Hansen v. Bettencourt
Case Name: Hansen v. Bettencourt
Jurisdiction: Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County
Case Number: C-02-CV-16-003955
Type of Case: Intentional Tort (Civil)
Jury Trial with Judge Stacy W. McCormack, presiding
Mr. Staples, with assistance from one of his associates (Jeffrey S. Crockett, Esq.), tried the above matter to a jury from April 10-12, 2018. This case truly was the “Jerry Springer” show as 2 neighbors, both in their mid 50s to mid 60s had engaged in a 4 year dispute over everything from a the destruction of a beaver dam to relentless name calling, culminating in a not guilty statement of facts by Mr. Bettencourt (for a second degree assault on Mr. Hansen on 7/2/16). Mr. Bettencourt was found guilty but always maintained that Mr. Hansen had overplayed his “injuries” and, truth be known, was not being candid about most of the issues between the two of them. To make matters even more daunting, Mr. Staples was facing the legendary trial attorney, T. Joseph Touhey, Esq., who had probably tried more cases in Anne Arundel County than anyone.
Mr. Staples’ strategy hinged on 2 prongs; (1) painting Mr. Hansen to be the bully he was; and (2) showing the jury through medical testimony that Mr. Hansen was fabricating his claims. The strategy worked to perfection-Mr. Hansen was forced to admit, that for years, he leveled a barrage of offensive names at Mr. Bettencourt; including “little dick”; and routinely told Mr. Bettencourt to “go F” himself. This offensive and juvenile behavior, along with repeated other incidents, finally boiled over on 7/2/16. When members of the jury were questioned later about how they made their decision, they were all in agreement that Mr. Hansen got what was coming to him.
Further, the defendant’s expert vascular surgeon pointed out to the jury that if Mr. Hansen had really been hit “6- 10 times” by Mr. Bettencourt, he’d not only have major bruising (none was ever documented) and serious internal injuries (none proven). Therefore, his hernia surgery was not as the result of the assault but from numerous other factors such as stomach cancer, multiple prior stomach surgeries, alcohol consumption, etc.
The jury was also not impressed with the demand for $300,000 in special damages ($200k in compensatory and $100k in punitives). After a mere 26 minutes of deliberations, the jury came back with a defense verdict and awarded Mr. Hansen ZERO DOLLARS.
A huge win for the Staples Law Group, against nearly insurmountable odds!