Linda Rutherford Story
The day Linda Rutherford learned she had lung cancer, she also found out she’d had it for well over 2 years and that her previous doctor had missed her condition entirely. By the time it was finally diagnosed—by another doctor—it had advanced from Stage 1 to Stage 4. Confused and not knowing what to do, Linda contacted an attorney for guidance. Medical malpractice, however, is a highly specialized area of law and relatively few firms handle these cases—and fewer still, do it well. This attorney referred her to Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, a law firm widely recognized as the leading medical malpractice firm in the area. Jamie Moncus was the attorney assigned to represent her.
When Linda first met Jamie, she was struck by his quiet confidence and assurance. She came away from the meeting deeply comforted and encouraged, feeling instinctively that he understood what she was going through and he knew how to help: Linda needed an attorney, but Jamie knew that going to trial can be an emotional and challenging process, so she was also going to need a friend. Still, when depositions began, Linda says, “I was nervous and so scared because I had never been through anything like that before, but Jamie was just the best. He told me not to worry but just to tell the truth—to tell my story and everything was just going to be fine, and he was right—it was.”
Even so, Linda says the trial was a particularly difficult experience for her as the defense attorneys were very aggressive and confrontational. In her words, “I don’t know why they have to try to turn everything around. I know that is their job – trying to represent their client—but Jamie was just so upfront, candid and level-headed with everything. He just told me to try to stay calm, to tell my story and tell the truth.”
Linda also goes on to say that Jamie’s approach in the courtroom was simple and forthright and was in stark contrast to that of the defense team. She elaborates, “Jamie just had a knack for getting to the truth. He was direct, persistent and he would never back down. With Jamie, you never felt that it was just about winning another case, but that it was all about finding the truth, and he was so sincere and straightforward. I think that is what won the case. The jurors no doubt felt they could believe him and trust him.
Furthermore, he was always very calm and collected, no matter what the defense attorneys tried to pull off. Because he was so calm in every situation, he had a calming effect on me. If it wasn’t for his kindness, confidence and composure, I probably would have been upset and crying and everything else. Trial was difficult because I had never gone through anything like that, but he helped give me peace of mind.”
Linda says that because Jamie was so well prepared for anything the defense threw his way, he was never distracted or surprised. He always took everything in stride because he seemed to have already anticipated the defense team’s every move. There was a turning point at trial where one of the defense experts cited a study that supported their claim that the 2-year delay in diagnosis had not been a factor in the growth of Linda’s cancer. It all sounded very believable …until Jamie—who had again anticipated their strategy—brought to the jury’s attention that the study they were referring to was conducted in 1959, and therefore was neither recent nor reliable.
Linda feels that there were many such examples throughout the trial of how well prepared Jamie was as well as countless instances of his honesty and sincerity. Because of this, she feels the jury made up their mind to rule in her favor, well before closing arguments. Linda adds, “Jamie was always so well prepared and because of this, he was able to explain to me fully what to expect, and that was a tremendous help. His being there for me made everything better and easier. I can’t imagine having been able to get through any of it without him. But most importantly, he truly was like a friend to me who was there to look after me. That is how I think of him now.”
While the money Linda was awarded has made a tremendous difference in her life and given her peace of mind, it accomplished something even greater. Linda explains, “I have experienced many difficult times in my life and the cancer was only one of many. I am not accustomed to things going my way, but Jamie did the best possible job in the world for me—and because he did—he gave me hope at a time that I really needed it. I will always be deeply grateful.”