September 21, 2023. Attorney Doug MacKimm secured a favorable verdict for his client in a case that was tried to a jury in the State Court of Cobb County last week week.  Associate Attorney Ian Kahler assisted and sat second chair for the trial.

This lawsuit arose from a motor vehicle collision that occurred on January 30, 2019, when the named defendant was driving a pickup truck and trailer full of pine straw on his way to a job. The accident occurred when the Defendant attempted to make a U-turn and at the same time, the  Plaintiff was travelling in the opposite direction and struck the Defendant on his front-passenger side. The Plaintiff reported that Defendant’s vehicle made a U-turn “out of nowhere.” Defendant indicated there was a vehicle stopped ahead of him in the roadway, which led to his need to merge and that in doing so he may have been struck by another vehicle. Defendant subsequently received a citation for Improper U-turn.  Defendant disputed negligence at trial. Plaintiff was transported from the accident scene via EMS.  The collision was essentially head on and resulted in extensive property damage.

At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was 6 months pregnant and was an active duty member of the Army National Guard.  Plaintiff had back pain and fractured her right foot.   After being diagnosed with the foot fracture, her ankle/foot was cast and then after a few weeks she transitioned to a walking boot.  After this she was still having difficulty walking and she was diagnosed with a subluxated and unstable Lisfranc injury to her foot.  It was recommended she have surgery after giving birth to fuse her foot fracture.  She declined to have surgery.  She also underwent chiropractic treatment and pain management including injections in her back.  She incurred medical bills of around $70,000, however, Plaintiff made a tactical decision to not introduce the medical bills at trial.

At trial, Plaintiff testified that she has had lingering back pain and right foot pain since the accident.  She admitted to prior low back pain and treatment but alleged it was asymptomatic at the time of the accident.  On Cross she admitted that she had passed all of her Army PT tests and maintained very high scores well above passing.  She admitted she retuned to doing crossfit and that she had related to her medical providers that her foot pain was tenderness instead of constant pain and was managed with stretching and over the counter gels and creams.

Her husband presented a loss of consortium claim alleging that that he was in fear and anguish due to her pregnancy.  He also claimed their sexual relations and intimacy was diminished while she was in a hard cast. Further they were not able to work out together during that time at crossfit.  Although he did concede they have had 2 more children after the accident.

Plaintiff brought her orthopedist that treated her for the foot fracture and recommended the surgery.  He testified that she will likely always have some lingering pain.  She also presented the front seat passenger in the Defendant’s vehicle who testified that he felt the accident was the defendant’s fault.  She presented testimony from her commanding officer and another fellow soldier that had deployed with the Plaintiff to Iraq as before and after witnesses.  Plaintiff called the president of the pine straw company who testified that they did not have much in the way of procedures regarding background checks, manuals or procedures.

The defense presented testimony of the defendant and the president of the pine straw company mostly focused the testimony on the manner in which the accident occurred and rebuttal regarding their procedures.

During his closing, the plaintiff asked the jury to award pain and suffering in an amount of 1.3 million accounting for 5 cents per minute for the next 50 years.  He further asked the jury to award Plaintiff’s husband an unspecified amount for loss of consortium and for an award of attorneys fees under O.C.G.A 13-6-11 arguing that defendant presented and maintained a liability defense that was frivolous and stubbornly litigious. Mr. MacKimm suggested the plaintiff should be awarded pain and suffering through gap treatment due to her second pregnancy. in time where she resumed normal activity and resumed crossfit.  Mr. MacKimm suggested an appropriate award would be $20,000-$50,000.

The jury deliberated for approximately 2 hours before rejecting Plaintiff’s demand for a 7 figure verdict and returning a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff in the amount of $202,000, well less than the lowest amount demanded by Plaintiff’s counsel of  of $557,000.  The jury declined to award any amount for loss of consortium.  The jury also rejected the Plaintiff’s claim for an award of attorneys fees.

The Case is Janna Lee Del Cid f/k/a Janna Lee Hoeg and Francisco Del Cid vs. Flores Strawing, LLC and Luis Antonio Aguilar, State Court of Cobb County CAFN 20-A-4197

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