you are going through the case and things are looking good.
Jon: Yeah, and we offered to settle it before the jury came back and they laughed in my face and said no and then the closing argument was fantastic it was fun to do because..
Mitch: Did you do a 360 slam dunk.
Jon: If there was….
Mitch: Did it feel like it?
Jon: It felt pretty close to it. If I, in my backyard I can take the yet and bring it down. So that probably would be a very similar feeling.
Mitch: So closing arguments go well the other sides closing arguments aren’t nearly as compelling the jury goes back I mean at some point the other side had to know they weren’t going to win. Did they think they were still going to win this? Can they come back to you then and say alright no, no, no, we will take that.
Jon: They could of sure up until the moment that the jury really speaks the words of this is the verdict you can settle the case. At any point and there has been, boy I had a case two years ago where the jury was supposed to start a jury trial Monday on Friday at 4:13 I think it was I remember getting a text that the defence attorney said ok we are going to settle now. But I just prepared all week for this trial on Monday and the defence attorney in my opinion wanted to see if I was going to go through with it. He was going to see who blinks first so they waited to the last second.
Mitch: They should of known better they didn’t know who they were dealing with. Jon Groth, Groth Law Firm Groth.
Jon: I think some insurance companies some attorneys that want to see what you are made of and I think that is just kind of what the reputation is about.
Mitch: I would say on some level it’s worth it then. Because you are putting the work in and you’ve done your due diligence and yeah I’m sure it’s at Friday at 4:13 I was ready for this case I’ve been working all week, I missed my kids this or I missed. But it’s almost that’s part of the process and I think that clients would like to know that, that’s the kind of guy you are. Even if you think somebody is calling your bluff or whatever they might be doing that you’re going to be prepared no matter what to max mycase.
Jon: Yeah, I agree I think it’s important that your client trusts that you have their back. That you know what is going on and that no matter what you are going to do it. If you tell them you know what I think you should settle it really is because I think you should settle versus I wanna have this night or that night free. Because I spent many mornings when I get up at 5 in the morning and I drive to court cause it’s a trial in Rock county for example and then I… You just gotta do it.
Mitch: So the jury comes back…
Jon: Jury comes back my client was at dinner so we had our closing argument the closing argument ended at around five o clock and this is unusual for Milwaukee I should say. To have anything happen after 4:30 in Milwaukee they should shut things down at around 4:30 approximately but up there it was fantastic we got to go a little bit after 5 did our closing arguments the jury went out. They ordered pizzas, they had one of the sheriffs go and pick up some pizzas come back jury deliberated over pizza and then at about 7:30 ish the clerk came and said that we are ready and the jury has the decision and my client had just went out for dinner.
Jon: So I called him and said hey you want to come back and he said we just sat down so the jury… I said ok he is going to wait his appearance so the jury comes back gives the verdict it was a very good verdict and everybody leaves. I then get in my car to kind of go to the restaurant to tell him face to face that it was a good verdict. He ended up passing me on the road so I had to do a Uey quick and go back to the courthouse parking lot I guess I will call it. A bit empty area space, I go to the car he gets over the car and I tell him the news and he just went ballistic and it was awesome because it was him and his wife just screaming and yelling and giving us hugs and shaking our hands and it was a very good feeling.
Mitch: When we talk about this concept of making people whole that is what it’s all about is that when this person had this injury and they get an offer from the insurance company that is way under, I mean it’s not even in the concept of making them whole it’s paying you off and getting rid of you essentially and then you come in and you go through month or however long this goes on in the trial you could tell from his emotion you took the first steps to make this gentlemen whole again.
Jon: Yeah, and have closure that now this is the book end. I’ve gone through this I’ve said my piece and now I know that I am going to have enough money to pay for the money in the future and that I am somewhat taking care or and you can really kind of breathe a sigh of relief. That now this is over thank goodness.
Mitch: That’s one of those times that would he much rather never of hurt his foot of course but the fact is that it happened and not that he is not looking to get rich over it but he wants to if there is more surgeries down the road. You shouldn’t get broke because of it.
Jon: Yeah, and with the surgeries everybody agreed that with one of these surgeries you are off of work from six months. So then for six months you’ve lost wages and you can’t be on your feet. You have to be on the kneeler walker kind of things it’s really disruptive. For him to go into these surgeries knowing that he has enough to get by that was fantastic.
Mitch: Jon thank you so much for sharing these stories today. I always learn so much about the process and about do me it’s a really a picture of the human condition and when you talk about mediation and what goes on in that and what goes on during a case. This was a great outcome and you’ve shared with us in the past that you have had cases where you thought you should of won and they didn’t go your way and that happens too. Just examining the human condition and what goes into helping people get whole again and what brings them closure and that sort of thing. It’s always very insightful so thank you so much.
Jon: Well thanks for having me. Thank you so much.
Mitch: Absolutely he is Jon Groth go to maxmycase.com maxmycase.com. Right here 111 and Bluemound in Tosa. For everybody here in the Big 920 the Big920.com and the Iheart radio app you’ve been listening to Ask the Experts.