Kaleo Hewlett, 22, and four other individuals were traveling in a Kia sedan following a wedding ceremony in Atlanta. Hewlett, the best man, was riding in the back seat with two of the bridesmaids. They were on their way to the wedding reception when they were rear-ended.
Brown, a sales representative for AstraZenca, a pharmaceutical company, who had 15 speeding tickets prior to this incident, was traveling at 70.2 miles per hour and sped up just before he hit the sedan carrying the wedding party.The impact forced the smaller sedan past the intersection approximately 100 yards and also pushed the trunk of the smaller sedan into the back seat of the sedan killing all 3 rear passengers, including Mr. Hewlett.
After a five (5) day trial and four and a half (4.5) hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiff’s in the amount of $15,263,000 and apportioned the award as follows:
Offer: $4,500,000 (after two failed mediations); $10,000,000 (the day before trial)
Post-trial: Defense counselor filed a post-trial motion for a new trial on damages and/or a judicial reduction of the $5 million survival action award.
2. $12 MILLION awarded to Auto passenger impaled by falling tree limb
The Plaintiff in a Chatham County State Court Motor Vehicle case was awarded a total of $12,300,000 for a tree limb that fell 30 feet above the roadway, crashing through the roof of the truck and causing head trauma, brain injury and damage, amputation of a leg, and a broken pelvis.
Plaintiffs sued the mayor and aldermen of the city of Savannah on the basis that the city failed to properly maintain the tree to prevent injury, despite prior knowledge of rot and damage to the tree. They claimed the Savannah Park and Tree Department knew the tree was a potential danger based on a 2007 incident involving a dropped limb from the same tree. Plaintiffs relied on city records showing that the city had been called to deal with rot and other damage to the tree prior to this incident. As a result, plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the city’s defense of absolute immunity was nullified.
The city maintained that it was immune from liability because the tree limb fell due to an “internal defect,” of which it had no knowledge, coupled with high winds. Defense counsel argued there was no way the city could have anticipated the accident and that the tree had been inspected multiple times.
After a nine (9) day trial, and only one (1) day of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of all the Plaintiffs and awarded $ 12,000,000 to Ms. Greene, $ 20,000.00 to Mr. Louis Anderson, and $ 10,000 to Mr. Xavier Anderson.
3. $3 MILLION awarded in wrongful death suit for Infant born prematurely due to crash, who died at one month
A Bryan County State Court jury awarded $3,083,000 to a mother and father who lost their newborn son a month following a car accident. The boy had been born prematurely due to injuries sustained by his mother in the accident.
Ms. Erica McKeel was driving her vehicle when the Defendant, Cuong Nguyen, failed to yield and turned left right in front of the Plaintiff McKeel’s vehicle causing the two vehicles to collide and totaling both vehicles. The airbag deployed and the Plaintiff, pregnant for seven months, was struck in the stomach.
She was admitted to the hospital where the next day her amniotic sac broke causing a placental abruption whereby a C-Section was performed 12 days following the accident approximately giving birth to Murphy Foster McKeel. It was not until 18 minutes after his birth that little Murphy was breathing and had a heart rate that was stable.
Since it took the baby so long to breath following his birth, his brain suffered oxygen deprivation which resulted in brain damage that was severe. Although little Murphy was treated in the ICU for 12 days following the accident, on February 12, 2012, he died.
Plaintiffs filed two separate claims. The first claim was for negligence and wrongful death, and was against Nguyen. It also involved a negligent entrustment claim against Nguyen’s brother, who owned the car Nguyen was driving at the time of the accident. The second suit was filed against Defendant Limelight Bar & Grill, a company owned by the Nguyen brothers. It alleged that Cuong Nguyen, who was on his way to pick up a food service license for the restaurant, was operating the vehicle for business purposes at the time of the accident. The cases were consolidated for trial.
Defendants submitted a motion for summary judgment seeking the dismissal of the negligent entrustment claim, as well as the claims against the restaurant. The judge granted the motion as to the negligent entrustment claim, but refused to dismiss the claim against Limelight.