In the recent Fulton County Superior Court case of Margaret Jones and Associates v. Perry Homes Redevelopment (2003CV9479), plaintiff Margaret Jones, a veteran Atlanta public relations consultant, sued to recover fees owed her for work in helping prepare the winning proposal for the $400 million Perry Homes Redevelopment Project. Jones never had a written contract with any of the other parties involved in the proposal, and, by the time the trial occurred, over a decade had passed since the project was awarded, during which time Jones had never been paid anything for her services.
During the trial, the various parties involved in the proposal denied having any contractual relationship with Jones or that she provided anything of value to them. In his closing statement, Jones’s attorney Richard Robbins had to make sure the jury understood just how integral Jones’s services were to the winning proposal.
Robbins emphasized to the jury that Jones’s role was not to “do paperwork” but to present something unique in the proposal, a vision that Jones had of a shared community, not just including housing, but also retail, commercial, educational and other facilities. Robbins also brought the credibility of the other parties to the proposal into question, noting their various inconsistent statements during the course of the case and asking the jury to “look and see who’s telling the truth and whose story can be squared with the documents.”
The jury evidently believed Jones rather than the various defendants in the case, awarding her damages of almost $1 million, including over $400,000 in attorney’s fees.
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