The cast of The Verdict
Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason
What is The Verdict about?
Frank Galvin was once a promising Boston lawyer with a bright future ahead. An incident early in his career in which he was trying to do the right thing led to him being fired from the prestigious law firm with which he was working, almost being disbarred, and his wife leaving him. Continually drowning his sorrows in booze, he is now an ambulance chasing lawyer, preying on the weak and vulnerable, and bending the truth whenever necessary to make what few dollars he has, as he has only had a few cases in the last few years, losing the last four. His only friend in the profession is his now retired ex-partner, Mickey Morrissey, who gets Frank a case, his fee solely a percentage of what his clients are awarded. The case should net Frank tens of thousands of dollars by settling out of court, that money which would at least get him back on his feet. It is a negligence suit brought on behalf of Deborah Ann Kaye by her sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Kevin Doneghy, against St. Catherine Labouré Hospital, operated by the Archdiocese of Boston, and Drs. Towler and Marks. Kaye was admitted to the hospital for what should have been a routine delivery, but something that happened while Kaye was on the operating room table led to her brain being deprived of oxygen, resulting in permanent brain damage, and Kaye now being in a totally vegetative state requiring hospitalization for the rest of her life. Frank eventually learns that the cause seems to be that Dr. Towler, the anesthesiologist and an expert in the field, used the incorrect anesthetic for the situation. However, all but one person that was in the operating room that day has provided depositions that nothing improper occurred in the operating room. The one holdout is the operating room head nurse, Maureen Rooney, who is not talking, period, to Frank or the other side. Upon seeing the state Kaye is in, Frank unilaterally decides to do what he believes is the right thing by declining the lucrative out of court settlement offered by the Archdiocese and take the case to court. In doing so, he hopes the truth that the hospital and the doctors truly were negligent comes to light. Feeling that this case may be a turning point in his life, Frank has a new spring in his step, enough that he attracts the attention of Laura Fischer, the two who begin a relationship. Despite having whatever the truth is on his side, that truth which he does not know, and having an expert witness of his own, Frank has an uphill battle in that the Archdiocese has retained the services of Ed Concannon, a high priced lawyer who has a large team of associates whose task is to help Concannon and the Archdiocese win at any cost. Concannon's task seems even easier as Judge Hoyle, the presiding judge, is already biased against Frank for taking the case to court.