Carolyn Lee Secures Defense Verdict
After a two (2) day trial, Carolyn Lee received a defense verdict in Hall County. This was an admitted fault case with $53,053.80 in medical specials and minimal damage. Plaintiff alleged soft tissue neck and back injuries that required injection procedures. Carolyn was able to impeach plaintiff about a prior accident where he hit a median wall and was taken by EMS and treated with a chiropractor. Plaintiff’s counsel mentioned this impeachment in opening statements to attempt to lessen the blow, however, Carolyn did a great job showing the jury that plaintiff recalled other injuries such as a middle school injury and not this accident. At trial, plaintiff also testified that he never missed work as a result of the accident, but plaintiff’s sister testified that he missed months of work. The defense retained a billing expert to review the orthopedic bills since they accounted for $44,000 of plaintiff’s specials. The expert testified as to the reasonable and customary rates of the procedures. Prior to trial, the defense offered $30,000. Plaintiff’s last demand was $50,000.
Brogdon Prevails in Gwinnett
Associate John Brogdon prevailed in a two (2) day jury trial in Gwinnett County. The personal injury case stemmed from a 2019 admitted fault rear-end accident. Plaintiffs were a mother and her teenage daughter. Damage to the vehicles was minimal but plaintiffs sought emergency room treatment later that day. Thereafter, they treated with the same chiropractors and underwent MRIs and pain management injections. Plaintiffs presented combined healthcare bills of approximately $35,000, with the defense successfully excluding evidence of plaintiffs’ MRI charges. The combined pre-suit offers were $12,000 and the jury awarded a combined verdict to plaintiffs of just under $11,000.
Liberty County Jury Returns with Defense Verdict Despite Expert Testimony
On February 8, 2023, after a three (3) day trial, Jonathan Adelman and Carolyn Lee obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an insured who admitted wrongdoing in causing a collision which pushed plaintiff’s vehicle off the road and into a ditch. Plaintiff was transported from the scene by ambulance and then began a nearly four (4) year course of treatment involving injections, radiofrequency ablations, and shoulder surgery. Plaintiff was also recommended for a lumber fusion. At trial, plaintiff had three (3) medical experts and one (1) functional capacity evaluator provided expert testimony that the accident caused plaintiff’s injuries and that plaintiff was permanently disabled. Plaintiff also had the investigating officer and plaintiff’s family members testify live at trial. Through the course of discovery, significant evidence of both prior and subsequent similar claims was discovered. On cross-exam, plaintiff was successfully impeached more than ten (10) times. Plaintiff presented evidence of $400,000 in medical expenses, and opposing counsel asked the jury to award $2,000,000 or more. The insurance company did not accept the pre-trial policy limits demand of $250,000 and offered $100,000.
Lu Prevails on Appeal
Associate Ellen Lu successfully argued to the Georgia Court of Appeals that summary judgment had been properly entered in favor of her client on the issue of negligence. The case resulted from a 2020 motor vehicle accident. Ms. Lu’s client had just entered the center turning lane ahead of a busy intersection, where he intended to turn left. At the same time, plaintiff was attempting to turn left from a private parking lot across two lanes of traffic and the center turning lane that Ms. Lu’s client had just entered. While traffic had stopped in the two (2) straight lanes to allow plaintiff through, Ms. Lu’s client did not see her vehicle entering the turning lane in time to avoid the collision. Plaintiff argued that Ms. Lu’s client was speeding and/or improperly entered the center turning lane more than 300 feet ahead of where he intended to turn, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-126. The trial court determined that despite having retained an accident reconstructionist, plaintiff presented insufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact on the issue of negligence. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The unreported case is Davis v. Johnson, Appeal No. A22A1625.
Defense Verdict in Rockdale County
Rakhi McNeill and Katherine Rouse secured a defense verdict on January 24, 2023 following a two day trial in Rockdale County. The case involved an admitted fault rear-end accident with minimal property damage. Plaintiff claimed injuries to his neck, low back, and left shoulder. Prior to trial, plaintiff claimed $52,000 in medical bills. The initial treatment focused on neck and back complaints, but ultimately plaintiff was diagnosed with a shoulder tear and recommended for surgery. Plaintiff did not have any prior shoulder injuries. Plaintiff’s orthopaedic surgeon related the need for surgery to the accident. However, on cross-examination, the surgeon conceded that because he had not treated plaintiff in over a year, he could not recommend continuing with surgery without first having exhausted conservative treatment and a repeat MRI. At trial, plaintiff did not introduce the medical bills and asked for $250,000 in general damages/pain and suffering only. The jury deliberated for forty-five minutes and returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. In speaking with the jurors after the trial, the jury found that plaintiff’s testimony did not match his treatment records.
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Yagla Secures Defense Verdict in Gwinnett County
Ashley Yagla secured a defense verdict in Gwinnett County following a two-day jury trial on January 12, 2023. Prior to trial, plaintiff refused to reduce his demand below the $25,000 policy limits. Plaintiff claimed the defendant rear-ended his vehicle, which forced plaintiff to slam into another vehicle. Defendant admitted fault for the underlying accident, which caused significant damage to plaintiff’s and defendant’s vehicles. Plaintiff treated for two months for his alleged neck, back, shoulder, and knee injuries. At trial, the defense succeeded in excluding from evidence plaintiff’s medical records and largest medical bill. Plaintiff was impeached on several occasions regarding prior automobile accidents, prior injuries, and the fact that he was no longer suffering from any physical limitations from this accident. Ms. Yagla successfully argued that despite defendant admitting fault for the accident, plaintiff failed to carry his burden of proving the subject accident caused the injuries complained of. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour and returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.
Favorable Gwinnett County Verdict for UM Carrier
Carolyn Lee secured a favorable verdict on behalf of a UM carrier in the State Court of Gwinnett County. The admitted fault case involved a 2018 automobile accident with significant damages to the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff sustained a partial torn ligament in his thumb that required a surgery. The plaintiff argued that the thumb injury was permanent and argued that their daily activities would be forever changed as the result of continuing issues with their injury. The plaintiff also introduced the trial deposition of his surgeon, who related the plaintiff’s injury to the accident. The total UM policy exposure was $750,000, and the plaintiff asked the jury to award $3,000,000 in pain and suffering. Prior to trial, the UM carrier offered $60,000 to settle the lawsuit. After an hour of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of just $60,000, the amount suggested by the defense. Carolyn Lee was able to impeach the plaintiff regarding his physical limitations, including but not limited to impeaching the plaintiff with deposition testimony that proved to the Gwinnett County jury that the plaintiff was no longer suffering any physical limitations. Prior to the verdict, the plaintiff received $25,000 from the at-fault party. Due to prior payments by the UM carrier, the payments were reduced to zero.
Favorable Fulton County Verdict for UM Carrier
Justin Sanders successfully tried a two-day trial to verdict on behalf of a UM carrier. After deliberating for four hours, a Fulton County jury only awarded the plaintiff $25,000, despite introduction of $55,000 in healthcare specials. Prior to trial, the liability carrier had paid its limits of $50,000. The case involved a 2017 automobile accident with moderate damage. Plaintiff sought treatment the day of the accident at an emergency room and subsequently had steroid injections for her cervical spine as well as injections for both elbows. While fault for the accident was admitted, Mr. Sanders argued that the plaintiff failed to carry her burden of proof on issues of causation and damages after successfully impeaching the plaintiff on issues pertaining to prior neck pain and treatment. Plaintiff introduced into evidence the evidentiary depositions of two physical therapist but introduced only medical records and no testimony from a medical doctor. The total exposure to the UM policy was $200,000. Due to the payment of the liability limits, the verdict will be reduced to zero.
Fayette County Verdict for Defendant
Following a 2 day trial in Fayette County, jurors returned a defense verdict for Ashley Rice’s client. The case arose from a rear-end auto accident in 2018. Although plaintiff reported no injury at the scene, she began treating that day and ultimately underwent two epidural steroid injections to her cervical spine. Plaintiff introduced healthcare damages in excess of $33,000. Pre-trial, a court-ordered judicial evaluation conference had resulted in a non-binding verdict for plaintiff of $60,000. At trial, however, Ms. Rice successfully argued that plaintiff failed to carry her burden of proving that the relatively small impact was the cause of the injuries plaintiff claimed. The jury deliberated for less than an hour.