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Home / 2011 Leaders in the Law / Thrill of the case keeps Andres in court

Thrill of the case keeps Andres in court

David F. Andres – McCoy & Hofbauer

Photo by Kevin Harnack

Photo by Kevin Harnack

It seems only natural that a law student who also holds an MBA would concentrate his coursework in business and transactional law.

So thought David F. Andres.

“When I was first at law school, I had no intention of ever setting foot into a courtroom,” he said. “Early in my career, however, I became intrigued with the idea.”

He made an about-face and found himself at a civil-litigation firm.

These days, he’s trying high-stakes jury trials and thrives on the intellectual challenge and personal interaction — not to mention the excitement — that litigation entails. Every case brings its own strategy calls and surprises.

He said it’s one of the best decisions he’s ever made. It’s also worked to the benefit of countless clients from across the country facing staggering liability, too. At last count, he’s been admitted pro hac vice in eight states.

Last year, after a four-day trial, Andres’ clients were exonerated from any liability in a wrongful-death case in Estate of Patel, et al. v. Markel American Insurance Company, et al. Plaintiffs initially sought $12 million.

They came down to $5.2 million at trial, but left the courthouse empty-handed after just two hours’ deliberation by the Walworth County jury.

In addition, in Bechtel v. North Pointe Insurance Co., Andres negotiated a settlement favorable to the defense in an arson/bad-faith case in South Dakota. The case was challenging, Andres said, because there was a de facto burden shift, so that the defense essentially had to prove the arson and there was no underlying criminal prosecution.

Bad faith, he said has become a niche practice area for him and is often implicated in the high-exposure cases he and his firm handle.

Another niche is product liability involving medical equipment. He’s active in the Wisconsin Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers, and is a frequent speaker on the topic at its gatherings.

A pair of noteworthy victories in this area for Andres includes a matter where his manufacturer client was summarily dismissed from a case where the plaintiff was strangled to death in a bed rail. In another matter, he negotiated a settlement favorable to the manufacturer of a motorized wheelchair in a lawsuit involving a quadriplegic who died after his wheelchair tipped over.

Both cases were emotional, with Andres’ clients facing significant liability.

He feels privileged to be at his current firm, McCoy & Hofbauer in Waukesha.

“It’s very hard for young attorneys to get trial experience these days,” Andres said. “At our firm, we’re fortunate to get very complicated matters. Although there are exceptions, these tend to be the only ones that get tried. We also have the support, resources and track record that give our clients confidence in taking their case to a jury.”

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