We are proud to support Book ‘Em’s efforts, in partnership with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, to improve childhood literacy rates in Macon-Bibb County!
We are proud to support Book ‘Em’s efforts, in partnership with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, to improve childhood literacy rates in Macon-Bibb County!
Book ‘Em was thrilled to participate in their 3rd “Santa in the Park,” event which is an annual outreach project of the Bibb Sheriff’s Office. Each year the Sheriff’s Office selects a public park to be the site of a pre-Christmas gift-giving event for children who might not otherwise receive any gifts on Christmas day. Every child who attends this annual event receives a brand-new toy or bicycle. Book ‘Em is also there to give at least one brand-new book to each child. From 2015-2017 Book ‘Em has given close to 1,000 books to children who attend Santa in the Park. This year’s event was held at the Buck Melton Community Center on Anthony Road.
The Association of Women Law Students at Mercer University School of Law hosted the inaugural Lauren Giddings 5K yesterday during Mercer’s Homecoming weekend. The race took place at the Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, GA. Powers Law Group was one of the sponsors of this event
All money raised will go towards the Lauren Giddings Scholarship, benefitting a Mercer Law Association of Women Law Students member to go towards bar exam preparation expenses. Currently, the average amount that our graduates spend on bar prep and living expenses the summer after they graduate is over $8,000, and federal loans do not cover even half of that amount. Lauren Giddings was a 2011 Mercer Law School graduate. She was involved throughout the law school, including her membership in the Association of Women Law Students. She is remembered for her passion for giving back, including her work with The Habeas Project. It is an honor for Mercer Law AWLS to have a 5K and scholarship in her memory.
During Bibb County Public School’s Fall Break, Book ‘Em, along with Deputies S. Smith and T. Nelson, gave away more than 100 brand-new books. Books were given to students participating in The Mentor’s Project of Bibb County’s Annual Fall Festival.
Book ‘Em joined the Bibb Sheriff’s Office at a local daycare/Pre-K center for their special day recognizing “Community Helpers.”
The following article is a prime example of why all drivers need to purchase extra uninsured motorist coverage from their auto insurance provider. The driver who caused this accident yesterday was charged with DUI, failure to yield to a stop sign, and driving without insurance. $25K doesn’t go very far if you’re hospitalized.
Every Brookdale Elementary student took home five brand new books Thursday. The giveaway was hosted by nonprofit Book ‘Em in partnership with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department.
Macon, GA — 12/09/2016 — The Lawyers of Distinction is pleased to announce that Jeff Powers of Macon, Georgia, has been certified as a member. The Lawyers of Distinction is recognized as the fastest growing community of distinguished lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to the top 10% of attorneys in the United States. Members are accepted based upon objective evaluation of an attorney’s qualifications, license, reputation, experience, and disciplinary history. Please see our website www.lawyersofdistinction.com for further details concerning membership qualification.
Attorney Jeffrey Powers is a personal injury attorney and workers compensation lawyer practicing in Macon, GA that serves and protects people’s rights.
Atty. Jeff Powers has been practicing law for over 20 years in Macon, GA. Jeff holds a B.S. degree in Psychology from Florida State University(1989) and a J.D. from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University (1995). Upon graduation from Mercer Law, Jeff began work as an Assistant District Attorney in the Macon Judicial Circuit, where he worked from 1995 until 1998.
In 1998, Jeff and his wife, Katie, moved to his hometown, Orlando, FL in order to work with his father, who has a successful law practice. Jeff gained much experience from this and decided that rather than relying on his father’s connections to build a practice, that he would return to Macon and build his own successful practice.
Powers Law Group represented a personal injury client in a jury trial this month in Forsyth County. The insurance company denied responsibility for our client’s injuries. The jury was very conservative. Forsyth County residents are known for being some of the most conservative in the state of Georgia. The law requires that the case be filed the where the defendant lives, not where the accident ocurred. We faced many other challenges during the course of the trial such as these:
Our client continued to work as a hairdresser, not losing time from work. The defense hired a non-practicing neurosurgeon as an expert to testify on their behalf. This expert for the defense testified that the need for our client’s neck surgery was caused by looking up while decorating her Christmas tree seven months after the wreck. Our client’s surgery was 14 months post accident. She returned to work within 6 weeks. The offer to settle before trial was $25,000, and the verdict in favor of our client was for $40,000. While we were pleased with the win for our client, we were also disappointed by the amount the jury awarded to our client, whose medical bills were significantly more than the jury’s award.
Powers Law Group is very proud to be a silver sponsor for The Mentor’s Project of Bibb County’s annual fundraiser, Bowl-a-Thon. This year’s Bowl-a-Thon will take place on Saturday, September 17th at 1:00 pm at the Gold Cup Bowling Center, located at 3720 Pio Nono Avenue, here in Macon. The Mentor’s Project is still in great need of sponsors for this event. Sponsorship levels are as follows:
*Sponsorships of $1,500 and more will have their logo printed on the Bowl-a-Thon t-shirts, banner, and a personal sign.
*Sponsorships of $1,000 and more will have a personal banner 3’ x 11’ and a personal sign
*Sponsorships of $400 and more will receive a sign sized 3’ x 5’
The money raised by Bowl-a-Thon helps to pay for a variety of services that are provided to the more than 300 children served by the Mentor’s Project of Bibb County. This comprehensive mentoring program, in additon to providing quality one on one mentoring to Bibb County Public School students in grades 7-12, also provides wrap-around services. These services include, but are not limited to: teen pregnancy prevention, food pantry, school supplies, school clothing/shoes, providing medical and dental care, rental assistance, healthy lifestyle education, anger management, financial literacy, drug awareness, etiquette classes, college scholarships, HIV/AIDS education/prevention, and a leadership academy. We know of no other organization in our community that has done as much as the Mentor’s Project has for OUR children in Macon-Bibb County. Last year, the Mentor’s Project had a 100% graduation rate. Please consider supporting the phenomenal work that they do by becoming a sponsor of their annual Bowl-a-Thon. Please contact June O’Neal at 478-765-8624 about becoming a sponsor today!
Today in Savannah, Georgia, Atty. Jeff Powers was able to achieve a settlement for a client in a worker’s compensation case. The client had been a faithful employee of the company she worked for in excess of 14 years. Our client wanted to return to work, however, the employer wouldn’t allow her to continue working. We love fighting for our clients.
Powers Law Group is proud to announce that Attorney Adam Beecher has been selected to the 2016 Georgia Rising Star list by Super Lawyers Magazine. This is a distinguished honor as no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in Georgia are selected by this publication to receive this designation, which is awarded on an annual basis. Super Lawyers creates “a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.
Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.” To be eligible for inclusion on the Rising Star list, a candidate must be under 40 years of age and practicing law less than 10 years. We congratulate Adam on this award!
Today Powers Law Group achieved justice for a client who was injured in a car accident. Jeff Powers was victorious in a bench trial, receiving a judgment of more than twice what the insurance company had offered to pay. We never settle for less than what our clients truly deserve. The insurance company tried to limit the amount of money they had to pay to resolve this case. Powers Law Group represents all of their personal injury and workers compensation clients in this same fashion. Insurance companies know that we never settle for less than what our clients truly deserve.
Deborah L. Pierce, an emergency room doctor in Philadelphia, was optimistic when she brought a sex discrimination claim against the medical group that had dismissed her. Respected by colleagues, she said she had a stack of glowing evaluations and evidence that the practice had a pattern of denying women partnerships.
She began to worry, though, once she was blocked from court and forced into private arbitration.
Presiding over the case was not a judge but a corporate lawyer, Vasilios J. Kalogredis, who also handled arbitrations. When Ms. Pierce showed up one day for a hearing, she said she noticed Mr. Kalogredis having a friendly coffee with the head of the medical group she was suing.
Continue reading article from nytimes.com:
Be very careful the next time you sign paperwork when entering the hospital, being seen by a doctor or when placing a loved one in a nursing home. Many of these legal documents people sign daily contain a clause which will deny your right to a trial by jury should something go terribly wrong. Corporations are using binding arbitration to deny justice to victims of gross negligence. This means that an arbitrator – one person, who is usually on the side of the corporation will decide if you are entitled to any compensation for your loss. The right to a trial by jury in this country is being taken away by big business.
General Motors has agreed to pay $900 million to resolve criminal charges for concealing a defective ignition switch linked to at least 169 deaths, federal prosecutors said Thursday in New York.
The agreement calls for two charges—wire fraud and scheming to conceal information from government regulators—to be dropped after three years if the automaker cooperates fully.
However, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara did not rule out the possibility employees could still face charges.
See Related Article: GM Pact Doesn’t Mean Its Legal Woes Are in the Rear-View Mirror
“They let the public down. It’s as simple as that,” Bharara said. “To sum it up, they didn’t tell the truth in the best way that they should have—to the regulators, to the public—about this serious safety issue that risked life and limb.”
Also Thursday, GM announced it that it will spend $575 million to settle the bulk of the civil lawsuits filed over the scandal.
The twin agreements bring to more than $5.3 billion the amount GM has spent on a problem prosecutors say could have been dealt with at a cost of less than a dollar per car. Those expenses include government fines, compensation for victims and the recall and repair of the millions of affected vehicles.
The statement of facts to which the company agreed describes in scathing terms GM’s deceitful and dismissive approach to handling a problem that was evident even before the defective switch went into production in 2002.
The design of the ignition switch was changed by a GM engineer, without any notice, in 2002, even though the supplier said the switch didn’t meet GM’s specifications. That fact was uncovered in April 2013 during an investigation by Marietta attorney Lance Cooper, who was representing Ken and Beth Melton’s lawsuit in the 2010 death of their daughter, Brooke, a nurse. She died on her 29th birthday after her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt went out of control and rolled off a highway, down a bank and into a creek.
On Thursday, Cooper issued a scathing response to the end of the GM criminal case.
“Today’s settlement announcement provides no consolation to the hundreds of families who were devastated by GM’s decade long coverup of the ignition switch defect,” Cooper said in a news release. “When individuals, through their reckless conduct, cause someone to die, they go to jail. When large corporations, such as GM, through their reckless conduct cause hundreds of people to die, they simply pay a fine, write it off as a tax loss, and move on.”
“Speaking on behalf of the families we represent, we had hoped that justice would be served in the criminal investigation of GM,” Cooper said. “Unfortunately, it’s the same old story—if you have enough power and money you can always buy your way out of truly being held accountable for your misdeeds.”
Cooper’s investigation discovered Brooke Melton’s car’s key was turned off, then later that the ignition switch was defective. The Meltons settled their case in 2013, then tried to give back the $5 million payment a year later when they discovered a GM engineer lied in a deposition saying he did not know about the defect. They refiled their lawsuit in 2014, adding allegations of fraud.
Cooper teamed up with Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery to deepen the investigation. But the Meltons settled again in March 2015 after more money was added to their deal from the fund controlled by GM’s mediator, Kenneth Feinberg.
Before the Meltons settled their suit, Cooper had expected their lawsuit to be the first ignition defect case to go to trial against GM. He said Wednesday he has now placed that hope on other cases he is investigating.
“We look forward to our first ignition switch trial against GM when a jury will have the opportunity to hold GM fully accountable for its reprehensible conduct,” Cooper said. He did not identify the case, and said he would make no further comments for the moment.
Beasley Allen founder Jere Beasley issued a statement saying GM was “getting off easy” on the criminal charges despite being fined nearly $1 billion. “In this country, we normally put criminals in jail, but corporations pay huge fines and keep on doing business,” he said. “I am afraid the public doesn’t fully realize that GM—a corporate entity—is guilty of a criminal offense, and because of the conduct of GM officers and employees, at least 124 innocent victims were killed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dropped the ball and GM intentionally covered up for a full decade a known safety defect.”
Consumer advocate Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Automotive Safety, also bitterly criticized the settlement.
“GM killed over 100 people by knowingly putting a defective ignition switch into over 1 million vehicles,” Ditlow said. “Today, thanks to its lobbyists, GM officials walk off scot-free while its customers are 6 feet under.”
Bharara said he understands some victims’ families might be disappointed no individuals were arrested, but he added: “We apply the laws as we find them, not the way we wish they might be.” He also said GM was given credit for cooperating with the investigation, including sharing the results of its in-house probe.
With the settlements, GM is taking a big step toward moving past the scandal, which badly damaged its reputation but led to companywide safety reforms.
Later Thursday, GM chief executive Mary Barra appeared before employees in suburban Detroit and again apologized to the victims of crashes caused by the bad switch.
“We didn’t do our job,” she said. “We accept the penalties handed down today, because that’s what it means to be held accountable.”
As part of GM’s deal with prosecutors, an independent monitor will be appointed to review the automaker’s procedures for handling safety defects.
When GM employees, the media and some customers complained about the switch in 2004 and 2005, the company’s engineers left the switch alone, rejecting a cheap and simple improvement that would have significantly reduced the problem, court papers said.
Court papers said even though the dangers became plain in the spring of 2012, the company did not correct its earlier assurance that the switch posed no safety concern. Instead, Bharara wrote, it concealed the defect from regulators and the public “so that the company could buy time to package, present, explain and manage the issue.”
The wire fraud count pertained to the company’s assurances to customers over the Internet in 2012-13 that its used cars were safe.
Last year, GM recalled 2.6 million older small cars worldwide to replace the faulty switches. Those included the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion.
The faulty switches can unexpectedly slip out of the “run” position to “off” or accessory. That shuts off the engine and disables power-assisted steering, power brakes and the air bags. Some cars ran off the road or collided with other vehicles.
Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration slapped GM with a civil fine of $35 million for failing to notify the government of a safety-related defect within five days of learning about it.
Also last year, GM established a fund to compensate victims. Lawyers administering the fund accepted 124 death claims and 275 injury claims. Families of those who died will get at least $1 million. GM has set aside $625 million to compensate people who accept a settlement with the fund.
Texas attorney Bob Hilliard represented 1,385 plaintiffs with death or injury claims who decided not to seek compensation from the fund. On Thursday, GM said it has agreed to spend part of $575 million to settle those lawsuits, which include 45 deaths.
The money also will be used to settle a shareholder lawsuit that said GM’s actions reduced the value of its stock.
Even with the settlements, GM cannot yet close the books on the scandal. It still faces 454 death and injury cases that have yet to be settled. Six cases have been scheduled for trial, including one set to start in January.
Amid the scandal more than a year ago, GM fired 15 employees, including engineers and lawyers, for failing to act to resolve the switch problem.
The recalls led to other changes at GM. Barra appointed a new safety chief who reports directly to her and added 35 product safety investigators. The company changed its product development process to focus more on safety. And it started a program that encourages employees to speak up if they uncover a safety concern.
GM also reviewed a backlog of safety issues in 2014 and ordered a record 84 recalls covering more than 30 million vehicles, including 27 million in the U.S. So far this year, it has issued 33 recalls covering 2.6 million cars and trucks.
The deal with GM comes a year and a half after Toyota agreed to a $1.2 billion penalty from the Justice Department for withholding information about deadly unintended acceleration in its vehicles.
A Cartersville couple — on a furlough from mission work in Italy — were on their way home when a tractor-trailer crashed into them Thursday night.
Kyra Karr, 30, died at the scene of the wreck. Her two young children and husband were injured when the tractor-trailer pinned their pickup truck against a guard rail, trapping the family inside, according to police in Bartow County.
The children, ages 2 and 4, were both in stable condition Friday at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Reid Karr was in stable condition at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, according to police.
Kyra Karr was a graduate of the University of Georgia and grew up attending Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville, according to IMB, the International Mission Board. The family, appointed as Southern Baptist missionaries in 2009, were about to start their third term of service in Italy after a brief assignment in the United States, according to IMB.
Investigators believe the tractor-trailer driver, identified Friday as Ivan Delgado, was outside of his vehicle conducting a safety inspection when it started to roll, Emerson police told Channel 2 Action News.
Delgado reportedly parked his tractor-trailer at a chemical plant in the 300 block of Joe Frank Harris Parkway or Highway 41 in Emerson — a town near Cartersville. Employees told police the man was acting erratic before the incident happened. Police said Delgado was under the influence of a mind-altering substance at the time of the wreck.
Continue reading article from AJC.com:
This tragic accident that took the life of a young mother, leaving her two children and husband injured also, was completely preventable. The gross negligence of the out-of-state driver in not deploying his parking brake while parked on a hill, caused the truck to careen down the roadway and into the path of this innocent family. The truck driver, according to witnesses was behaving very erratically before the accident occurred. It is likely that he was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. There need to be serious consequences, not only for the drivers whose recklessness causes accidents such as these, but also for the transport companies who avoid their responsibility for liability in these accidents by hiring drivers who are “independent contractors.” No amount of money will make up for the loss of this wife and mother to her family, however, the only way big trucking companies are going to improve their hiring and safety practices is by punishing them monetarily. Sadly, money is the primary motivator for these big transport companies. We, at Powers Law Group, have helped many victims of tractor-trailer accidents. These cases are highly complex and require an attorney who is familiar with all angles of the law regarding tractor-trailer accident litigation. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, call Powers Law Group for a free consultation today.
BIBB COUNTY, Ga.– Wednesday 19-year-old Grant Hoffman pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and vehicular homicide in Bibb County Superior Court.
Investigators said Hoffman drove more than 40 miles per hour over the speed limit, lost control of his car, and killed his girlfriend Abigail Hinson, 17, on Zebulon Road in July 2014.
Judge Howard Simms sentenced Hoffman to seven years probation.
As a condition of his sentence, he will complete a psychiatric program, family violence program, and complete a drug and alcohol assessment.
Prosecutor David Cooke said Hoffman is not allowed to have any driving violations.
Cooke recommended 90 to 180 days in jail, but Hinson’s family asked that Hoffman not receive jail time.
“I’m never going to fault a judge for following the wishes of a victim’s family and I understand why he did it. We recommended jail but I understand why he did that. He wanted to follow the wishes of the parents of the victim”, said Cooke.
Grant Hoffman is the son of Mercer Basketball Coach Bob Hoffman.
written by Noelle Kachinsky
Story Published on WGXA.TV
For the second time in less than one month, five innocent lives were lost on Georgia’s Interstate 16 when the driver of a tractor-trailer failed to stop — or even apply the brakes — before slamming into helpless drivers trapped in standstill traffic in front of them. These tragic crashes occurred just miles apart and have eerie similarities that highlight one very stark reality: lives are being lost at an alarming rate due to the recklessness, carelessness or otherwise lack of awareness by tractor-trailer drivers in Georgia and across the nation, and we as a country are not doing enough to change that.
For years now, highway safety advocates have called on Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to address the disturbing number of commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries across the country. And, while incremental progress has been made in certain areas, there are still many options readily available that would immediately and significantly make our highways safer for everyone.
Already among the top priorities of highway safety advocates, it is universally agreed upon that requiring the installation and use of forward collision avoidance and mitigation systems and speed governors on all tractor-trailers would reduce the number and severity of truck crashes on our highways and, most importantly, save lives. Here’s how these low-cost and easily implemented systems work:
Forward Collision Avoidance Systems: This technology, which works by alerting the driver and taking over the brakes and engine of the tractor-trailer when an imminent collision is anticipated, is already fully developed and comes as a standard feature on most new automobiles. It is estimated that it would cost less than $500 per vehicle to retrofit current tractor-trailers to meet this standard. On average, according to NHTSA, two to three rear-end collisions involving tractor-trailers occur somewhere in the U.S. every hour.
Speed Governors: Every tractor-trailer manufactured since 1992 comes from the factory with a speed governor installed as standard equipment, which works by setting a predetermined speed limit that the vehicle cannot exceed. Unfortunately, many truck companies and individual truckers opt not to use them, choosing instead to put profits ahead of safety by racing the clock and risking countless lives in the process. However, the companies that voluntarily require the use of speed governors in their trucks report that, in addition to being safer on the roads, their tractor-trailers also are more profitable due to saved fuel, last longer because of the reduced wear-and-tear on the trucks and have lower liability costs as a result of the reduction in the number and severity of crashes.
The numbers don’t lie. Georgia is currently among the top five states in the U.S. in truck-related fatalities, and it is estimated by the U.S. Department of Transportation that there are nearly 100,000 injuries and 4,000 deaths nationwide each year as a result of tractor-trailer crashes.
How many more lives must be lost as a result of the under-regulated tractor-trailers on American highways before our leaders get serious about holding the trucking industry to the highest standards of safety? It is the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association’s top priority to save lives, and I am confident that requiring the use of forward collision avoidance systems and speed governors on all tractor-trailers would be counted among the most significant safety improvements to our highways in American history.
Written by: Darren Penn
Darren Penn serves as president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. He is a partner with the law firm Harris Penn Lowry LLP in Atlanta and Savannah.
Source article from Macon.com
What a tragedy to those families who lost their children in South Georgia on I-16. Unfortunately, the trucking company only has $1 million in insurance coverage. None of those families will be fully compensated for the horrific accident.
First he was assaulted for wearing the wrong team’s clothes. Then he was sucker-punched by the insurance system.
Dave Stow, 71, strains to push the wheelchair carrying his 250-pound son, Bryan, up a series of ramps and into the basement of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Capitola, Calif., for its Friday fish fry. Bryan Stow is greeted by ladies who kiss him, men who hug him, and a 103-year-old woman who grabs his hand and asks if he is walking yet.
Four years ago, Bryan Stow was a strapping paramedic who spent his days off biking with his son and daughter. That was before March 31, 2011, when he and three friends made the mistake of wearing San Francisco Giants garb to an Opening Day game against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. They were harassed and threatened in the stands. Afterwards, two Dodgers fans beat Stow so savagely in a parking lot that doctors had to induce a coma to save him. He was hospitalized for seven months.
The damage to Stow, 46, remains unmistakable. A scar runs from the left side of his forehead to the back of his head. On the right side, a shunt used to drain fluid from his brain protrudes from his skull. The thick black hair he once fussed over is now patchy and thin. Special stockings on his legs prevent life-threatening blood clots.
The beating of Stow drew national attention to sports hooliganism. It’s also brought to light a virtually unknown aspect of the legal system that cuts compensation to victims. In effect, Stow was sucker-punched twice: first by his assailant and then by his health insurer.
Read Full Article: How an Insurer Is Taking Money From the Fan Beaten at Dodger Stadium
Congratulations to Jeff Powers and Adam Beecher for receiving a $375,000 jury verdict in Bibb Superior this afternoon!The plaintiff was a 69 year old man who had a “train wreck” of a back (2 prior surgeries) and was on disability when the 2011 wreck occurred. This information was presented to the jury at the start by Powers and Beecher, and they let every medical record go into evidence.The plaintiff’s vehicle was hit by a sales-rep for Source Care Management, when she ran a stop sign in Dublin while checking her navigation system.The medical costs were around $170,000 (including the cost of a lumbar discectomy and fusion), and there were no lost wages.The final offer at mediation was $75,000. Wallace Miller (representing Source Care) and Bill Shelton (for the driver) defended the case, which was before Judge Ennis.
The defense argued the injury was preexisting and that the defendants were not responsible for surgery due to the condition of his back.
In closings, Jeff used a timeline to display the fact that their client had no treatment for back issues in the 10 years before the 2011 wreck, and deposition clips were played of the plaintiff’s treating physician and of the defense’s expert physician, both of which were particularly compelling.
It was obvious to anyone in the courtroom that Adam and Jeff believed in their client, and their preparation and presentation was outstanding. I look forward to hearing more of the details from them both. I understand it was a battle up to the very end!
Mr. Curtis Isaac was one of 12 children born to two hardworking parents who were sharecroppers in Dublin, Ga. He dropped out of the 8th grade to help his parents work on the land they lived on which consisted of picking cotton, soybeans and tobacco crops. After several years of living with his family he went to work in Detroit for Ford Motor Co and then came back to Dublin to work for a construction company. In 1967, he began working for Roche Farm & Garden doing heavy manual labor. He worked there for 32 years until severe lower back pain at L4/5 levels forced him to quit. He filed a worker’s compensation case against his employer for a fictional date of injury. He retired from Roche in 1999 and had a microdiscectomy and then another in 2001 at the same level. The SSA determined him disabled because of his back problems in 1999. Having worked his whole life, he didn’t like not working so he worked odd jobs with his brother-in-law, such as raking pinestraw, cutting grass. He also worked as a helper for his brother-in-law’s masonry business. Mr. Isaac never earned much at these odd jobs, and we didn’t ask for any lost wages since he was getting SSDI.
On September 12, 2011 Mr. Isaac was injured in a car accident. At the time of the accident, he was 65 yrs old, driving to see a friend in downtown Dublin. The defendant was an employee of Source Care who was driving her personal car. She was traveling to Hawkinsville and was looking at her GPS. She didn’t see the stop sign and ran into Mr. Isaac. They admitted fault for causing the wreck. The driver was very nice and made a great impression. I crossed her for about 3 minutes.
The paramedics who treated Mr. Isaac at the accident scene and took him to the hospital noted that he complained of back pain that day. After the wreck, most of the treatment Mr. Isaac had was for his neck and shoulders. It was 7 months later when his lower back began hurting again. That’s when Dr. Pollydore ordered a lumbar MRI. Defense attorney used a fax cover sheet from Dr. Stefanis’ office that said patient was not surgical 3 months after wreck. Dr. Stefanis, however, had never examined Mr. Isaac. Pollydore recommended injections and Curtis returned to Dublin to see Dr. Hardmann, who began giving him these 1 yr after the wreck. This went on for another year and then Hardmann sent him to Dr. Holliday in Feb. 2014 when he was finally worked up surgically. In April 2014 he had a fusion at L4/5 which was the same level that was operated on in 1999 and 2001. We agreed to tender all the medical records to the jury.
Judge Ennis allowed the evidence of him being on SSDI because Dr. Holliday testified he suffered a 23% impairment from the fusion at L4/5. I told the jury in voir dire, opening, and closing that Mr. Isaac was on disability, but that he didn’t deserve this “sentence of pain/surgery given to him by the Defendants.” Dr. Holliday did a great job causally linking the surgery to the wreck, but under cross exam he began to criticize President Obama. We filed a MIL to keep out his comments but somehow the statement, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat and I don’t agree with anything Pres. Obama does….” came out during trial. In his closing, the defense counsel reminded the jury of this. He said, ” which doctor did you like better – Gorum or Holliday? And why was Dr. Holliday so ornery during the deposition? You heard those comments he made about President Obama.” I said that it doesn’t matter who the doctor votes for for President – that’s what is great about our country – we can vote for anyone we want. You are here to decide the harm done to Mr. Isaac, not what opinion a doctor has of the President or his policies.
We had a pretrial conference and there was some preliminary discussion that we were going to be prevented from telling jury she was working when the wreck happened. Fortunately, after filing a brief in response to the Defendant’s motion in limine, the Court went our way and allowed the testimony.
Defendants hired Dr. Michael Gorum in December 2014, who testified that he agreed surgery was necessary but the reason he had it was due to DDD and not trauma. He said our client had pain from wreck but his foot drop and need for surgery was anatomically caused by a “glacial change in his back from years of hard work, (cigarette smoking) and him being overweight.” They then redeposed him one week before trial to show him the films from 2001 which the doctor said “it was the biggest herniation in Mr. Isaac’s back that he’s seen in 25 yrs of being a neurosurgeon.” Gorum also said that his vertebrae was bone on bone and there were osteophytes growing in his spine which is why Dr. Holliday operated.
Defendants argued that this was a very complicated medical case with a bunch of long words and confusing testimony. I said it is not complicated. He was not treating for back pain for 10 years after he had the second microdiscectomy until they crashed into him. If was in such dire straights where are the medical records showing that his back hurt? People go to the doctor if they are in pain. They don’t go get their DDD checked if it is asymptomatic. People go see their doctor if it’s a routine physical, an OB GYN appt, or the dentist.
We are so humbled by and appreciative of your nice comments. I have known Mr. Isaac for over 14 years and it was a true honor to represent such a wonderful and deserving person. We mediated the case with Tommy Greer in November and, after many hours, it went nowhere. It seemed we were mediating two different cases. Adam Beecher did an incredible job with doing a lot of the work and helping me prepare. He did a great job of the client’s direct and redirect of Curtis and the character witness. We interviewed more character witnesses but they were not very strong. I am grateful for advice and help from Jarome Gautreaux, Rick Sizemore, Laura Hinson, and finally my neighbor, Charlie Cork who assisted us with the motion in limine.