Gwinnett Jury Awards Plaintiff $573K in Less Than an Hour

Case Caption:  Shonna Pitts v. Barbara Greenblatt, Civil Action File No. 11C09622-53
Court:  State Court of Gwinnett County
Judge:  Hon. Carla Brown
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Jeff Shiver, Alan Hamilton, Shiver & Hamilton
Defendant’s Attorneys:  John C. Harris, Jr., Law Office of James C. McLaughlin
Alleged Damages:  Broken femur requiring surgery, lost wages
Verdict: $573,000 plus $75,000 in attorney fees
Date of Verdict: February 6, 2013

Summary:
Plaintiff Shonna Pitts, a 34-year-old pre-school teacher, was driving with her two young sons when Defendant Barbara Greenblat pulled out from a side street into her path.  Plaintiff hit Defendant and then ran into a pole.  Plaintiff broke her femur as a result of the accident.  Neither Plaintiff’s young sons nor Defendant were injured in the accident.  Plaintiff alleged that Defendant failed to yield or ran the stop sign when pulling out onto the main road.  Defendant, however, denied liability for the accident.  Although Defendant was cited at the scene, she pled nolo contendere and the charges were not admissible at trial.  

Plaintiff had almost $60,000 in medical expenses and a lost wages claim of more than $7,000.  Defendant’s highest offer was $125,000 and the case failed to settle at mediation.  At trial, Plaintiff received a directed verdict on the issue of liability.  Defendant put up no evidence in a highly unusual move to have the opportunity to deliver the last closing argument.  The jury took less than an hour to award damages in the case, coming back with a substantial $573,000 verdict in favor of Plaintiff.  The parties agreed on $75,000 to settle Plaintiff’s stubbornly litigious claim for attorney fees.   

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