In today’s heated political climate, it’s not unusual for matters of local and even individual justice to suffer. However, a recent truck accident case handled by the attorney team at Fried Rogers Goldberg, including Georgia Fellow Joseph A. Fried, proved that when it comes to Alabama’s court system, justice remains steadfastly blind.
The case concerned a 2013 trucking accident that took place in Cobb County. The plaintiff, a 57-year-old man of Pakistani origin, was driving on Cobb Parkway when a tractor trailer ran a light and struck his vehicle. As a result of the crash, the victim suffered many serious injuries including permanent brain damage.
The firm of Fried Rogers Goldberg is widely recognized as Alabama’s trucking law experts; even so, this case presented several novel aspects for the firm. To begin with, the victim’s identity as part of the Muslim faith could have proved a sticking point for the jury. In addition, the attorneys had to form their arguments around a respectful regard for the family’s belief that the victim would be healed from his injuries. As senior partner Joe Fried told the Daily Report at the time:
“They truly believe…that his future is secure and that at any moment he will revert back to what he was before. Their faith is admirable, and we wanted the jury to respect this faith, but we also wanted them to hear all the evidence about what his life is really going to be like.”
In light of this, the FRG team had to be deferential to the client’s beliefs even while arguing for damages for past and future medical expenses, as well as past and future loss of companionship on behalf of the victim’s wife.
When the case went to trial, the victim already owed $692,000 in past medical bills and was looking at $3.8 million over the remaining duration of his life. Two of three insurers involved in the accident had settled with the victim’s family for $2.5 million, but the FRG team argued that the case was worth $25 million, taking into account not only medical expenses but also the pain and suffering endured by the family, along with the financial impact due to the lost wages over the course of the victim’s life.
In fact, FRG senior partner Michael Goldberg started the trial by presenting the demand for damages right off the bat. “It was the first time I had ever done that in opening statements,” he told the Daily Report, “but it really set the tone by sharing with the jury the value of the case from the very beginning.”
While the defense for Moore Freight Service challenged the amount of damages, they did admit liability. In the end, the Cobb County State Court jury awarded the family $20 million. In Michael Goldberg’s words, this verdict offers “a strong testament to the fairness of the jury system that, even in a conservative venue like Cobb County, people can get a fair shake at trial, regardless of where they come from.”
Joe Fried, of Fried Rogers Goldberg LLC, limits his practice to truck and bus crash cases nationally. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, he has handled cases in over 25 states with recoveries exceeding $400 million. Mr. Fried is currently the Chair of the American Association of Justice Trucking Litigation Group, President of the National Trial Lawyers Trucking Division, and Founder of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable and the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. He has authored books, DVDs and peer reviewed articles on commercial motor vehicle cases and has given more than 200 presentations to lawyer, judge, and law enforcement audiences. He is also on the faculty of the famed Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and is known for his unique approaches to developing and presenting both the technical and compelling human aspects of his cases. He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.