Auto Accident after Company Christmas Party Leads to Verdict for Costco Employee against Co-Worker

Posted by Steve Silver on Feb 11, 2015 1:40:47 PM


Defense attorney Craig Avery notes that Plaintiff Alisha Oliver made no attempt to stop Defendant Christopher Conyers from driving home after he had been drinking at an office Christmas party. A Gwinnett County State Court jury awarded Oliver $5,000 in damages resulting from an auto accident involving vehicles driven by the two Costco co-workers.

Lawrenceville, GA—A Gwinnett County State Court jury awarded Alisha Oliver $5,000 in compensatory damages resulting from an auto accident in which her car collided with a vehicle driven by Costco co-worker Christopher Conyers following an office Christmas party both had attended. Alisha Oliver v. Christopher J. Conyers 12-C-03095-6.

Oliver’s attorney, Joseph Wilson, also sought punitive damages against Conyers. During his opening and closing statements, Wilson suggested that Conyers was intoxicated or impaired at the time of the accident. However, the jury found that punitive damages were not warranted in the case.

According to court documents and testimony at the trial, Oliver and Conyers separately attended Costco’s employee Christmas party on December 11, 2010. Oliver testified that, after the party, she, Conyers, and another co-worker and her date met for another round of drinks at Tailgaters, a local bar. According to Oliver, Conyers said he was unfamiliar with the area around Tailgaters so she suggested he follow her vehicle until they reached a major intersection.

Oliver stated that the accident occurred when Conyers attempted to make a U-turn the wrong way on State Route 8, a one-way street, and abruptly pulled in front of her. She was unable to react, and her car struck the side of Conyers’ vehicle. The next day, she began to experience pain from her injuries and she sought treatment shortly thereafter. However, under cross-examination by Conyers’ attorney, Craig Avery, Oliver acknowledged that she had been involved in another auto accident two months earlier, for which she was also receiving medical treatment.

Brandon Canipelli, the Lawrenceville police officer who investigated the accident, also testified at the trial. Canipelli said that when he arrived at the accident scene, Conyers’ face was flushed and his eyes were bloodshot. He also said he could smell alcohol on Conyers’ breath. He later gave Conyers a breathalyzer test, and the results were .066%. Canipelli also said that neither Oliver nor Conyers reported being in pain at the time of the accident.

In his testimony, Conyers denied attempting to make a U-turn in front of Oliver’s car when the accident occurred. Instead, he said he was trying to make a left turn into a turnoff where he could consult his GPS to determine his exact location. Conyers also stated that he only had three alcoholic drinks during the course of the Christmas party, a period of approximately five hours. He added that he ordered another drink at Tailgaters but only took a sip.

Attorneys for the parties could not be reached for comment.


Related information:

Attorneys involved in the case include Joseph Wilson of the Decatur firm of Bruce A. Hagen, representing Alisha Oliver, and Craig Avery of the Athens firm of Cowsert & Avery, representing Christopher Conyers.

Watch on-demand video of the trial as soon as it becomes available. 

Not a Subscriber?Learn more about CVN's unparalleled coverage of top Georgia trials.

Topics: Negligence, Georgia, Oliver v. Conyers