Following Claims of Juror Misconduct, Georgia Crash Case Settles for $2.05M

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Aug 16, 2023 4:36:01 PM


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Following claims of juror misconduct that preceded a $1.2 million trial verdict for a Georgia lawyer injured in a 2016 rear-end crash, the parties settled the case for just north of $2 million, one of the lawyer’s attorneys told CVN.

Joseph Wilson, of Wilson Rowley and Trial Lawyers for Justice, told CVN the $2.05 million settlement was reached after details emerged of alleged juror misconduct during deliberations in the June 2023 trial over the back, hip, and other injuries James Watson says he suffered when his car was struck from behind by a pickup truck driven by Todd Blackburn. 

Jurors handed down the $1.2 million award to Watson, a Kennesaw, Georgia-area lawyer, following a four-day trial, covered gavel-to-gavel by CVN, in Cherokee County (Georgia) State Court. 

However, Wilson said he was approached within days of the verdict by a juror who contended another jury member improperly researched the value of similar claims during deliberations. Further investigation revealed the juror who allegedly researched the claim was affiliated with an insurance agency, Wilson said, a fact that juror did not disclose during voir dire. 

Wilson added that, during deliberations, yet another juror allegedly initially refused to award more than a million dollars in the case, despite the fact that juror said in voir dire that he would have no problem awarding a much higher figure if the evidence warranted it. Wilson said that particular juror agreed to award more only after jurors threatened to get the bailiff. 

Wilson said the case settled after affidavits detailing the juror misconduct were secured and the defense was notified of an imminent motion for a new trial. 

Wilson added that, although the original verdict was the second-largest verdict in Cherokee County history, he and Nick Rowley, of Trial Lawyers for Justice and Wilson Rowley, were surprised about the amount of the award, given the evidence they presented. “When I got that call [from the juror] Monday, it all made sense,” Wilson said. “It made sense to everybody.”

CVN has reached out to the defense for comment. 

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Topics: Georgia, Transportation, Watson v. Blackburn