Court Grants Defendant Directed Verdict in Personal Injury Action

The defendant was granted directed verdict after plaintiff rested her case-in-chief in a personal injury action. In his motion, the defendant argued that the plaintiff had not met her burden of proof in establishing causation of her injuries or reasonableness of the charges incurred.

Before trial, in both the plaintiff’s portion a pre-trial order and amended pre-trial order, the plaintiff memorialized her decision not to have the trial reported and refused to share in the cost of the takedown. The defendant chose to have the proceedings reported and at the commencement of trial, both the court reporter and the trial judge inquired about the takedown, confirmed who was electing to have the trial reported and that plaintiff was not sharing in the cost of having the trial reported.

After defendant’s motion for directed verdict was granted, the plaintiff’s counsel requested that a transcript of the proceeding be produced and agreed to pay for half of the takedown. In light of the Harrington Rule, a bright-line rule stemming from a Supreme Court of Georgia case, the defendant objected to the court producing a copy of the transcript, despite the plaintiff’s counsel’s agreement to share in the cost after trial. The trial court agreed that given the plaintiff’s express refusal in both her pre-trial pleadings and her attorney’s reiteration during the preliminary matters at the commencement of trial, the plaintiff waived her right to access the trial transcript.

The plaintiff appealed the court’s decision to grant the defendant’s motion for directed verdict. However, the court found no error and affirmed the decision as the plaintiff was not entitled to have the trial transcript made available to her after she expressly refused to participate in the takedown of the trial proceedings.

Counsel for Defendant: Melissa Segel and Nelofar Agharahimi

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