CVN cameras have covered an array of headline-grabbing cases in Georgia courtrooms over the past year. And our 2018 Georgia Plaintiff's Attorney of the Year earned the honor by leading wins in two of those trials, including an eight-figure verdict against MARTA.
CVN Georgia's Plaintiff's Attorney of 2018
Fried Rogers Goldberg's Michael Goldberg
The Verdicts: In July's Byrom trial, Goldberg keyed a $2.66 million verdict against a Douglasville hospital for a patient's debilitating fall from a hospital wheelchair. Four months later, he spearheaded a case against MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, which led to a $25 million verdict and the authority declared 75% responsible, for the fall from a paratransit bus that left one of its riders with catastrophic brain damage.
The Details: While at Douglas Hospital undergoing testing for a routine finger infection, Carolyn Byrom suffered a severe leg break when she attempted to stand from the wheelchair in which a staff member was transporting her.
The hospital contended it followed appropriate protocol in its wheelchair transport of Byrom, who was unable to walk again after the fall.
But Goldberg, trying the case with The Singleton Law Firm's Donald Singleton, argued the hospital staff member took Byrom down a hall with a doorway too narrow for the oversized chair to fit, and the hospital failed to train the healthcare worker on how to use the wheelchair, which was built for riders to exit from the side, rather than the front.
"Despite the fact that this is an unusual type wheelchair, no training was given to it to any of the people at [the hospital] about this wheelchair," Goldberg told jurors in openings, as he described Byrom's fall as she exited from the front of the chair. "None.”
Jurors took less than three hours at the close of the three-day trial to find the hospital at fault and award Byrom more than $2.6 million for the fall.
November's Johnson trial concerned whether MARTA was responsible for a 2016 fall that left Jaccolah Johnson in a vegetative state. Johnson fell from one of the transit giant's mobility buses, used by passengers with disabilities, as she tried to descend the bus's steps.
At trial, MARTA contended Johnson, who had ridden the bus without incident before, was responsible for the fall because she rejected the bus driver's offer of assistance.
But Goldberg, who tried the case with FRG partner Joseph Fried and The Singleton Law Firm's Donald Singleton, countered that MARTA 's failure to require drivers to shadow disabled passengers as they left the bus, combined with a sharply angled step and poorly designed handrail, caused the accident.
In closings, Goldberg noted the trial's only transportation safety expert concluded MARTA had breached industry standards. “If MARTA had given the driver the tools [so] that she knew what she was supposed to do, [the fall] never happens," Goldberg said.
Jurors found MARTA 75% responsible off a $25 million verdict, leading to an $18.75 million post-verdict award for Johnson.
Goldberg's masterful work in both trials earned him CVN Georgia's honor as Plantiff's Attorney of the Year. This is the second time he's earned the award, last winning it in 2016 for his blockbuster $20 million verdict in a trucking crash trial.
Email Arlin Crisco at email@example.com.
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