The Plaintiff's Half of Georgia's Super 6
In 2015, CVN cameras covered the most critical trials throughout Georgia, in cases involving everything from headline-grabbing product liability suits to recording artist contract disputes. As the new year opens, CVN honors the year's top trials—its Super Six—in the state. While verdicts are important in the Super Six selection process, legal impact and trial storylines also play a key role in designating the elite trials of the year. In this part, we highlight and present, in no particular order, the three premier plaintiff's verdicts over the last year of CVN Georgia trials.
Walden v. Chrysler Group LLC Monumental Verdict in Jeep Fuel Tank Trial
Jim Butler tells jurors during opening statements Chrysler's gas tank placement caused the explosion that killed two-year-old Remington Walden.
For the plaintiff: Butler Wooten's Jim Butler, Butler Tobin's Jeb Butler, and Floyd & Kendrick's George Floyd represented James Walden.
The trial: The alleged role Chrysler played in the Jeep Cherokee explosion that killed two-year-old Remington Walden grabbed attention nationwide, as jurors heard evidence that Chrysler knew the gas tank's placement was a deadly fire hazard, but did nothing about the problem.
The trial featured Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, answering why his company rejected federal recommendations that the vehicle be recalled and trying to explaining allegedly "secret" meetings with federal officials. "Chrysler had plenty of opportunities to protect families like the Waldens," Jeb Butler told jurors in closings. "But they didn't. Instead they chose to protect their bottom line."
Jurors ultimately hit Chrysler with a $150 million verdict, capturing headlines nationwide and setting the stage for future litigation over the vehicle's fuel tank issue.
Wells v. Aslan Commons $72M Verdict Wraps Gas Line Explosion Trial
Pete Law claims defense lawyers "would be happy" with a $5 million award because they were trying to "defend the indefensible.".
For the plaintiff: Law & Moran's Peter Law and Michael Moran represented Stephen Wells.
The trial: Stephen Wells was burned over half of his body, and with such intensity that his vocal cords ruptured, when the gas line intended for a dryer in his apartment exploded. Wells' attorneys argued the cause of the explosion was simple: building management failed to cap the line.
Wells' attorneys showed 57 other units in the complex lacked gas line caps in violation of building regulations. The defense "has admitted an entire case" against it, Pete Wells told jurors, arguing the evidence was clear.
Jurors agreed, awarding more than $72 million dollars in the case.
Lewis v. The Emory Clinic Eight-Figure Verdict in Fatal Sleep Study Case
For the plaintiff: The Cochran Firm's Jane Lamberti represented Renee Lewis.
The trial: Brandon Harris, a 25-year-old developmentally disabled man who suffered from sleep apnea and heart and lung conditions, died during a study at the Emory Clinic Sleep Center. The trial against Emory turned on whether health providers, including Neurocare Inc., which operated the clinic for Emory, caused Harris' pulmonary edema by making him lie flat on his back and failing to properly heed warnings of his deteriorating condition.
During opening statements Jane Lamberti told jurors the health care staff attending to Harris was not properly trained to treat him. Describing what she argued was inadequate care before Harris collapsed, Lamberti told jurors a health care worker got Harris a cup of water rather than provide him emergency medical attention. "He had enough water in his lungs. He didn't need water in his mouth. He needed oxygen. She wasn't trained to know that and realize that."
Jurors found a non-party physician partially to blame, but also found Neurocare negligent, apportioning 60% of the blame to the company and finding Emory responsible for the company's negligence on a pre-reduced verdict of more than $20 million.
CVN delivers the widest array of Georgia's crucial trials, providing the insight you need to prepare for your next courtroom appearance.