Plaintiff Receives $1M Dollars in a Case Against a Truck Driver for a Car Crash in Georgia where the Evidence Would Show that the Truck Driver was a Distracted Driver

mobile phone on sept 26 blogPast Midnight on May 5, 2011, a tractor-trailer driven by Jerry O’Reilly, an employer of Try Hours and National Interstate Insurance Co., was driving in Georgia on I-285 in a Westbound Lane. At the same time and driving in the same direction as Mr. O’Reilly, Ms. Kristen Meredit, age 41, was driving her compact sedan when suddenly O’Reilly’s tractor-trailer attempted a lane change and in doing so clipped the driver’s side of Ms. Meredit’s car causing it to flip over many times, and finally come to rest on the shoulder of the road.

Injured, Ms. Meredit was taken by ambulance to a hospital where she underwent surgery later on her lower back to fuse her vertebrae.

In April, 2013, Ms. Meredith filed a lawsuit in DeKalb County State Court against Defendant truck driver Mr. Jerry O’Really and his employer Try Hours and National Interstate Insurance Co. alleging negligence on the part of both Defendants and seeking more than $ 75,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages.

The case was moved to Federal Court in the Northern District of Georgia, a month after it was filed in State Court, since both GA State and Superior Courts lacked jurisdiction over the parties, and only the Federal Court had jurisdiction over the parties in the case since, although the accident happened in Georgia, all of the defendants resided out of state; this is called Diversity of Jurisdiction

In court pleadings, the Defendant claimed that the Plaintiff caused the crash even though the Defendant was cited at the crash for Improper Lane Change and later pled guilty, and paid a fine. The ticket and plea, however, were not the defining moments in the case.

Later, during depositions, Defendant O’Reilly denied using a phone, computer, or camera while driving. He later changed his testimony, however, and admitted that he took photos when he was driving after he was presented with dozens of photographs from his Facebook page.


With the Help of an iPad Application and its Creator, a Solo Plaintiff Attorney Wins a $3.3M Verdict for his Client Against a Defense that was Not in the Mood to Back Down in a Car Crash Case in Georgia

smartphone blog september 24The Plaintiff’s Attorney thought this case was a routine and straight forward car accident case. The Defense thought the opposite and showed it every step of the way during trial. The case was Omotola v. Avradopoulos, No. 12EV016314.

The case began on a drizzly and cloudy day in February, 2011 when Plaintiff Alahandro Omotola, age 40, was driving in Atlanta, Georgia when Defendant Constantine Avradopoulos was driving the same way in the center lane when he crossed into the Plaintiff’s lane and struck the Plaintiff, running him off the road and over a fire hydrant until the car rested in some trees. Both parties were injured and ultimately sought treatment at the Atlanta Medical Center where the Defendant complained of leg and back pain. He was later charged with improper lane change and he pled no contest to the charges and, therefore, the charges could not be admitted in court.

The Plaintiff, on the other hand, had injuries to his lower back and shoulder and, although he was released from the ER, he returned to the ER with complaints of shooting pain to and from his leg to his back. As a result, several examinations were performed that revealed that the Plaintiff had a herniated disk along with injuries to both of his shoulders.  The Plaintiff, despite five shoulder surgeries, at the time of trial was still having pain and had a limited range of motion. The Plaintiff had been treated for the back issues as well and surgery was not recommended for his back, but a spinal fusion was recommended, however.

Since the Defense had no intention of settling the case, the Plaintiff and his wife, Melissa, filed suit in the Fulton County State Court of Georgia naming Avradopoulous as a Defendant. Prior to trial the parties mediated the case with an experienced mediator and former Superior Court Judge, yet the mediation went no where. The parties, prior to trial, also went back and forth several times with offers and counteroffers, and were still unable to settle the case.

To illustrate how this was not your usual car accident trial, the trial began despite the following:

1.) Neither party was able to find the investigating officer as he vanished after he left his post at the APD. Long story short, the police report would not have been admissible anyways for other reasons per the Judge’s rulings.

2.) Neither side called any experts at trial, and the only witnesses were the Plaintiff, his wife, a neighbor, and treating physicians.

3.) While on the stand, the Defendant stated under oath that he did not have any evidence that the Plaintiff did any wrongdoing, and that he further was not blaming the Plaintiff for anything or disputing any words that the Plaintiff said.


The Standard of Care when a Cesarean Section is Performed in the Delivery of an Infant ~ part 3

baby face for sept 17 blogThis is a continuation of my last blog post titled, “The Standard of Care when a Cesarean Section is Performed in the Delivery of an Infant ~ part 2,” and will be my final blog post on this particular topic this week.

13.) Did the Woman have a Foley Catheter Inserted?

Why is this important? Unlike the emergency situations described in # 12 in my last blog post, when there is a situation that is not an emergency, then, after adequate anesthesia, a Foley Catheter can be inserted to assist with drainage from the bladder during the C-Section and may remain in place for 12-24 hours thereafter.

14.) Were the Patient’s Vital Signs Continuously Monitored During, and Before, the Administration of the Anesthesia?

Why is this important? The Patient’s vital signs such as pulse, oxygen saturation, blood pressure and the like must be monitored during the entire C-Section procedure and must start before the anesthesia is administered.

15.) Did the Patient experience any Intra-Operative Complications such as Hypotension with Bradycardia?

Why is this important? At times, after anesthesia is administered, hypotension that can be severe when bradycardia may occur. If this does happen the commonly used methods to treat or prevent hypotension may include, but are not limited to, pre-loading of fluid, administration of medication, and vasopressor and positioning therapy.

16.) Was the Assistance of a Neonatologist or Pediatrician, or both, called by the Clinician for Assistance?

Why is this important? As I discussed in my blog about the baby who was lacking oxygen prior to the emergency C-Section that resulted in a permanent and severe brain injury, the neonatologist team was called to assist and spent much time in reviving and assisting with the baby to breath. Unfortunately, the lack of oxygen due to the delay in the initial contact of the Dr. to begin the emergency C-Section, according to the Jury, was what caused the permanent and severe brain damage to the fetus.

These Guidelines, however, are not just State guidelines, but International Guidelines relating to pediatric care and neonatal resuscitation and clearly state that a practitioner who is trained appropriately must be present during all C-Section births.


The Standard of Care when a Cesarean Section is Performed in the Delivery of an Infant ~ part 2

This is a continuation of my last blog post titled, “The baby boy blog sept 17Standard of Care when a Cesarean Section is Performed in the Delivery of an Infant ~ part 1.”

6.) Was it Recorded and Known when the Patient had her Prior Meal that was a Full Meal?

Why is this important? If the volume of the patient prior to aspiration is more than or equal to 30 ml, then this could predispose the patient to aspiration during the procedure.

7.) Was an Anesthesiologist Evaluation Performed on the Patient Before the C-Section Procedure?

Why is this important? It is very important that an anesthesiologist evaluate the patient prior to the procedure to determine which anesthesia should be given during the procedure such as a regional anesthetic or a general anesthetic.


The Standard of Care when a Cesarean Section is Performed in the Delivery of an Infant ~ part 1

baby feet blog september 17In my previous post I discussed a case in which it was determined that the standard of care used by the nurse and the midwife in a case that involved an emergency cesarean section in Georgia and it was determined by the jury that the nurse and midwife breached the standard of care causing the infant to be born with severe and permanent brain damage. It was also determined by the jury that the remainder of the medical team, including the doctor who performed the cesarean section and the neonatologist team that cared for the infant following delivery, did not breach the standard of care and acted without negligence in the birth of the child.

The following are some of the important questions that should be asked when determining whether or not there was a deviation in the standard of care when performing a cesarian section, and why these questions are important:

1.) Did the Patient present with Any, or None, of the Following Factors of Risk at the Time of Delivery?

Prior Large for Gestational Age Babies
Shoulder Dystocia 
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus 
Instrumental Delivery
Dysfunctional Labor
Previous Cesarean Section

Why is this important? It is important to evaluate any and all of the Risk Factors to determine if there is an increase in risk for a certain outcome or a disease that could result from that particular outcome.

2.) Were any of the Following Factors Identified and Documented while the Patient was Pregnant: Gestational Diabetes; Hypertension; and/or Anemia?

Why is this important?  Gestational Diabetes, Anemia, and Hypertension are the most common risk factors associated with cesarean deliveries that are often repeat deliveries and the primary method of delivery in patients that exhibit these symptoms and risks of pregnancy and should be identified and documented as early as possible so that the delivery physician and staff are aware of these potential complications that lead to a cesarian delivery.


A Fulton County, Georgia, Jury Awards Plaintiffs $ 3 Million in a Medical Malpractice Case Involving a Birth that Resulted in a Permanent Brain Injury

infant for blog september 10After a nine (9) day intense jury trial in a case where the cause of severe brain damage of an infant at birth was at issue, a Fulton County State Court Jury in Georgia awarded $ 3,000,000.00 to the parents of a baby girl, and the baby girl herself, who was born with a severe brain injury that was allegedly caused by the negligence of two (2) of the seven (7) the Defendants named in the lawsuit.

The facts of the case are that in May of 2007, Plaintiff Alice Sodjago was scheduled to deliver her baby by induction at Henry Medical Center, now known as Piedmont Henry Hospital. The induction began as planned but when there was not much progress in the birth after a couple of hours, it was determined that the baby was fine, that Ms. Sodjago could be released from the hospital and sent home, and was instructed only to return in either four (4) days or if her contractions significantly increased.

The following day, Ms. Sodjago’s contractions did increase so she went back to the hospital.  At the time of her return to the hospital, it was determined that the baby was not fine and was, in fact, in much distress.  At this time, Ms. Sodjago was only dilated two (2) centimeters.

At trial, it was not clear from the evidence whether or not the nurse and midwife communicated with each other clearly that the doctor was to be contacted immediately to perform an emergency C-Section.  The evidence did show, however, that the doctor was not contacted for thirty (30) minutes and, when he did arrive, that he waited another nineteen (19) minutes before beginning the C-Section.

When baby girl Joanna Sodjago was born, she was under severe stress, was not responsive, and was pale blue in color.  Despite many efforts by the neonatal specialist resuscitation team, baby Joanna was diagnosed with a condition whereby the blood vessels from the vital organs of her heart to her lungs did not open adequately enough to provide oxygen to the blood; a condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension.


Georgia Supreme Court Challenges a Medical Malpractice Defense Attorney on his Unusual Reading of the Law Regarding the 9.1 Affidavit Requirement

sign here for blog september 9 2014As I have discussed on my website under Medical Malpractice, in Georgia, in order for a Plaintiff to file a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit the original complaint must comply with the Official Code of Georgia Section 9-11-9.1, more commonly referred to as the 9.1 Affidavit, whereby an Affidavit completed by an Expert in the field must be included, except in limited circumstances which are not at issue in this case, with the Original Complaint when filed.

The rule is in place to make sure that frivolous lawsuits in the field of medical malpractice and other similar cases are not being brought as these cases are very expensive, complicated, and time consuming in nature, and this purpose is not challenged in the case in point.

In the case in point, Gala v. Fisher, No. S14G0919, the issue is whether or not, once the suit is filed, a Plaintiff has the legal right to amend the Plaintiff’s Complaint and preserve the original lawsuit if it is discovered after the initial filing that the 9.1 Affidavit is defective for some reason and, in the case in point, the reason is that the Expert was later shown to be incompetent as an expert in the case at hand.  This is a very important question to be asked and answered since Georgia has set forth very strict requirements of who is and who is not an expert qualified to testify in a case.

Therefore, if the Plaintiff’s affidavit expert is deemed to be inappropriate, or the affidavit is otherwise determined to be defective, and the Plaintiff, upon the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, is not able to cure the defect, then the Plaintiff has basically lost the case before the case has even been tried by the finder of fact.

Subsection (e) of O.C.G.A. Section 9-11-9.1 regarding the Affidavit to Accompany the Charge of Professional Malpractice states in pertinent part that, “If a plaintiff files an affidavit which is allegedly defective, and the defendant to whom it pertains alleges, with specificity, by motion to dismiss filed on or before the close of discovery, that said affidavit is defective, the plaintiff’s complaint shall be subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim.”  The subsection continues to state, however, that the plaintiff may cure the alleged defect by amendment pursuant to Code Section 9-11-15 (§ 9-11-15. Amended and supplemental pleadings) within 30 days of service of the motion alleging that the affidavit is defective.

The statute further states that the trial court may, in the exercise of its discretion, extend the time for filing said amendment or response to the motion, or both, as it shall determine justice requires.  The Defendant in this case attempted to argue, however, that if the original affidavit is defective that the Plaintiff has now lost his/her right to the original claim itself, and that the claim must be dismissed.


A Different Kind of Premises Liability Case as a Woman Sues a Hotel in East Cobb for Dangerous Bed Bug Bites

bed bugs for september 5 blogAs I have discussed on my website, Premises Liability is the duty of the owner or occupier of land or property to keep its premises safe for guests or visitors and, in some cases, even trespassers.  Many times when we think of Premises Liability, Slip and Fall cases come to mind.

As I have discussed in prior blog posts, however, Premises Liability can be anytime in which the owner or occupier of property does not keep its premises safe not just from a slip and fall incident, but also safe in terms of making sure that crime is kept to a minimum as in the Motel 6 case I discussed in my prior blog where a young man was shot and killed on the premises, and the owner of the property knew of the dangerous conditions of the property.

The case I will discuss today is a Premises Liability case of a different nature.

In this case the Plaintiff, Ms. Dashsawn Diaz, spent three (3) days at Crestwood Suites in Marietta, Georgia.  Each day during her stay when she woke up she said that it felt like something had been eating her. She also had scars all over her body.  People would ask her about the scars, but she had no explanation.

Later, the scars became infected on one of her legs that caused her to be hospitalized. During her hospitalization the doctors considered amputating her leg due to the nature of the infection.  Diaz learned that the wounds on her leg were from bed bugs that had bitten her while she was staying at the hotel, and it was the wounds that caused the infection that nearly cost her her leg.


$ 2.8M Verdict in Georgia for Dental Malpractice against Large Dental Firm Coast Dental

dental office for september 4 blogA DeKalb County Georgia State Court jury rendered a $ 2.8 Million Dollar verdict in favor of a Plaintiff against the employer of Dentist Dr. James Cauley of Coast Dental of Georgia. In February, 2008, Haley Buice, Plaintiff, age 33 and a mother with four children, began treatment at Defendant Coast Dental of Georgia and was treated by their employee dentist Dr. Cauley.

It was recommended that the Plaintiff have implant veneers and when the procedure was performed it was not performed to the standard of care that is used in the same or similar circumstances. Furthermore, Defendant Coast Dental did not complete the work when Dr. Cauley left during treatment of Ms. Buice in May of 2009 due to his alleged drug use that is further discussed herein below.

This prompted Ms. Buice to seek treatment with another dentist to remedy the issues left by the Defendant Coast, and for the Plaintiff to investigate further into the allegations of Dr. Cauley’s drug abuse that ultimately led to the Plaintiff to amend her complaint against Defendant Coastal for its negligence in hiring, retaining, and supervising of Dr. Cauley, and, for punitive damages.

As the Plaintiff prepared for trial, it became more and more evident that Dr. Cauley had a history of drug abuse making this case more than just a straightforward case of malpractice dentistry.  For example, the Plaintiff’s additional charges against Coast were substantiated by the fact that Dr. Cauley was hired in 2007 in light of a positive test for Valium during a drug screen performed pre-employment, and an overdose five (5) weeks after his employment of Fentanyl, plus using nitrous oxide that was supposed to be used on patients.

It should be duly noted that Defendant Coast Dental is not a small dental operation and has an excess of 130 dental offices reaching states as far as California including Florida, Georgia, and Nevada.

The Defendant argued during motions in pre-trial that Dr. Cauley’s drug abuse was not material and that it was actually prejudicial to the case and they cited a Georgia 2011 Court of Appeals case Williams v. Booker, 310 Ga. App. 209 where the court reversed a trial court’s decision that evidence of alcohol abuse by a Doctor in a medical malpractice case was admissible. The Defendant further argued that there was no evidence that substantiated that Dr. Cauley was, in fact, abusing the medications when he was treating the Plaintiff, and that the Plaintiff’s injuries may have been caused by pre-existing conditions instead of any wrong doing on Dr. Cauley’s part.


The Top Wrongful Death Verdict in Georgia for 2013

gun for blog august 30The following is the Top Wrongful Death Verdict in Georgia for 2013:

In a lawsuit in DeKalb County State Court a verdict of $ 4,800,000 was awarded where the Plaintiff claimed that the owner of a lot failed to warn of the danger on the lot that ultimately caused the death of her husband from a wound resulting from a gunshot, and the Defendants failed to respond to the Plaintiff’s complaint resulting in a Default Judgement against the Defendants which is very unusual in this type of case.

The case was Elizabeth Whatley-Fenty v. Brandon Marshall and, No. 13A458, and the date of the verdict was November 13, 2013.

The facts as summarized are as follows that on February 24, 2011, Travis Fenty, age 44, the driver of a tow truck, was trying to remove junk cars on a lot on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in Atlanta, GA when he was shot in the chest causing his death. Philmore Reed, age 74, was the man who shot Mr. Fently and Mr. Reed was the previous owner of the lot whom was still on the property due to his refusal to vacate after a foreclosure whereby the property was sold to Defendant Brandon Marshall and Marshall’s investment company.

Plaintiff Elizabeth Whatley-Fenty, who was Travis Fenty’s widow, sued Marshall and for Wrongful Death . The Defendants failed to respond to the Plaintiff’s complaint, which is very unusual in a case of this magnitude, and, therefore, a Default Judgement was entered against the Defendants.