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.