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Gwinnett County Jury Returns Defense Verdict

Posted on Jul 18, 2023 in Results

Sarah Britt and co-counsel Blake Durham secured a defense verdict in Gwinnett County on July 12, 2023 following a three-day jury trial. This was a disputed fault case following a multi-car accident on the downtown connector in 2018. The accident involved two (2) impacts and significant property damage. Multiple people, including plaintiff, were transported to the ER from the accident scene. Plaintiff alleged soft tissue neck and back injuries for which she incurred approximately $25,000 in medical expenses. It was undisputed that the defendant was traveling in the lane to the left of the stalled vehicles. As the defendant was approaching the stopped vehicles, a non-party swerved into his lane to avoid the accident ahead of him. Defendant struck the non-party’s vehicle and pushed it into the plaintiff’s vehicle causing a second impact. Plaintiff originally sued the defendant as well as the taxi company for whom he was working and John Doe. However, she dismissed and re-filed to take advantage of the Alston & Bird v. Hatcher ruling on apportionment. In the re-filed suit, plaintiff only sued the defendant driver who had been in the left lane (and not the non-party driver who swerved around the accident). The jury deliberated for one (1) hour before determining the non-party was at fault for the accident and created a sudden emergency for the defendant. The jury returned a straight defense verdict.

WACHP Continues to See Good Results in the Courtroom.

Posted on Jun 30, 2023 in Results

Steven Wilson obtained a favorable verdict for his client after a three-day jury trial in Fulton County State Court. The case was one of disputed fault in which defendant made a left turn and was T-boned by plaintiff.  The jury apportioned 30% fault to plaintiff due to evidence that he saw defendant several seconds before the accident but took no action to avoid it. Plaintiff’s primary complaints from the accident were low back pain and right leg sciatica. Notably, plaintiff had a prior low back injury that resulted in limited treatment and an MRI approximately seven months before the accident involving defendant. Throughout the trial, plaintiff portrayed this prior low back injury as a minor injury that had resolved.  After the accident, plaintiff treated with an orthopedist for three months before being discharged at maximum medical improvement and with zero disability. After the initial three-month period of treatment, plaintiff experienced several recurrences of low back pain and right leg sciatica that he related to the accident with defendant. The recurrence of symptoms resulted in additional medical treatment by plaintiff. Total medical bills were approximately $49,000. At the conclusion of plaintiff’s case, the court granted defendant’s motion for directed verdict on plaintiff’s claim for future medical expenses. The last demand prior to trial was $425,000, while the last offer was $51,000. At trial, plaintiff asked the jury for an award of $550,000.  The defense asked the jury to award plaintiff no more than $11,500. After approximately two hours of deliberations, the jury […]

Court of Appeals Affirms Novel Defense Raised by Matt Hurst

Posted on Jun 07, 2023 in Results

In early 2019, Matt Hurst began defending a case in which his client was alleged to have caused an automobile accident while DUI (and accused to have fled the scene). Further complicating things was the fact that Plaintiff was an attorney, and the owner of a personal injury law firm. Though the bodily injury suffered by Plaintiff was extremely minor, the facts of the case made it such that there was a substantial risk that a very large punitive damages verdict might be returned. Plaintiff, in an attempt to maximize her recovery, attempted to file separate and distinct lawsuits in separate Courts. Plaintiff filed a Pro Se Complaint in Magistrate Court to recover for bodily injury (which included a substantial lost wage component) and hired counsel to file her claim for property damage and punitive damages in State Court. Plaintiff’s last demand for her case involving punitive damages was for $100,000.00. In preparing his defense, Matt Hurst noticed that though each Complaint had a very different focus, they both contained the same factual allegation, namely that “Defendant struck Plaintiff’s vehicle, causing bodily injury and property damage.” Based upon this shared allegation, Matt Hurst was able to resolve the Magistrate Court action and then move to have the remaining action dismissed due to the claims having already been adjudicated. The trial court granted the motion, and Plaintiff appealed. On June 6, 2023, the Court of Appeals issued an Order affirming the dismissal of Plaintiff’s lawsuit.

We Have Always Made Diversity a Priority

Posted on Jun 05, 2023 in Announcements

Our firm has always strived to provide a work environment where diversity is encouraged.  Not only does a diverse culture benefit us as members of society, it also benefits our clients and the entire legal community.  We are proud to announce that our firm has achieved Mansfield Certification following an 18-month diversity audit.  The Mansfield Certification recognizes the structural changes and actions we have taken to diversify leadership in our firm by broadening the slate of talent considered for internal leadership roles and increasing transparency with written and accessible advancement processes and role descriptions. The goal of Mansfield is to increase and sustain diversity in law firm leadership through a science-driven method that embeds accountability, transparency, and knowledge sharing into our talent practices. We know that with diverse leadership comes more inclusive and equitable decisions that reflect the needs of our diverse workforce for the benefit of our talent and clients.   Mansfield aims to increase and sustain diversity in leadership within firms by expanding the pool of women lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, and underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers considered for firm governance roles, equity partner promotions, client pitches, Chambers awards, and more.  #Mansfield #MansfieldRule #DiversityLab #MidsizeMansfield

Success for Brogdon and Stahl in DeKalb County

Posted on May 23, 2023 in Results

At the end of a two-day trial, WACHP Associate Attorneys John Brogdon and Benjamin Stahl secured a favorable verdict for their client in DeKalb County State Court.  The client admitted fault for a minor collision with minor damage to both vehicles.  Plaintiff alleged that he sustained a knee injury which required surgery.  However, MRI images indicated that the knee injury pre-existed the accident and was degenerative in nature.  Additionally, Plaintiff did not present to any medical provider for six-days after the accident until he called a personal injury lawyer and was referred to a chiropractor.  The jury determined that some injury pre-existed the accident but declined to award plaintiff the full value of his medical bills.  Although plaintiff’s counsel asked for one-dollar short of $100,000, the jury awarded plaintiff $18,500 (less than half of plaintiff’s medical specials and lost wages).

Bulloch County Jury Returns Double Defense Verdict

Posted on May 05, 2023 in Results

Ashley Yagla secured a defense verdict in Bulloch County following a three-day jury trial on May 3, 2023. This was a case of disputed fault with virtually no damage to the plaintiffs’ vehicle. Defendant denied that an impact occurred with the plaintiffs’ vehicle altogether. Plaintiffs alleged neck, shoulder, and back injuries, which resulted in treatment at an emergency room, a chiropractor, and a pain management clinic.  Plaintiffs called several witnesses in their presentation of their case, including a treating physician and physical therapist who related plaintiffs’ injuries and need for treatment to the alleged accident with the defendant. In closing, the plaintiffs asked the jury for awards of $224,000 and $54,000. The jury deliberated for less than one hour and returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. Prior to trial, offers of approximately $9,000 were extended to each of the plaintiffs.

Bell Secures Pre-trial and Trial Wins for Corporate Defendant

Posted on Apr 28, 2023 in Results

Senior Associate Kayla Bell secured a win for an automotive repair company after a two (2) day trial in Houston County. Plaintiff had brought claims under the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act, which would have allowed for treble damages, as well as punitive damages. The Court granted defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment on those claims prior to trial. Pre-trial, the Court also ruled in favor of defendant’s Motion for Sanctions, finding plaintiff had destroyed or failed to preserve evidence. At trial, Kayla obtained a directed verdict as to plaintiff’s tort claim, leaving only a breach of contract claim for the jury to consider. After just 20 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of $2,000, which will be offset by enforcement of a statutory Offer of Settlement that leaves plaintiff on the hook for the corporate defendant’s attorney’s fees. 

Carolyn Lee Secures Defense Verdict

Posted on Mar 21, 2023 in Results

After a two (2) day trial, Carolyn Lee received a defense verdict in Hall County. This was an admitted fault case with $53,053.80 in medical specials and minimal damage. Plaintiff alleged soft tissue neck and back injuries that required injection procedures. Carolyn was able to impeach plaintiff about a prior accident where he hit a median wall and was taken by EMS and treated with a chiropractor. Plaintiff’s counsel mentioned this impeachment in opening statements to attempt to lessen the blow, however, Carolyn did a great job showing the jury that plaintiff recalled other injuries such as a middle school injury and not this accident.  At trial, plaintiff also testified that he never missed work as a result of the accident, but plaintiff’s sister testified that he missed months of work. The defense retained a billing expert to review the orthopedic bills since they accounted for $44,000 of plaintiff’s specials. The expert testified as to the reasonable and customary rates of the procedures.  Prior to trial, the defense offered $30,000. Plaintiff’s last demand was $50,000.

Brogdon Prevails in Gwinnett

Posted on Mar 16, 2023 in Results

Associate John Brogdon prevailed in a two (2) day jury trial in Gwinnett County.  The personal injury case stemmed from a 2019 admitted fault rear-end accident.  Plaintiffs were a mother and her teenage daughter.  Damage to the vehicles was minimal but plaintiffs sought emergency room treatment later that day.  Thereafter, they treated with the same chiropractors and underwent MRIs and pain management injections.  Plaintiffs presented combined healthcare bills of approximately $35,000, with the defense successfully excluding evidence of plaintiffs’ MRI charges.  The combined pre-suit offers were $12,000 and the jury awarded a combined verdict to plaintiffs of just under $11,000.

Liberty County Jury Returns with Defense Verdict Despite Expert Testimony

Posted on Feb 10, 2023 in Results

On February 8, 2023, after a three (3) day trial,  Jonathan Adelman and Carolyn Lee obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an insured who admitted wrongdoing in causing a collision which pushed plaintiff’s vehicle off the road and into a ditch.  Plaintiff was transported from the scene by ambulance and then began a nearly four (4) year course of treatment involving injections, radiofrequency ablations, and shoulder surgery.  Plaintiff was also recommended for a lumber fusion.  At trial, plaintiff had three (3) medical experts and one (1) functional capacity evaluator provided expert testimony that the accident caused plaintiff’s injuries and that plaintiff was permanently disabled.  Plaintiff also had the investigating officer and plaintiff’s family members testify live at trial.  Through the course of discovery, significant evidence of both prior and subsequent similar claims was discovered.  On cross-exam, plaintiff was successfully impeached more than ten (10) times.  Plaintiff presented evidence of $400,000 in medical expenses, and opposing counsel asked the jury to award $2,000,000 or more.  The insurance company did not accept the pre-trial policy limits demand of $250,000 and offered $100,000.