Trey Hawthorne and Bernie Brannan obtained a defense verdict in favor of their client in car accident case involving one vehicle, defending based on theories of guest passenger and assumption of the risk. The Plaintiff and Defendant had gone out the night before the accident to a club in Attalla where they stayed until about 1:00 a.m. The Plaintiff admitted to drinking a substantial amount and claimed the Defendant drank about the same. The Defendant disputed this and testified he only had 2 beers while they were at the club, as he had a paper route for the Birmingham News that he had to run the morning of the accident. After leaving the club, the Defendant drove the Plaintiff and himself to Argo to pick up the newspapers that had to be delivered. The GGH Website Updates October 2017 Page 2 of 4 Defendant claimed to have rolled up and put the newspapers in plastic bags for delivery on his own, while the Plaintiff claimed to have helped him. The two then went out on the paper route. The Plaintiff claimed to have been sitting in the backseat of the Defendant’s car handing him the papers to throw out the window, while the Defendant testified that the Plaintiff was passed out, and that he, the Defendant, was doing everything on his own. Once the route was finished, the Defendant began to drive back to his house. However, not far from his house, the Defendant fell asleep, left the road, and hit a tree. The plaintiff claimed cluster headaches and neck pain as injuries from this accident. No medical bills were introduced into evidence, as the Plaintiff tried the case on pain and suffering. Evidence was offered by the Defendant to show the Plaintiff was relying on the Defendant to get to the club because he did not have a driver’s license at the time of the accident, as it was suspended, and further, that the Plaintiff’s cluster headaches predated the accident. In closing, the Plaintiff asked the jury to return a verdict in his favor in the amount of $45,000 in compensatory damages and $135,000 in punitive damages for a total of $180,000. After deliberating for 20 minutes, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant.
Trey Hawthorne and Bernie Brannan obtained a defense verdict in favor of their client
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