Defense Win Likely Constitutes One of Georgia’s Smallest Plaintiff’s Verdicts Arising from a Clear Fault Tractor Trailer Accident
On December 7, 2017, after a three (3) day jury trial in the State Court of Spalding County, Jonathan M. Adelman and Benjamin H. Harbin obtained a very favorable verdict for their tractor-trailer driver and trucking company clients. This was a hotly contested case stemming from a 2005 accident. The truck driver, who rear-ended plaintiff’s vehicle when traffic stopped for a school bus, was arrested at the scene for driving with a suspended license. Prior to trial, the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants on plaintiff’s direct negligence claims against the trucking company, plaintiff’s punitive damages claim, and plaintiff’s spoliation claims. The trial court also agreed that the jury should not be made aware of the driver’s suspended license. Plaintiff claimed “career-ending” neck and back injuries. Plaintiff’s treating orthopedist determined that low back surgery was needed. Plaintiff had been employed as a mechanic at AGL Resources and had not worked since the day of the accident. He claimed lost wages alone in the amount of $700,000. In the middle of trial, plaintiff reduced his settlement demand to $175,000. Defendants’ longstanding settlement offer had been $75,000. The jury returned with a verdict in the amount of $4,500.
Alex Mayfield Obtains Defense Verdict in Douglas County
On October 23-24, 2017, Alex Mayfield obtained a defense verdict in an admitted fault case in Douglas County. The defendant collided with the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle causing substantial property damage. Alex was able to convince the jury that plaintiff had a pre-existing condition which was not aggravated by the collision. Plaintiff’s medical special damages exceeded $12,000.
Despite the Testimony of Surgeon and Biomedical Engineer, Jury Not Convinced Neck Surgery Related to Clear Fault Accident
On October 26, 2017, Adam Smith limited a verdict against his client to $3,500 in an admitted fault case where a 27 year old plaintiff with no prior history of neck pain underwent neck surgery and incurred medical expenses of more than $102,000. Dr. Erik Bendiks, who performed the neck surgery, testified that the plaintiff sustained a herniation at C5/6 that was caused solely by the accident and required a disc replacement surgery. Plaintiff also called a biomechanical engineer to testify about the force of the collision. Plaintiff requested a total award of more than $600,000. A Forsyth County jury deliberated for approximately six hours before returning a verdict for $3,500.
Castilla and Hurst Secure Defense Verdict
On October 13, 2017, Hilliard Castilla and Matthew Hurst secured a defense verdict in a case in the Superior Court of Fulton County. Following an investigation of the accident, Mr. Castilla’s client was cited for failure to yield, and at trial, the officer was permitted to state that Mr. Castilla’s client caused the accident. Plaintiff sued for injuries and healthcare bills in excess of $215,000.00. Additionally, plaintiff had four friends take the stand and testify about plaintiff’s reduced quality of life as a result of this accident. On cross-examination, Mr. Castilla successfully impeached the plaintiff to the extent that the jury did not believe her account of how the accident occurred. Ultimately, the jury of 12 agreed that plaintiff failed to meet her burden of proving that Mr. Castilla’s client was liable for the subject accident. Defendant had offered $250,000 prior to trial.
WACHP is proud to announce that Adam P. Smith has been named a partner at the firm.
Two more DeKalb County wins for Adam Smith
On June 29, 2017, Adam Smith obtained a defense verdict in DeKalb County a case where his client’s vehicle had mechanical trouble on I-20 and came to a stop in the middle of a travel lane and the plaintiff crashed into the stopped vehicle at a high rate of speed. Mr. Smith succeeded in persuading the jury that the defendant’s failure to pull her vehicle to the shoulder was not negligent and that she acted reasonably when faced with a sudden emergency, and therefore no damages were awarded to the plaintiff. On July 17-18, 2017, Mr. Smith defended another case in DeKalb County in which his client admitted fault for causing the accident but denied the plaintiff’s claim that she sustained a serious neck injury that required surgical intervention. Plaintiff requested a total verdict of $634,305.96, but the jury was persuaded by Mr. Smith’s argument that the plaintiff had a pre-existing condition which was not aggravated by the collision. As a result, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $5,709, which represented the medical expenses that the plaintiff incurred to get checked out and $0 in pain and suffering.
Hiestand Secures Defense Verdict
In August of 2017, Trevor Hiestand secured a defense verdict in a case in the State Court of Forsyth County in which the plaintiff claimed medical bills of approximately $200,000 as a result of a cervical fracture and eventual disc replacement surgery.
Congratulations to Brian Williams
WACHP is pleased to announce that Brian Williams has been named a partner to the firm.
Defense Verdict Absolves Rice’s Client of Fault for Accident and $30,000 in Damages
On August 30, 2017, Ashley Rice and associate Taylor Barnett secured a defense verdict following a two day trial in Fulton County. At trial, both parties and an eyewitness gave accounts of how the accident happened that were substantially different from what they allegedly told the investigating officer at the scene. Because the officer initially attributed fault to Ms. Rice’s client, plaintiff sued for injuries and healthcare bills in excess of $30,000. Ms. Rice and Mr. Barnett successfully challenged plaintiff’s credibility on issues of negligence and causation. Ultimately, the jury of 12 agreed that plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proving that Ms. Rice’s client was at fault.
Testimony of Two Spine Surgeons Not Enough to Convince a Gwinnett County Jury That Plaintiff Should Recover
On July 12, 2017, following a two and one-half day trial, Jonathan Adelman obtained a defense verdict from a Gwinnett County jury. Plaintiff claimed that a minor rear-end collision caused a symptomatic herniated disc and necessitated a lumbar discectomy. Fault for the accident itself was admitted. Causation of the injuries and surgery was highly disputed. Plaintiff had two separate orthopaedic surgeons appear at trial via video deposition and testify that the accident was the source of plaintiff injuries. The defense hinged on the argument that, although there was no evidence that plaintiff’s symptoms pre-dated the accident, the accident was not the source of plaintiff’s problems. In support of the defense argument, a biomechanical expert testified that the forces of the impact were not sufficient to herniate a disc or aggravate a preexisting herniated disc. Plaintiff claimed past healthcare expenses in the amount of $60,000. In closing argument, plaintiff’s counsel asked for a verdict in excess of $250,000.