Atlanta—A Fulton County State Court judge declared a mistrial shortly after opening statements began Monday over injuries a Georgia woman says she suffered in a 2013 crash with a tractor trailer.
Judge Jane Morrison ordered the mistrial after an attorney for plaintiff Dilyara Akhundov sought to introduce evidence of medical treatments Akhundov had received but not disclosed via discovery until days before trial began.
Akhundov, 31, claims she was injured when a tractor-trailer driven by Juan Ramos for Unimex Logistics hit her car on I-85 in Gwinnett County.
However, days before Monday’s openings, Akhundov’s attorneys submitted additional records of medical treatment Akhundov received from healthcare providers she had not previously disclosed.
According to court documents, Judge Morrison granted the defense’s pre-trial motion to exclude records of those treatments. However, at trial Akhundov’s attorneys sought to allow Akhundov to testify about the injections, leading Morrison to declare a mistrial and give defense an opportunity to depose Akhundov on the matter.
In an order issued Wednesday, Morrison noted that Akhundov’s attorney claimed she did not disclose the injections in question because she was confused about the specifics of her medical treatment. “Incomplete, even evasive answers to discovery typically warrant a continuance of trial or a mistrial, rather than exclusion, which is warranted where the information was deliberately suppressed,” Morrison wrote.
In addition to ordering Akhundov’s deposition, Morrison imposed a $900 sanction, the day’s stipend for 36 jurors to appear for trial.
With the defense admitting fault in the case, Monday’s openings focused on whether the crash caused the injuries Akhundov claimed.
In his opening statement, Akhundov’s attorney, W. Winston Briggs, told jurors the crash, which spun Akhundov’s car out of control and sent it into a concrete embankment, injured her back, neck, and knee, and required years of medical treatment. “[Akhundov] never had problems with [her] knees, never had problems with back, neck, wrist before,” Briggs said, adding Akhundov was in such pain she could not work as a bartender following the crash. “From the date she was in [the accident], the rest of her life she’s going to have some problems with that.”
However, the defense argued Akhundov recovered from the injuries more quickly than she claimed and questioned how much the crash limited her ability to work. “We believe the evidence will show that she has worked, she’s continued to work, she’s continued to travel extensively,” Carlock Copeland’s Fred Valz, III told jurors Monday.
A new trial date in the case has not yet been set.
CVN recorded the trial’s first day and will offer video on demand, as soon as possible.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dilyara Akhundov is represented by W. Winston Briggs, of The Briggs Law Firm.
Juan Ramos and Unimex Logistics are represented by Carlock Copeland's Fred Valz, III and Melissa Bailey.
CVN will provide video of the trial's openings, on demand, as soon as possible.
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