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.
Adelman and Salzillo Obtain Summary Judgment in $1MM Declaratory Judgment Action
On August 14, 2015, Jonathan Adelman and Alex Salzillo obtained summary judgment on behalf of an insurance company in a declaratory judgment action where the parties had stipulated that the insurance company would pay $1,000,000 if coverage applied for the underlying loss. The case stemmed from an automobile accident that was caused by the teenaged son of an insured individual who was the sole proprietor of a law practice. Plaintiff sought a determination that the insured’s business liability and commercial umbrella policies provided coverage for the accident. The case turned on whether the “non-owned auto” exception in the business policy had been triggered. In plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, she urged the court to determine that the insured individual and his law practice were two separate entities, which she argued would have triggered the “non-owned auto” exception. In a 42 page opinion, Judge Murphy of the Northern District of Georgia agreed with the insurance company and granted summary judgment, finding no coverage. Judge Murphy held, in pertinent part, that the insured individual and his sole proprietorship law practice were one-in-the-same for purposes of determining the identity of the insured. Prior to Judge Murphy issuing his order, plaintiff had offered to compromise the claim for $650,000.
Waldon Adelman Cooks on Hot Summer Trial Calendar
It’s been a busy summer for defense litigation shop Waldon Adelman Castilla Hiestand & Prout. Over a period of three weeks, the 32-member firm tried nine jury cases to victory or minimal plaintiffs’ awards, continuing a courtroom-heavy schedule that has seen its members handle 23 jury trials this year. View the full article here: Daily Report Article
Defense Wins, Jury Awards Plaintiff Tylenol
In July of 2015, Ashley Rice successfully defended an admitted fault motor vehicle accident involving a nearly head-on collision and extensive property damage. Plaintiff sustained a visible laceration to his head at the scene. However, he delayed treatment for several days. Plaintiff subsequently underwent chiropractic therapy and epidural steroid injections for soft tissue back injuries. His MRI showed two lumbar protrusions. While plaintiff initially claimed medical expenses of nearly $20,000, he was only able to produce bills from licensed healthcare providers totaling $11,000. Moreover, his chiropractor testified that he accepted far less than the amount shown on the bill submitted for treatment of plaintiff’s alleged injuries. The Fulton County jury returned a verdict in the amount of $443.30. The jury explained that the figure represented a lifetime supply of Tylenol. Plaintiff’s pre-trial demand was $40,000. Defendant had offered $12,500.