Cobb Jury Bolsters County's Reputation as Conservative Venue: Awards Plaintiff a Fraction of What She Asked for

Case CaptionHelen Irwin and Samuel Irwin v. Bartlett Heating & Cooling, Civ. Action No.: 08-A-12273-1
Court:  Cobb County State Court
Judge:  Honorable Melodie Clayton
Plaintiff’s Attorneys:  Edward D. Flynn, Flynn & Gottlieb
Defendants’ Attorney:  R. Chris Harrison, Downey & Cleveland
Alleged Damages:  Tinnitus; exacerbation of neck/back injuries
VerdictPlaintiff awarded $16,276.00
Date of Verdict:  January 20, 2011

Summary:  Plaintiff Helen Irwin was driving southbound in heavy traffic on Powers Ferry Road when she was rear-ended by a Bartlett Heating and Cooling truck.  Defendants admitted their driver’s negligence but contested causation, negligent entrustment and hiring claims, as well as damages.

Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages, claiming the accident caused permanent Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and aggravated prior neck and back injuries.  Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for as much as $2 million.  While the jury returned a verdict in Plaintiff’s favor, they awarded only $16,276.00, an amount less than the actual medical expenses.

Compounding Plaintiffs’ misfortunes, they had rejected a $35,000 pretrial offer of judgment.  Plaintiffs avoided paying defense costs and fees, however, with a post judgment settlement.
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