DeKalb Jury Hands Defense A Win

Case Caption:  Teva Wright v. Allison Ambler, Civil Action File Number 11CV11852
Court: Superior Court of DeKalb County
Judge: Honorable Tangela Barrie
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: W. James Moore, Mark Hawthorne, Moore & Hawthorne
Defendant’s Attorneys: Hilliard Castilla, Waldon Adelman Castilla Hiestand & Prout
Alleged Damages: Neck and back injuries, miscarriages, weight gain
Verdict: $1360.00
Date of Verdict: October 2, 2012

As someone who has spent my career as a civil defense lawyer, and who lives and works in DeKalb County, I was happy to see this case come across my desk.  I may even bring a copy of the Judgment with me to show the mediator in my next case when they tell me DeKalb juries just give money away to whoever walks in the courtroom.  Kudos to Hilliard Castilla and his defense team on this one.

In Wright v. Ambler, Defendant drove her SUV into the side of a school bus, occupied only by Plaintiff, the driver.  The Defendant admitted liability.  Plaintiff did not complain of injuries at the scene but testified that later that day, she began experiencing pain in her neck, shoulder and hand.  MRIs revealed bulges and a mild disk protrusion in her cervical spine.  She also alleged 2 miscarriages and weight gain were all caused by the collision, despite evidence to the contrary.

The jury didn’t buy it.  Despite amassing almost $90,000 in medical bills, the jury awarded Plaintiff only $1,360.00.  Defense counsel successfully argued that Plaintiff was exaggerating her injuries and that her back pain was attributed to a prior accident. 

Lesson learned for the defense bar and our clients: DeKalb County may not be such a bad venue after all. 

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