Jim Butler had the last word on April 2, but silence spoke louder than anything he said.
He was representing the family of 4-year-old Remington Walden in a wrongful death lawsuit against big bad Chrysler. It was a setting that Butler knows well, for he has made a career of cases involving auto manufacturers.
Fiat Chrysler's small army of attorneys finished their closing arguments before the judge broke for lunch.
Butler left the courthouse and walked across the square in Bainbridge with his sister, a former classroom teacher who now sells textbooks.
It was Laura Butler who suggested a masterful piece of showmanship that led to a $30 million minute.
An article in the Fulton County Daily Report said defense attorney Bruce Kirbo Jr. set it up in his closing argument before lunch.
He suggested that the jury value the child's pain and suffering at $50,000.
Kirbo said Remi's ordeal was "mercifully short" in the 2012 explosion of a Jeep Cherokee gas tank. Speaking to jurors, the attorney said the child likely "lived up to a minute."
"When Kirbo said $50,000, everybody in the courtroom gasped," said Butler, a founding partner of Butler Wooten Cheely & Peak.
Walking to lunch, Laura Butler reminded her brother how long 60 seconds was. Back in the courtroom, he pulled out his watch, held it up and set the timer for one minute.
"Now start thinking what Remi went through."
Keeping an eye on his watch, the Columbus attorney went through the motions of shuffling papers on the podium in front of him.
Butler said he had to work hard to conceal his emotions.
"Time," he announced.
After nine days of hearing evidence, he urged the Decatur County jury to do what was right. He asked for no less than $120 million for the value of Remi Walden's life.
At 6:15 that evening, after 90 minutes of deliberation, Judge J. Kevin Chason was about to send the panel home for the night, but jurors told the bailiff they were almost done. Four minutes later, they were.
The 12-person jury did exactly what Butler asked, awarding $120 million for the value of the child's life and $30 million for his pain and suffering. For Butler, it was the fifth time he had secured a verdict of more than $100 million.
His theatrics with the timepiece caught my eye, but Butler said his performance had nothing to do with the verdict.
"This decision had nothing to do with lawyers. All I had to do was present the facts and sit down," he said.
His assessment of a lawyer's closing arguments is surprising. "It is the most over-rated moment in a trial," he said.
Maybe so, for this time silence was worth $30 million.
Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at hyatt31906 @knology.net.