Does venue matter any more?
For years both lawyers and insurance claims professionals assumed that a plaintiff could not win a substantial verdict in certain suburban Atlanta counties, notably Cobb and Gwinnett. Until the past couple of years, I felt the same way.
Last week, there was a verdict for $1,937,500 in Cobb County. The plaintiff was an assistant attorney general who was a passenger on a motorcycle driven by her brother. She had a broken pelvis, 12 days in the hospital with surgery on the pelvis, about $151,000 medical expense, and no wage loss claim. The defendants were a then-16 year old high school student and the teen’s parents who were included under the family purpose car doctrine.
It vaguely reminds me of a $2.3 million verdict I won in rural Gordon County a while back, with somewhat less medical expense but with a trucking defendant.
The point is that it seems that the county a case is in doesn’t make as much difference as it did 10 or 20 years ago. A good case is a good case in most any venue.
Of course, that generality does not factor in the potential for "home cooking" if the defendant is prominent and well liked in the county. That can happen anywhere, depending on the vagaries of local politics.
Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has been listed as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy,. Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.