Fulton County Jury Decides Against Further Punishment
In February of 2016, Jonathan Adelman and Ashley Rice successfully argued to a jury of twelve that their defendant client, who admitted to driving while intoxicated, should not be ordered to pay punitive damages. The accident occurred when the defendant crashed into the plaintiffs’ vehicle and pushed it into the rear of a third vehicle. The trunk of the plaintiffs’ vehicle was pushed into the backseat. The lowest pre-trial demand was $180,000. The last pre-trial offer was $43,000 with a clear commitment to increase that offer if the plaintiffs lowered their demand. The plaintiffs refused to counter, and the jury returned with a verdict in the amount of $45,000 and zero punitives.
Kevin Reardon obtains defense verdict in Gwinnett County
In January 2016, Kevin Reardon obtained a defense verdict from a Gwinnett County jury in an admitted fault accident. Plaintiff complained of injury at the scene and subsequently received multiple epidural injections, branch blocks, and radiofrequency ablations for her low back. Two of plaintiff’s treating doctors testified and directly related her injuries and need for treatment to the accident. Total medical specials were $43,000. Further, plaintiff claimed lost income of $28,800. The defense included significant impeachment of plaintiff on cross-examination with other accidents not disclosed during discovery, expert testimony as to plaintiff’s underlying degenerative condition, and vehicle photographs showing minimal damage.
Alex Salzillo Wins Double Defense Verdict For Client In Clayton County
In a two-day trial in Clayton County, Alex Salzillo obtained a double defense verdict in a case involving two plaintiffs claiming soft tissue injuries. Mr. Salzillo’s client had admitted that he caused the rear-end accident giving rise to the suit. Although the plaintiffs attempted to portray the accident as having had a profound effect on their lives, the defendant introduced evidence of multiple similar injuries for each plaintiff that had not been disclosed in discovery. Ultimately, the jury did not believe that the plaintiffs were injured in the accident with the defendant. Six months prior to trial, the defendant had extended statutory settlement offers in the amount of $3,500 to each plaintiff. In closing, the plaintiffs’ attorney asked the jury to award $15,000 per plaintiff.
Salzillo Beats Pre-Trial Offer In Gwinnett County
In a two day trial in Gwinnett County, Alex Salzillo successfully defended a case in which his client had admitted to negligently running a red light and causing a t-bone accident that totaled both vehicles. The plaintiff went to the emergency room the night of the accident, where x-rays and CT scans were taken. Thereafter, the plaintiff underwent four months of chiropractic treatment, two MRIs, and consulted with a pain management doctor. The plaintiff presented $18,000 in special damages, and his attorney asked for no less than $35,000 in closing, the amount demanded prior to trial. In less than forty-five minutes, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of his emergency room bills, $6,387. The defendant had offered $10,000 prior to trial.
Verdict for the Defense
In October, 2015, Brian F. Williams obtained a defense verdict from a Gwinnett County jury in an admitted fault three car accident. Although plaintiff complained of injury at the scene, she did not seek out any treatment for more than a week after the accident. Plaintiff claimed injuries to her neck, shoulders, and a lumbar disc bulge, which her treating physicians attributed to the accident. Plaintiff also claimed that her injuries significantly reduced her social activities and adversely affected her ability to make a living. After fifty-five minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict. Prior to trial, plaintiff demanded $28,500 to settle.
Alex Salzillo Holds Verdict to Pre-Trial Offer in DeKalb County
In October, 2015, Alex Salzillo obtained a favorable verdict from a DeKalb County jury on behalf of his client, who was not present for trial. The case stemmed from a moderate rear-end collision that totaled the plaintiff’s vehicle. The defendant admitted fault for the accident, leaving the issues of injury causation and damages for the jury. The plaintiff was transported from the scene of the collision to the hospital and followed up with his primary care doctor a few days later. Thereafter, the plaintiff began an extensive course of chiropractic and pain management treatment, completing his treatment roughly a year after the accident. His healthcare bills totaled $15,625.40. In closing, the plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award no less than $50,000. The jury returned a verdict for the amount of the plaintiff’s bills, $15,625.40. Prior to trial, the defendant had offered $15,500. The plaintiff’s lowest formal demand was for $48,000.
Defense Verdict in Admitted Fault, Heavy Impact Accident
In October of 2015, Travis Meyer and Dan Prout obtained a defense verdict from a Cherokee County jury in an admitted fault accident. Defendant rear-ended plaintiff’s vehicle and pushed it into a third vehicle. There was extensive damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle which confirmed a heavy impact. Plaintiff claimed serious knee injuries for which she underwent multiple injections over several years. Also, plaintiff claimed that her knee injuries derailed her career aspirations to be a nurse. Plaintiff’s counsel requested an award between $360,000 and $760,000 in past and future pain and suffering.
Georgia Supreme Court Allows Non-Party Apportionment of Fault to Plaintiff’s Employer for Negligent Entrustment
On July 6, 2015, in the case of Zaldivar v. Prickett et al., No. S14G1778, 2015 WL 4067788, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously held that Georgia’s apportionment statute allowed a jury to apportion some fault for plaintiff’s damages to plaintiff’s employer. The case concerned an automobile accident between two drivers where the defendant alleged that the plaintiff’s employer was partially responsible for its employee’s injuries based on negligent entrustment. The defendant argued that the jury should be allowed to apportion some fault to the non-party employer based upon its allowing the plaintiff to drive a company truck on business, even though three complaints had been filed against him for poor driving. In ruling in favor of the defendant, the Court held that Georgia’s 2005 apportionment statute, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33, requires the trier of fact to consider the fault of a non-party (i.e., the plaintiff’s employer) when the non-party is shown to have committed a tort against the plaintiff that was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Specifically, the Court held that the apportionment statute contemplates the fault of every tortfeasor, regardless of whether he or she may have an affirmative defense or claim of immunity against liability to the plaintiff. The Court also explained that a non-party’s negligent entrustment of an instrumentality can be a proximate cause of an injury to the person to whom the instrumentality was entrusted. This is known as “first-party” negligent entrustment, which is typically not a workable legal theory of recovery available to […]
Consent to Settle Clause Upheld
On April 20, 2015, the Georgia Supreme Court held that an insured’s negligent failure to settle a claim against an insurance company was barred when the insured settled the underlying claim against it without the insurance company’s authorization. Piedmont Office Realty Trust v. XL Specialty Insurance Company, 771 S.E. 2d 864 (2015). There, the applicable insurance policy contained a “consent-to-settle” clause and a provision that there could be no action against the insurance company without full compliance with the provisions of the policy. The insurance company provided a defense to the insured in the underlying case. The insured consented to a settlement without the insurance company’s authorization and then attempted to recover the settlement amount from the insurance company. The Georgia Supreme Court held that the insured could not sue for bad faith refusal to settle. The Georgia Supreme Court recognized, however, that if the insurance company denied coverage outright and refused to provide any defense, the insured could enter into a settlement agreement without the insurance company’s authorization and then proceed with a potential bad faith action against the insurance company.
Jury Sees Through Plaintiff’s Claims for Future Medical Expenses
In August of 2015, Jonathan Adelman and Becky Gabelman successfully defended an admitted fault case in Gwinnett County. The defendant admitted that she failed to yield and turned left in front of plaintiff’s vehicle causing the collision. Although plaintiff did not complain of injury at the scene, she immediately sought chiropractic treatment. After her course of chiropractic treatment did not resolve her pain, plaintiff saw two different medical doctors who diagnosed a herniated disc and facet pain syndrome. Both doctors recommended spinal injections. One of the doctors testified via video deposition and the other came live to trial. Plaintiff received one set of spinal injections and claimed, as confirmed by her doctors, that she would need one or two spinal injections every year for the rest of her life. She had over $18,000 in past medical expenses over $100,000 in claimed future expenses. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award between $246,000 and $490,000. After two (2) hours of deliberations, a jury awarded plaintiff $30,000. This was significantly less than plaintiff’s pre-trial demand of $125,000. Prior to trial, defendant offered $25,000 to settle the case.