Rice Secures Judgment for Insurer Following 2-Day Trial in Cobb County
Plaintiffs brought a first party claim for comprehensive coverage against their insurer from an alleged 2020 fire loss involving a luxury vehicle. The insurer had previously denied the claim due to material misrepresentations plaintiffs made during the claim investigation. Ashley Rice defended the insurer, uncovering additional misrepresentations by plaintiffs and grounds for a judicial estoppel defense during the course of discovery. Pre-trial, the Court had granted the insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of bad faith. In July, 2022, the case proceeded to trial before Cobb County State Court Judge John S. Morgan. Finding that plaintiffs had taken inconsistent positions in a bankruptcy proceeding filed before the loss that were calculated to make a mockery of the judicial system, the Court entered judgment for the insurer. The Court further found that plaintiffs failed to present credible evidence as to the value of the vehicle, their finances, and the circumstances surrounding the fire.
Ashley Rice to Moderate Atlanta Bar Association Panel on February 11, 2022
Our firm has always been at the forefront of tackling the legal, factual, and discovery issues relating to medical funding companies, both on the trial/appellate and legislative fronts. Georgia’s collateral source rule, Georgia’s very low bar for admitting medical bills into evidence, and Georgia’s lack of regulation has provided fertile ground for medical funding companies. Please join our partner Ashley Rice as she moderates an Atlanta Bar Association panel on these issues on February 11, 2022, beginning at 8:00 a.m. (Link: Litigation Section Zoom Breakfast – Atlanta Bar CLE Calendar)
Hilliard Castilla has been Sworn in as Judge Pro Tem
WACHP congratulates our partner, Hilliard Castilla, on being sworn in as Judge Pro Tem for the State Court of Fayette County. Hilliard will continue practicing with our firm while serving the fine citizens of Fayette County.
After 20 Minutes of Deliberation, Jury Finds for Defendant
Following a 2 day trial, attorney Ben Harbin obtained a defense verdict in Henry County. The case involved an admitted fault rear end accident. The plaintiff presented medical bills totaling $15,000 and argued the accident caused a meniscus tear. Plaintiff admitted having a prior history of knee pain but related the meniscus tear directly to the accident. A post accident MRI showed a meniscus tear. Defense argued that the meniscus tear was a degenerative tear rather than an acute tear. After 20 minutes of deliberation the Jury asked if they could award the defendant attorney’s fees and defense costs.
Harbin Obtains Defense Verdict in Douglas County
On September 30, 2021, following a 3 day trial, a Douglas County jury returned a defense verdict. Ben Harbin tried the case which involved a multi-vehicle accident. The plaintiff did not complain of injury at the scene and there was minor damage to his vehicle. However, plaintiff immediately began treating with a chiropractor and incurred medical bills in excess of $43,000. The plaintiff asked for a verdict of $60,000, he rejected a pre-trial settlement offer of $15,000.
DeKalb County Jury Has Record Quick Deliberations
After a one-day trial, a DeKalb County jury returned a defense verdict in eight (8) minutes. Brian F. William was able to convince a jury that plaintiff’s alleged concussion claims from a minor admitted fault automobile accident were not credible. Plaintiff alleged $11,752 in medical bills and asked the jury for $130,000 during closing arguments. Plaintiff rejected a $13,500 pre-trial offer.
JURY REFUSES TO AWARD PLAINTIFF THE MILLIONS REQUESTED
After a four (4) day trial, Brian McCarthy secured a very favorable jury verdict in the Superior Court of Newton County. This case involved an admitted fault rear-end accident. Plaintiff claimed serious spine injuries, receive multiple spine injections, underwent a three (3) level cervical fusion, and had a spinal cord stimulator implanted. Plaintiff claimed that his injuries left him totally disabled and unable to return to his job as a baggage handler. Plaintiff’s trial evidence included two (2) surgeons, one (1) pain doctor, one (1) vocational expert, and one (1) economist. Plaintiff blackboarded special damages in the amount of $1,650,000 (approximately $460,000 in medical bills; $760,000 in future lost wages; $250,000 in future medical bills; and $180,000 in lost wages) and requested the jury to return a verdict of $4,000,000. During closing arguments, the defense requested the jury either return a defense verdict or a verdict of $50,000. After approximately two (2) hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict for plaintiff in the amount of $50,000, well under the pre-trial offer.
ANOTHER GREAT RESULT AS TRIALS CONTINUE TO PROCEED IN THIS NEW REALITY
On August 30, 2021, Kayla Bell defended the estate of a defendant who passed away prior to trial. Plaintiff alleged injuries to her neck and shoulders, as well as low back pain that she testified she still experienced as a result of a minor accident in 2016. A Fulton County jury awarded plaintiff $3,274.51, less than defendant’s last offer and well below the more than $20,000 plaintiff asked the jury to award. Ms. Bell was able to impeach plaintiff regarding a prior accident and subsequent injuries and successfully argued for more than $7,000 in medical bills to be excluded from evidence. The deceased defendant’s granddaughter attended trial and was pleased with the rigorous defense mounted on behalf of her grandfather’s estate.
WACHP is Proud to Participate in 2021 Legal Food Frenzy
Waldon Adelman Castilla Hiestand & Prout is a proud participant of the 2021 Legal Food Frenzy benefiting the Atlanta Community Food Bank. We are thrilled to accept donations in any amount to our team’s efforts. Please visit our firm’s team page: https://www.classy.org/team/352444
Back to Trial Success!
Rakhi McNeill has successfully tried the first case post-pandemic for the firm. This was a minor accident where plaintiff alleged $30,000 in medical bills plus $8,700 in lost wages. Our client was pregnant and therefore, did not appear at trial. However, her mother, also a defendant, was present. After a day of jury selection, a lengthy one-day trial, and 35 minutes of jury deliberation, the Wilkinson County jury awarded only $11,000, just slightly more than defendant’s last offer. Plaintiff’s last demand was $50,000.