Jury Trial: Ma v. Sambongi, et al.

This case was about a failed real estate development. The plaintiff was a Japanese investor who lost approximately $3.7 million. Our clients, the developers on the ground here in Utah, are great guys who did everything they could to save the project under very difficult circumstances. The project failed for reasons beyond their control: the real estate market in Utah collapsed in 2008, and no bank would lend them funds essential to complete the project.

The jury was out 7.5+ hours. About two hours in, they asked for a calculator. A calculator! That's not what you want to hear if you're defending. You don't need a calculator to get to zero. About five hours in, they asked about allocating fault to the plaintiff. Again, not a good defense omen because it suggests they think there is fault to be allocated. Our hearts raced every time one of our phones rang for the entire 7.5+ hours. We didn't dare go anywhere, eat anything, or do anything, nor did we really want to. All you can do is think about how this will affect your clients' lives, how you did all you can for them, and how (no matter the outcome) you hope your clients understand they got your very best. I'm a control freak (surprise!), and it nearly makes me ill not to be in control of the outcome of something that means so much.

We returned to the courtroom at about 11:20 p.m. not knowing exactly what to expect, but fully prepared for bad news. Then the clerk announces the first claim. No liability. The second. No liability. The third. No causation. What a roller coaster! I am so happy for our clients.