Superior Court of Rabun County Jury Awards $1.78 Million to People Injured by Drunk Driver

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A Superior Court of Rabun County, GA, jury has returned a verdict of $1,780,000.00 for a lawsuit arising from a wreck in July, 2010. Personal injury attorneys, Cornelia GA law firm McDonald, Cody and Cook, represented the Plaintiffs in the case, case # 2010-CV-0545-S.

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the verdict was proof that drunk driving will not be tolerated or excused when someone is severely injured by such conduct

After a three-day trial in Rabun County, Georgia, a jury has returned a verdict of $1,780,000.00 and indicated that an additional award of punitive damages should be assessed against a college student who was drinking and driving with the plaintiffs represented by McDonald, Cody, Cook Attorneys at Law. This was reported in “The Clayton Tribune” as well as “The Daily Report.”

Heard in Superior Court of Rabun County, GA, case # 2010-CV-0545-S, the lawsuit arose from a July 18, 2010 wreck in Mountain City, Rabun County, Georgia. Per court documents, the wreck occurred after 20 year old Stanley Bryant spent the weekend drinking heavily at a party at Lake Rabun, which he had attended with some of his college fraternity friends. The party began Friday afternoon and continued throughout the entire weekend. The wreck occurred Sunday afternoon.

Court documents state that Mr. Bryant crashed his father’s BMW into the rear of a minivan occupied by the Gonzalez family. (See attached photo). The Gonzalez family was returning home from church. The force of the collision knocked the Gonzalez van into the oncoming lane of traffic, at which time it was struck head-on by a vehicle driven by Irma Jo Gregory. Mr. Bryant, who was underage, had a .22 blood alcohol content at the time of the wreck. The Gonzalez van was ripped open and the rear seat, with two of the Gonzalez children still strapped in by their seatbelts, was thrown approximately 30 feet out into the highway.

The court documents indicate the Gonzalez family and Irma Jo Gregory sustained injuries in the wreck and their medical bills to date were approximately $200,000. One of the Gonzalez children sustained severe comminuted fractures to the tibia and fibula on both legs. The fractures broke the growth plates in both legs and the child will need two additional surgeries in the future. The growth plate in one leg was permanently damaged, which will cause permanent changes in the length of his leg. The families brought claims against Stanley Bryant seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

After the jury returned the compensatory damages verdict of $1,780,000.00, and indicated it intended to add additional money for punishment in the second phase of the trial, Mr. Bryant’s insurer, State Farm, settled the case for the full amount of their coverage, $1,500,000.00, with no appeals.

The attorneys for the Plaintiffs petitioned to have the Rabun County Clerk of Court, Holly Henry-Perry appointed as Conservator for the minor children. All monies awarded to the minor children will be held and administered by Mrs. Holly-Henry as the Conservator for the minor children.

The Gonzalez family and Mrs. Gregory were represented by Matt Cook, Gerald Cody and Gus McDonald of McDonald, Cody & Cook, LLC, personal injury attorneys, Cornelia, GA. At trial Mr. Cook and Mr. Cody were assisted by a new associate attorney in their office, Natalie Teston. Mr. Cook added “I think the insurer underestimated the willingness of a jury in Rabun County to return a substantial verdict. The people of Rabun County have always been a fair-minded group. And, the verdict was proof that drunk driving will not be tolerated or excused when someone is severely injured by such conduct.”
This verdict is believed to be the largest personal injury verdict in the history of Rabun County. Overcoming the race issue – Plaintiffs were Hispanics – and overcoming the traditionally conservative venue makes this result noteworthy.

For more information about personal injury attorneys, Cornelia GA law firm, McDonald, Cody Cook, LLC, visit at, 383 441 Business Hwy, Cornelia, GA 30531-2186, or call (706) 778-7178.

About McDonald Cody & Cook LLC:
McDonald, Cody & Cook, LLC, is located in Cornelia, Georgia. Personal injury attorneys at the firm handle serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout the state. The attorneys at McDonald, Cody & Cook, LLC, have secured more than $80 million dollars for clients in just the last 6 years, and their lawyers have tried collectively more than 300 jury trials in their career.


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