Adam Appel and Kim Ruder defended an apartment complex in a wrongful death catastrophic construction site/premises liability lawsuit involving the tip over of a boom lift carrying two waterproofing contractors. Plaintiffs (in two separate lawsuits) alleged that the apartment complex maintained control of the work site and thus was responsible for ensuring that the work site was safe and that the use of the boom lift was appropriate for the work site. Appel and Ruder successfully obtained summary judgment in proving that the decedents’ employer was responsible to ensure a safe working environment and that the apartment complex had relinquished control to the contractors. Damages were claimed to be in the millions.
Kim Ruder defended a general contractor and its principal in a work site accident involving a fall from the top of a box truck. The plaintiff, while gathering equipment from the roof of a box truck sustained a fall to the ground, sustained significant injuries to his neck. He underwent a cervical fusion surgery at multiple levels and incurred medical expenses in excess of $350,000. Ruder and Appel successfully disposed of the lawsuit at the motions stage. Damages were claimed to exceed $1,000,000.
Adam Appel obtained a directed defense verdict in a commercial automotive litigation case where the defendants admitted liability. The plaintiff claimed $133,000 in medical expenses, and rejected the defendant’s offer of $32,700 on the eve of trial. The court granted the Motion for Directed Verdict based on the plaintiff’s failure to prove that the accident was the proximate cause of his injury.
Adam Appel and Kim Ruder defended a landscape company whose driver caused a three car rear-end accident with his commercial vehicle. The landscape company admitted liability and the case was tried over four and a half days. Plaintiff alleged that she sustained a shoulder injury which led to a recommendation for surgery 23 months after the accident. Prior to surgery, she had received ongoing medical attention from various doctors, including her primary care physician, an orthopedic surgeon and a pain management doctor, during which time she complained of pain in the periscapular area of her right shoulder. After 23 months of unresolved shoulder pain, she went to see another orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed an impingement syndrome in her right shoulder. The treating doctor testified that her surgery was necessitated by the accident. She underwent surgery and claimed $29,000 in medical expenses. In defending the case, Appel and Ruder argued that Plaintiff failed to mitigate her damages by following her doctor’s directions to follow up on a more regular basis and that the impingement syndrome was a new and unrelated problem. Plaintiff asked the jury to award her between $267,000 and $355,000 for past medical expenses and pain and suffering. The jury returned a verdict of $7,103.The case was settled pursuant to a high low agreement.
Adam Appel represented a public entity in an ADA discrimination trial in Federal Court in Augusta, GA (Campbell Peery v. Serenity Behavioral Health). The plaintiff, the former CEO of a mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse center, alleged among other things, that his employer terminated him because of an impairment – alcoholism – in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The eight-member board terminated its CEO while he was on leave seeking in-patient treatment for his alcoholism. The plaintiff presented evidence at trial that he was a “high functioning” alcoholic, but claimed that the board members “regarded him as disabled” under the ADA based on his leave request and that after he requested medical leave for his alcoholism, the board decided to terminate him. While the board did terminate the CEO during his leave, it presented evidence that the termination was for reasons unrelated to the CEO’s alcoholism. The board also presented evidence that it did not regard the CEO as being disabled from his job, but simply that his job performance was putting the center’s funding in jeopardy. Five of the board members testified during the five-day trial. The CEO also sued the public agency for breach of contract, which claim was defended by the agency’s personal counsel. After the close of all evidence, the federal court judge granted the public agency’s Rule 50 Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law on the ADA claim only, which is the only claim Mr. Appel defended at trial.
Adam Appel was successful in defending the warden of a privately operated prison facility. The plaintiff, an inmate, sued the warden, seeking to hold him responsible for conversion of the Plaintiff’s property, which allegedly went missing following his move to the segregation unit. His prized possession: Jordan athletic shoes. The Court granted the Warden’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
Adam Appel was successful in obtaining a defense verdict after a three-day trial in United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, on behalf of his Correctional Officer client in an excessive force and deliberate indifference to an inmate’s serious medical needs case. The plaintiff, an inmate, alleged that three correctional officers used excessive force against him during the intake process resulting in a dislocated shoulder which required surgical repair. The inmate also alleged that the correctional officers denied his request for medical attention after the alleged use of excessive force. The correctional officers denied the inmates claim that they used force against him or that he requested medical attention. The plaintiff did require surgical repair to his shoulder, however, the defendants argued that the plaintiff had a preexisting condition that resulted in a dislocation from the application of minimal force. The parties agreed to a bench trial before Judge Orinda Evans. Judge Evans entered a Verdict for all defendants on July 28, 2010. The case is Willie Waters v. Bennie Parnell, Lt. F.E. Wiley and Durane Carter.
Adam Appel obtained summary judgment on behalf of a company whose alleged agent drove a forklift into the plaintiff. Plaintiff brought a premises liability claim alleging that he was thrown to the ground and sustained a significant knee injury when the alleged employee negligently operated the forklift. The court was persuaded by Adam’s argument that the plaintiff’s presence on the premises was of no benefit to the employer and that the person who operated the forklift was not doing so as an agent of the employer.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the summary judgment that Adam Appel obtained for a physician in a case in which the plaintiff alleged that the physician acted with deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The plaintiff alleged that violation of the Eighth Amendment’s proscription against deliberate indifference on the part of several physicians and other medical professionals caused the death of his brother, a prisoner, who died from a sudden stroke. On summary judgment, attorneys argued that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the physician acted with deliberate indifference to the decedent’s serious medical needs, and also that the physician was entitled to qualified immunity. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for their physician client. Phillip Weathers v. James Lanier, et al., 05-00011-CV-RLV-4.
Adam Appel successfully obtained summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on behalf of the medical coordinator at a private prison facility in a civil rights case. Plaintiff slipped and fell in the prison shower, fracturing a vertebrae. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the medical coordinator was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need by delaying an orthopedic consultation. In ruling in favor of the medical coordinator, the court found that although the medical coordinator was subjectively aware of the plaintiff’s serious medical needs, the care provided was objectively sufficient in response to those needs.