HPTY Obtains Defense Verdict in Tractor-Trailer Accident

June 5, 2014
United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

Warner Fox and Shane Keith obtained a defense verdict in a personal injury suit tried before Judge Totenberg in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The case arose from an accident in which our client's tractor-trailer bumped into the rear-end of the Plaintiffs' car at a very low speed. Despite the low impact and relatively minor damage to the car, the two plaintiffs claimed extensive injuries and damages -- between them, the plaintiffs claimed nearly $330,000 in past medical expenses, and sought future medical expenses, pain and suffering and future lost wages of more than $50,000 per year. Both plaintiffs had undergone surgery since the accident and their physicians testified for them by video at trial. In closing argument, the plaintiffs' attorney asked the jury to award nearly $2 million in compensatory damages. The plaintiffs also sought punitive damages for alleged negligent hiring and retention.

After deliberating for an hour and a half, the jury sided with our clients and returned a verdict for the defendants, finding them “not negligent.” Although our clients had admitted liability for the collision, the jury nonetheless accepted the argument that the plaintiffs' medical issues were preexisting and not proximately caused by the accident; the case ended at the liability phase and did not proceed to a determination of whether punitive damages were appropriate.

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