Business disputes often devolve into a he-said, she-said battle, especially where there’s little physical evidence. And when the fight like that makes it to a jury trial, the skill of the attorneys involved can be the major deciding factor in the case. A high-profile dispute over a work by famed pop artist Andy Warhol illustrated this point recently.
The University of Texas at Austin is one Farrah Fawcett portrait short since December 19, 2013, when a California jury found that the Andy Warhol work instead belonged to actor Ryan O’Neil. The dispute arose because the school believed that it should have received the artwork from Ms. Fawcett’s estate. But O’Neil, Farrah Fawcett’s long-term boyfriend, said that Andy Warhol gave him the painting in exchange for arranging to have Fawcett available for the painting. The school has custody of a second, nearly identical, Andy Warhol painting of Fawcett.
Evidence at the three-week trial consisted in large part of conflicting testimony. On the one hand, the producer of a television segment about the two portraits testified that she never saw O’Neil at Warhol’s studio but also admitted that she had no idea who the paintings belonged to. On the other hand, O’Neil and a number of Fawcett’s friends testified that they were told by Fawcett that one of the portraits belonged to O’Neil.
The strength of witness testimony often comes down to the credibility of the witnesses in front of the jury. What seems like an obvious conclusion to you when you’re intimately familiar with the case may not be so obvious to a jury that’s hearing about the case for the first time. Determining the theory of your case and which witnesses to call in which order requires a high degree of skill. An experienced Houston, Texas business dispute attorney is an invaluable asset when determining where the strength of your case lies.