Trial Verdict Reinstated by the Georgia Supreme Court

  • May 31 2017

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously to reinstate a trial verdict obtained by Paul Weathington and Tracy Baker in 2015 on behalf of Resurgens Orthopaedics and one of their surgeons.

In the case, Plaintiff alleged that the surgeon provided inadequate post-surgical care following a back surgery performed in 2009. At trial, Plaintiff attempted to call a witness who was not disclosed during discovery and was not listed on the Pre-Trial Order to testify against the doctor. The trial court excluded the witness, and the jury ruled in favor of the doctor and Resurgens Orthopaedics.

Plaintiff appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, holding that the exclusion of probative evidence was never an appropriate remedy for a discovery violation. Elliott v. Resurgens, P.C., et al., 336 Ga. App. 217 (2016). Weathington McGrew petitioned the Georgia Supreme Court for certiorari, which was granted in September 2016.

On January 9, 2017, Weathington McGrew attorneys Paul Weathington and David Hanson argued in front of the Georgia Supreme Court that exclusion of Plaintiff’s witness was an appropriate remedy for the trial court to exercise because Plaintiff intentionally withheld the witness’s name during discovery. In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Carol Hunstein, the Georgia Supreme Court agreed, reversing the Court of Appeals and reinstating the jury verdict on behalf of the doctor and Resurgens Orthopaedics.

Said Paul Weathington about the decision: “We are happy that the jury’s verdict on behalf our client has been reinstated. Our firm will always defend good medicine, no matter the tactics used by Plaintiff’s counsel or the lengths we have to go to pursue justice for our physicians. Today the Georgia Supreme Court reaffirmed that ‘trial by ambush’ has no place in Georgia, and that although the road may not always be short, our legal system will reach the correct result.”

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