|VIDEO| GA Jury Awards $28M in Trial Over Fatal Head-On Crash

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Apr 18, 2024 4:30:02 PM

Lawrenceville, GA— Jurors Wednesday awarded $28 million at trial over the death of a Georgia man in a head-on crash. Cohen, et al. v. Bell, 23-C-00222-S2. 

The verdict, in Gwinnett County (Georgia) State Court, caps a three-day damages trial over the December 2021 crash that killed Mark Cohen, then 54. The wreck occurred when the defendant, Mary Angela Bell, crossed the center-line of a roadway and struck the minivan Cohen was driving. 

Wednesday’s award includes $26,500,000 for the full value of Cohen’s life and $1,500,000 for Cohen’s pre-collision emotional injuries. Jurors declined to issue an award for the claim of post-collision pain and suffering prior to his death at the crash scene. 

Bell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular homicide and was sentenced to 12 months of probation and community service. And her admission of fault for the collision in the civil case set up this week’s damages trial.


Much of the proceeding focused on Cohen's personal relationships with family and friends and his pursuits such as scouting and outdoor activities when valuing the loss of his life. During Wednesday’s closings, Bell’s attorney, Gower Wooten Darneille’s Anne Gower, acknowledged testimony concerning Cohen's character and relationships with friends and loved ones. But she argued the roughly $77 million plaintiff's attorneys sought in damages was excessive.

“It sounds like Mark was a truly amazing person, citizen, father, coworker,” Gower said, before suggesting jurors award $3 million in the case. “We’re going to ask you to do what’s fair. What would Mark do, from all accounts in the testimony, what would he do, would he be fair?”

But Butler | Kahn’s Jeb Butler, representing the plaintiffs, reminded jurors of the slate of witnesses who testified about Cohen's character, and said the man's nature and generosity of spirit supported a large damage award. 

“Kindness, empathy, care for others. Those are good things,” Butler said. “Those make the value of a life higher, not lower, particularly when they bring joy to the person who is showing that empathy, who shows that kindness, who cares for others. We reward those things.”

In an email after the verdict, Butler told CVN “We had a good case and we represented a great family. Trial was fun. We are going to have to do that more often.”

CVN has reached out to attorneys for the defense and will update this article with their statement. 

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Topics: Georgia, Transportation, Cohen, et al. v. Bell