Georgia Verdicts

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Plaintiff wasn’t properly briefed on go-kart safety, per lawsuit

Amount:

$2,000,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Georgia

Venue:

Fulton County

Court:

Fulton County, State Court

Injury Type(s):

head-closed head injury; ankle-fracture, ankle;
other-plate; other-unconsciousness; other-pins/rods/screws; foot/heel-fracture (fracture, talus), foot (fracture, talus);
surgeries/treatment-open reduction; surgeries/treatment-internal fixation

Case Type:

Gross Negligence, Premises Liability – Failure to Warn, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance, Amusement Park/Place of Entertainment

Case Name:

Tanisha Marshall v. AIKG LLC,
No. 16EV000013

Date:

December 11, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Tanisha Marshall (Female, 28 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Mark D. Link;
Link & Smith, PC;
Tucker,
GA,
for
Tanisha Marshall ■ Alexander Hoffspiegel;
Hoffspiegel Law;
Atlanta,
GA,
for
Tanisha Marshall ■ Lloyd W. Hoffspiegel;
Hoffspiegel Law;
Atlanta,
GA,
for
Tanisha Marshall ■ Ashley Dawkins;
Link & Smith, PC;
Tucker,
GA,
for
Tanisha Marshall

Plaintiff Expert(s):

William Avery; Amusement Park Rides; Maitland,
FL called by:
Mark D. Link, Alexander Hoffspiegel, Lloyd W. Hoffspiegel, Ashley Dawkins

Defendant(s):

AIKG LLC

Defense Attorney(s):

Barbara A. Marschalk;
Drew Eckl & Farnham, LLP;
Atlanta,
GA,
for
AIKG LLC ■ Matthew Nanninga;
Drew Eckl & Farnham, LLP;
Atlanta,
GA,
for
AIKG LLC ■ Robert Quinn;
Drew Eckl & Farnham, LLP;
Atlanta,
GA,
for
AIKG LLC

Insurer(s):

James River Insurance Co.

Facts:

On Feb. 10, 2014, plaintiff Tanisha Marshall, 28, an insurance underwriter and aspiring personal trainer, went to Andretti Indoor Karting and Games in Roswell. Marshall got into a go-kart and had driven it one lap around the course when another driver struck her from behind, causing her to veer into an unpadded section of wall in the pit area. Marshall claimed bilateral ankle injuries and a closed head injury. Marshall sued the owner of the amusement ride, AIKG LLC, for ordinary and gross negligence. Marshall alleged AIKG failed to maintain the rides in a reasonably safe condition. Marshall alleged there was no safety briefing before she strapped herself into the go-kart and she was given pedal extenders because her feet could not reach the vehicle’s brake pedals. She also claimed she was not warned there was an unpadded, unprotected section of wall that she could crash into and, had she known this, she would have never gotten into the go-kart. Marshall’s amusement park rides expert opined that the amusement park should have given Marshall a safety briefing. He opined that, although Marshall signed a standard Release and Waiver of Liability, she was not warned of the unprotected section of wall. He also opined that any risks associated with deficiencies in the go-karts and track were not covered by the liability release. Moreover, Marshall alleged that Andretti Indoor Karting and Games destroyed the wrecked go-kart. As a result, the court granted a spoliation sanction against Andretti. The defense argued comparative negligence. The defense argued that Marshall was aware of the risks of riding in a go-kart and had signed the Release and Waiver of Liability. The defense also contended that the unknown driver who struck Marshall’s go-kart was also comparatively negligent. The jury was permitted to consider the liability, if any, of the other go-kart driver for the purpose of apportioning liability.

Injury:

Marshall was rendered unconscious after the accident and was transported by ambulance to a local emergency room. Marshall was diagnosed with a closed head injury and bilateral talus fractures of the ankles. She underwent open reduction with internal fixation, with the placement of plates and screws. Marshall claimed she was unable to walk for three months after the surgery. She claimed residual pain and limitations performing activities of daily living. According to Marshall, she was very physically active prior to the accident, as she was training to become a personal trainer. Marshall claimed $150,000 in medical bills and said she may require future fusion surgery for her left ankle. She sought damages for past and future medicals; past and future pain and suffering; and past and future loss of earning capacity. Marshall’s counsel suggested the jury award $3 million. The defense argued that Marshall made a good recovery from her surgery.

Result:

The jury attributed 64-percent liability to AIKG LLC, 12-percent liability to Marshall and 24-percent liability to the other go-kart driver. The jury’s award of $2 million was reduced to $1,280,000 due to the apportionment of liability.

Actual Award:

$1,280,000

Trial Information:

Judge:

Patsy Porter

Demand:

$600,000

Offer:

$150,000

Trial Length:

2
 days

Trial Deliberations:

4
 hours

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.