Mezrow Suffers Third Mistrial in Two-Year Period
For the third time in just over two years, personal injury lawyer Steven M. Mezrow's actions have resulted in a mistrial in Philadelphia court.
But Mezrow said he doesn't believe he was at fault in at least two of those cases and his law partner at Pansini & Mezrow and co-counsel in each of those cases, Michael O. Pansini, agreed.
On Monday, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Marlene F. Lachman issued an order granting a mistrial in Williams v. Parkway, after Mezrow referenced during his opening arguments the federal government's determination that his client was eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Philadelphia solo attorney Dean E. Weisgold, defense counsel in the case, had filed a motion in limine Dec. 27, 2013, seeking to preclude mention of plaintiff Dartanya Williams' Social Security disability status, according to the docket in the case.
Weisgold said he was concerned that mention of the plaintiff's Social Security status would prejudice his client.
Weisgold, Pansini and Mezrow all said that, following oral arguments on the motion Jan. 21, Lachman ordered from the bench that mention of Williams' Social Security disability status was admissible in the context of explaining what information the expert witnesses relied on to form the basis for their opinions.
However, Lachman said Williams' Social Security disability status could not be pointed to as a reason for the jury to find in the plaintiff's favor, according to Weisgold, Pansini and Mezrow.
During opening arguments Jan. 23, according to an excerpt from the trial transcript, Mezrow told the jury that plaintiffs vocational rehabilitation expert Rosalyn Pierce would explain that, as part of her evaluation of Williams, she "took into consideration" that "even the United States federal government has rendered Dartanya disabled as of the date of this accident."
Weisgold immediately objected, according to the transcript excerpt, but Lachman overruled him.
The following day, however, Weisgold motioned for a retrial based on Mezrow's comment and Lachman granted it, according to Weisgold, Mezrow and Pansini.