As Luck Would Have It

By Lindy F. Bradley, Esq.

St. Patrick’s Day has become a global celebration of Irish culture that is celebrated on March 17. Celebrants of St. Patrick’s day wear green. This tradition is tied to folklore that says wearing green makes a person invisible to leprechauns, who like to pinch anyone they can see. St. Patrick’s Day also celebrates the concept of good luck. Find a lucky four leaf clover and you will have good luck! Follow a rainbow and find a pot of gold!

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few stories of luck:

A high school teacher from Georgia was reading through her travel insurance policy when she noticed that buried on the seventh page of the policy, the contract announced a $10,000 reward for anyone who actually made it that far into the policy…and she collected the prize! Moral of the story: Always read the fine print!

Archaeologists were excavating a basement of an old theatre in Italy, when they found hundreds of ancient Roman gold coins dating back to the fourth or fifth century. The find was invaluable. Moral of the story: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

In 1995 a Swedish woman lost her wedding ring while baking. Sixteen years later, she found the ring wrapped around a carrot in her yard. The ring had gone down the kitchen sink and wound up in the compost they used to fertilize their land. Moral of the store: Nothing is gone forever!

Plaintiffs and defendants alike might wonder, how much of the outcome of a case comes down to luck?

But before we get to outcomes, how much of a role does luck play in liability at all? People often view lawsuits as a case of bad luck. A person’s good or back luck often determines whether they are involved in an accident (or lawsuit) in the first place.

Take, for example, two drivers, named Fortune and Fate. Each was on a city street one morning in their cars. As they passed through a shopping district, each took his eyes off the road, turning his head for a moment to look at the sales being advertised in a storefront window. In Fortune’s case, the momentary distraction passed without event. Fate, however, was not so lucky. His car ploughed into a motorcycle ridden by Mr. Hurt, who was injured. When Mr. Hurt recovered he promptly sued Fate for negligence. Bad luck for Fate. Both Fortune and Fate’s actions were similar in that they both took their eyes off the road and violated the same duty of care owed to other road users, like Mr. Hurt.[1] Yet only one of them caused harm to Mr. Hurt. Fortune received veritable luck-of-the-causation draw in this scenario. Yet, the outcome of Fate’s case is not set in stone. A great deal of Fate’s outcome in the lawsuit against him will depend on the strength of his lawyer’s strategies in litigating the case.

When it comes to lawsuits, it is best not to rely wholly on luck alone. A better strategy for businesses is to prevent lawsuits before they occur. Steps to avoid litigation include ensuring that your company has policies and procedures in place, that you train your employees regarding those policies and procedures, and above all else, that all employees follow them.

If one does have the bad luck to be involved in a lawsuit, the following litigation strategies can help maximize a positive outcome:

  1. Gathering and preserving all relevant documents;
  2. Interviewing witnesses as soon as possible;
  3. Having a litigation strategy as a relates to written discovery and depositions;
  4. Aggressively pursuing law and motion; and
  5. Carefully preparing the case for mediation and/or trial.

While it may simply be a case of bad luck to be involved in a lawsuit, taking the right steps after a lawsuit has been filed is better than finding a lucky clover! With our sound advice, effective representation, and exceptional results, the attorneys at Bradley & Gmelich LLP are here to assist you in taking the first step in the right direction.

Your friends at Bradley & Gmelich LLP wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day full of good luck.

[1] Tort Law and Moral Luck, John C.P. Goldberg & Benjamin Zipursky


Lindy F. Bradley, Esq., a partner at Bradley & Gmelich LLP, focuses her litigation and business practice on representing clients in the supermarket, grocery retail and restaurant industries as well as public entity defense. She has a keen understanding of the full range of needs these industries encounter on a regular day to day basis. With over twenty years of solid experience as an attorney and trial litigator, her expertise extends to defending various public entities, corporate clients and insurance carriers against claims of property damage and physical injury. Ms. Bradley routinely represents clients in large exposure lawsuits from inception through trial. She draws upon a variety of experience in civil litigation, including defense against claims of premises liability, products liability, government tort liability and medical malpractice. Ms. Bradley also handles all post-judgment collection for the firm.

For the last sixteen years of her practice, Ms. Bradley has been specializing in grocery store litigation as well as public entity litigation with a specific emphasis on negligent premises liability and dangerous conditions of public property. She also routinely handles private security litigation and corporate defense.

Ms. Bradley is a Board Member of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (ASCDC), and the President of the non-profit organization, Law Enforcement and Private Security (LEAPS).