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Georgia Supreme Court Reinstates $35 Million Verdict in Six Flags Case

Nearly ten years after a brutal attack left Joshua Martin with permanent brain damage, the Supreme Court released an opinion this morning which affirmed Six Flags’ liability and required a limited retrial only on the issue of apportionment.  In so doing, the Supreme Court reinstated the $35 million verdict the Law Office of Michael L. Neff and Deitch and Rogers obtained against Six Flags and four of its employees in November of 2013.

 

The 2013 trial consisted of 34 witnesses over five days.  The Cobb County jury found that Joshua’s damages were $35 million and that Six Flags was 92% at fault.  The jury also found four Six Flags employees each 2% at fault.

 

The Georgia Supreme Court held that Six Flags could not avoid liability just because the beating occurred outside of its property lines because the attack began on Six Flags’ property.  The Court noted, “the evidence [] reflects that Martin’s injuries were the culmination of a continuous string of events that were planned on Six Flags property, were executed at least in part on Six Flags property, and were the result of a failure by Six Flags to exercise ordinary care [. . .] that Six Flags understood and even tried to obscure from its patrons.”

 

The Supreme Court also reversed the Court of Appeals and held that the amount of the verdict was fixed at $35 million and that only a retrial was needed on apportionment to each party.  The Court held that, “where correction of an apportionment error involves only the identification of tortfeasors and assessment of relative shares of fault among them, there is no sound reason to disturb the jury’s findings on liability or its calculation of damages sustained by the plaintiff.”

 

Josh has been represented for nearly ten years by the Law Office of Michael L. Neff (Michael Neff, Susan Cremer, Shane Peagler, and Dwayne Adams) and Deitch and Rogers (Gilbert Deitch and Andy Rogers).

 

Post-judgment and appellate briefing was done by Michael Terry, Naveen Ramachandrappa, and Ben Thorpe of Bondurant, Mixson, and Elmore.

 

For more coverage on the Opinion, click here.

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