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July 27, 2020 – Partner Joseph Kaiser and Associate Ankur Trivedi conducted a one of the first post-covid jury trials jury trial in Fulton Superior Court and obtained a Defense Verdict. Plaintiffs alleged that, as they were traveling down I-85 S, they fully merged into the HOV lane when Defendant rear-ended them. Defendant claimed that he was traveling down I-85 S in the HOV lane when Plaintiffs’ vehicle suddenly merged into his lane cutting him off and causing the collision.
Plaintiff-driver alleged $48,582 in past special damages and Plaintiff-passenger alleged $12,270 in past special damages. Plaintiff-driver was offered $1,000 before trial, and her passenger was offered $9,333 before trial. Both offers were rejected. At trial, the Defense presented photographs of the damage to the Plaintiffs’ vehicle, which showed damage to the left rear quadrant, only. The HOV lane inside the perimeter has no shoulder and a concrete barrier to the left. The accident also occurred during rush-hour traffic to the right of the HOV lane.
On cross-examination of the Plaintiff-driver, Mr. Trivedi was able to show the jury that Plaintiffs’ account of how the collision occurred was impossible, as there was only damage to Plaintiffs’ left rear-quadrant, leading to the conclusion that Defendant did not enter the lane from the left or right; couldn’t swerve in either direction; and that the only logical conclusion was that Plaintiff had not fully merged when the collision occurred.
Plaintiff-driver was also impeached during her cross-examination, when she failed to disclose in her deposition and to her treating physician that she had a post-loss collision where she was side-swiped. This was crucial because Plaintiff’s treatment at AllSpine did not begin until after the second collision. During closing arguments, Plaintiff asked the jury to find for them and award the Plaintiff driver $246,000-$446,000 and Plaintiff Passenger $120,000-$220,000. Mr. Trivedi asked the jury to render a defense verdict.
The jury deliberated for 30 minutes before returning a defense verdict.
The case is Markita Palmer & Ja’Leisha Graham v. Jose Wood
Superior Court of Fulton County, CAFN: 2019CV327575