$9.7 Million Verdict Against Georgia DOT Attained by Reynolds, Horne & Survant of Macon, GA

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Verdicts against the Georgia Department of Transportation are rare in road maintenance cases, as Mr. Reynolds says, “but seeing cases like this all the way through a trial and verdict is the only way to make sure the State properly maintains the roads upon which we all travel so that we reach our destinations safely.”

$9.7 Million Verdict Reached in Twiggs County.

Last week, the family of Charlie Moore, 75, received a record verdict of $9.7 million from a jury in Jeffersonville, Twiggs County, Georgia. According to the Complaint, Mr. Moore was killed in 2007 when a car driven by Eric Gale Miller, an employee of the Canadian corporation Autolog, went out of control while in the fast lane of I-16 eastbound near milepost 26. Mr. Miller contended that he hydroplaned. Macon attorneys Carl Reynolds and B.J. Survant of the Macon law firm, Reynolds, Horne & Survant represented Mr. Moore’s family.

According to court documents, the evidence established that it was raining at the time of the accident and that Mr. Miller was going too fast for the conditions. The evidence also established that the roadway upon which the accident occurred was flatter than it was supposed to be. According to the complaint, the cross slopes of a road like I-16 are supposed to be a minimum of 1/8" per foot, but the majority of cross slopes in the vicinity of the accident failed to meet this minimum standard. As result, the water did not drain from the roadway, and Mr. Miller encountered an accumulation of water. Together, the water on the road and Mr. Miller’s excessive speed led to the loss of control. After he lost control, Mr. Miller’s car spun and slammed into the rear of the vehicle in which Mr. Moore was a passenger.

Based on the evidence produced during the week-long trial, Reynolds and Survant were able to convince a jury that both Mr. Miller and the Georgia Department of Transportation were responsible for Mr. Moore’s death. In its verdict, the jury apportioned fault to Mr. Miller and GDOT, 25% and 75%, respectively. “Our clients were a wonderful, very deserving family who suffered the loss of a tremendous man, the patriarch of their family,” said Reynolds.

Verdicts against the Georgia Department of Transportation are rare in road maintenance cases, as Mr. Reynolds says, “but seeing cases like this all the way through a trial and verdict is the only way to make sure the State properly maintains the roads upon which we all travel so that we reach our destinations safely.”

Date of accident: September 27, 2007 at approx. 2:00 p.m.

Location of accident: I-16 East between mile markers 26 and 27 in Twiggs County, Georgia.

Plaintiff’s decedent: Charlie Moore, 75, of Forsyth, GA

Driver of host car: Fannie Kemp, Forsyth, GA

Dates of Judgment: 10/07/2016            

Summary of jury finding:
The GA Dept. of Transportation was negligent as follows: in failing to meet generally recognized principles of construction and maintenance of safe roadways, in negligently designing and maintaining a public roadway which was hazardous to the public, in failing to inspect and correct the hazardous road conditions and roadway defects within its control, and in failing to warn the public of the hazardous road conditions.

Judge: Hon. Jon F. Helton, Superior Court of Twiggs County
Def Miller’s attorney: John D. Carey (Macon)
GDOT attorney: Robert Bunner (ATL – GA Dept of Law)
Case #: 2009-V-357

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Tammy Morgan
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