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Seminar Number

9186

Registration
Fee:

$140

Golden Age of Torts
SUPERSTAR PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS - BEST VERDICTS 2015

RECORDED JANUARY 21, 2016

Archived Webcast

CLE Hours:
6 CLE Hours including 1 Trial Practice Hour

Co-Sponsor:
General Practice and Trial Law Section, State Bar of Georgia

Presiding:
E. Marcus Davis, Program Chair, Davis Zipperman Kirschenbaum & Lotito LLP, Atlanta

WELCOME AND PROGRAM OVERVIEW
E. Marcus Davis
Verdict $29,250,000.00 ($21,000,000.00 for wrongful death and $8.25 million for pain and suffering), 19-year-old was burned to death by spilled gasoline and vapors that caught a spark and ignited while he was operating a front-end loader pushing scrap across a concrete pad at an Atlanta metals recycling plant. He got his W2 from one entity, and the property owner-defendant was a separate but related entity with common ownership to the W2 employer. The defense was that all claims were barred, and also that a rogue co-employee who violated policy caused the fire.
Alan J. Hamilton, Shiver Hamilton, LLC, Atlanta
Verdict $150,000,000.00 Verdict subsequently remitted by trial judge to $40,000,000.00, 4-year-old boy was burned to death on March 6, 2012, when his aunt’s 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was struck in the rear and its behind-the-axle tank exploded. Chrysler had known since 1999 that the rear gas tank was so “vulnerable” in rear collisions that Chrysler engineers refused to put instruments near the rear in crash tests, yet Fiat-Chrysler (“FCA”) Chairman, Sergio Marchionne, publicly declared the car “absolutely safe.” Chrysler had managed to settle all cases prior to this one, keeping the public uninformed. The deceased child’s parents refused to settle; on April 2, 2015, a jury in Decatur County, Georgia, returned a verdict for $150,000,000.00 as to all compensatory damages. That verdict was subsequently remitted by the trial judge to $40,000,000.00 after finding that “the evidence against FCA was overwhelming.”
James E. “Jim” Butler, Jr., Butler Wooten Cheeley & Peak LLP, Columbus
James E. “Jeb” Butler, III, Butler Tobin LLC, Atlanta

Verdict $4,750,000.00 ($3,750,000.00 for full value of plainTiff’s life and $1,000,000.00 for pain and suffering), 24-year-old male who was a visiting electrical contractor died at Gerdau Ameristeel’s Cartersville plant after a Gerdau employee caused a thousand-plus pound metal beam to rotate downward, striking plaintiff in the torso. Plaintiff’s father brought suit alleging negligence and premises liability against Gerdau, with Gerdau contending that the death was solely the fault of plaintiff and his employer. On September 2, 2015, the jury returned a verdict allocating 75% fault of Gerdau for the death.
Cale H. Conley, Conley Griggs Partin LLP, Atlanta

Verdict $9,200,000.00, 41-year-old husband and father of two young children suffered a carotid artery dissection that was improperly evaluated by the emergency room physician, leading to a fatal stroke. After deciding that the evidence should be evaluated under the ordinary professional negligence standard rather than gross professional negligence standard, the jury returned a substantial verdict in favor of the deceased plaintiff’s estate.
S.K. Rod Dixon, The Dixon Firm, PC, Atlanta
John G. Mabrey, The Mabrey Firm, P.C., Atlanta
Verdict $16,500,000.00 ($15,000,000.00 plus $1,500,000.00 for loss of consortium), Case vigorously defended, claiming plaintiff was at fault for not avoiding collision with log truck that pulled into state highway from a stop sign on a dirt road.
Thomas William Malone, Malone Law Office, Atlanta
Verdict $73,521,640.96 ($17,900,000.00 in compensatory damages, $7,160,000.00 in attorney’s fees, $47,900,000.00 in punitive damages, and the judge added $561,640.96 in pre-judgment interest), 53-year-old man whose apartment exploded after he turned on the light at Defendants’ apartment complex. Jury found gas line was uncapped due to Defendants’ negligence. After the jury verdict, the trial judge reduced the punitive verdict in accordance with Georgia’s punitive damages cap. The Defendants maintained adequate insurance to cover the entire verdict and the case settled while on appeal.
Pete A. Law, Law & Moran, Atlanta
E. Michael Moran, Law & Moran, Atlanta

Post-Trial and Appellate Issues Unique to Multi-Million Dollar CASES: Appellate law regarding excessive verdicts, apportionment, verdict form challenges, and attorney fees under the Offer of Judgment Act.
Naveen Ramachandrappa, Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP, Atlanta

Verdict $36,000,000.00 ($11,000,000.00 for wrongful death; $25,000,000.00 estate claim pre-death pain and suffering, medical expenses and funeral expenses), 36-year-old woman had a radical nephrectomy. During the surgery a ligature was negligently placed around the abdominal aorta rather than the renal artery. The nurses charted normal pulses in the feet when such was impossible for 54 hours. The nurses eventually charted diminished temperature in feet, diminished sensation in feet, inability to move lower extremities, but did not tell subsequent treating specialists. The nurses claim they did tell subsequent specialists. Jury apportioned 12.5% of the verdict to the hospital and zero fault to the subsequent treaters. There was a confidential pre-suit settlement with one physician and a confidential high-low agreement with one physician during the trial.
Philip C. Henry, Henry Spiegal Milling LLP, Atlanta
E. Marcus Davis
verdict of $20,500,000.00 ($10,000,000.00 estate claim; $10,500,000.00 wrongful death). On January 22, 2010, Brandon Harris presented to the Emory Sleep Center for a routine sleep study. Brandon was special-needs, and neither he nor his mother were aware that Emory had partnered with Neurocare to operate the sleep center. Brandon suffered from cardiomyopathy and developed pulmonary edema during the study. He experienced severe respiratory distress, which essentially went untreated for over 15 minutes. By the time EMTs were called, Brandon was unresponsive and pronounced dead shortly thereafter at Emory Hospital. The case involved hotly disputed issues on liability, causation, immunity, apportionment and principal/agency responsibility. Neurocare settled just prior to trial. The jury returned with 1% allocated to the Emory Sleep center medical director, 39% against the DeKalb EMTs, and 60% against Emory for its vicarious liability for the negligence of Neurocare’s sleep techs.   
Jane M. Lamberti, The Cochran Firm, Atlanta
Shean D. Williams, The Cochran Firm, Atlanta
Verdict $22,000,000.00, Woman underwent a repeat bilateral transforaminal epidural steroid injection under intravenous sedation (ESI) for relief to low back pain. Upon administration of propofol, woman quit breathing. The defendant healthcare provider did not turn the patient over to resuscitate her until the procedure was completed. This resulted in a severe anoxic brain injury which eventually led to the woman’s death.
James N. “Jay” Sadd, Slappy & Sadd, LLC, Atlanta
FUNDING YOUR CASE
Chris Conefry, Principal, Cherokee Funding, Atlanta
Katy Valentine, Director, Medical Funding, Cherokee Funding, Atlanta
Reid M. Zeising, Managing Partner, Cherokee Funding, Atlanta
Ken Hayes, Chief Operating Officer, Cherokee Funding, Atlanta