You Have to be Worth a Dollar

Plaintiff’s zero verdict, despite Defendant’s negligence per se, reversed both forms basis for favorable resolution.

An initial interlocutory appeal established that an expert must be able to eliminate all other reasonable hypotheses in order to have a sufficient basis for an opinion to establish a product defect. A tenant’s wrongful death at an apartment complex, due to a defective smoke detector, resulted in a two-week jury trial and a verdict on behalf of the plaintiff in the amount of zero. Mathieson Drive Apartments essentially had to admit their negligence per se under various landlord tenant housing ordinances requiring a working smoke detector. However, if the plaintiff gets zero, that is not “winning.” The Georgia Court of Appeals agreed that life had to be worth something. The case was “settled” halfway through the second trial on a de minimis basis.

Sandra Bunch v. Maytag Corporation and Mathieson Drive Apartments, Inc., Fulton County Superior Court Case Number D83745; A95A1948, Court of Appeals of Georgia, 220 Ga.App. 855; 470 S.E.2d 895; 1996 Ga.App. LEXIS 278; 96 Fulton County D. Rep. 1243, March 12, 1996, Decided, Certiorari Applied For. Reconsideration Denied March 28, 1996.

Bunch v. Maytag Corp., A93A1422, A93A1874, A93A1875, Court of Appeals of Georgia, 211 Ga.App. 546; 439 S.E.2d 676; 1993 Ga.App. LEXIS 1555; 93 Fulton County D. Rep. 4387; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P13,824, November 23, 1993, Decided, Reconsideration Denied December 20, 1993. Certiorari Applied For. Petition for Certiorari Denied February 28, 1994, Reported at: 1994 Ga. LEXIS 552.

Counsel for Defendant: Steve Cotter


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