Defense Verdict for DeKalb County Police Department

Taylor v. DeKalb County; State Court of DeKalb County
Civil Action File No. 06A50694-7

Defense Verdict:  December, 2009

The Plaintiff was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle driven by Robert Lamar, traveling north on Clairmont Road. A DeKalb County police officer was driving southbound in a DeKalb County police unit on his way to back-up a fellow officer. At approximately 2:30 a.m., Mr. Lamar attempted to make a left turn into an apartment complex across the southbound lanes of Clairmont and was struck by the police officer. The Plaintiff, who sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury and multiple fractures requiring surgery, sued DeKalb County alleging that the officer was speeding without his blue lights and sirens activated.  The jury returned a defense verdict on December 17, 2009.

Though the police officer testified that he was traveling "around the speed limit," there was expert testimony from both the Plaintiff and defense experts that the police officer may have been traveling three to five miles above the speed limit. This evidence authorized the judge to charge the jury that the police officer was guilty of negligence per se.

Nevertheless, DeKalb County argued successfully that the sole proximate cause of the collision was the negligence of Robert Lamar. Specifically, we argued that Mr. Lamar was impaired from drinking all night, that he failed field sobriety testing, and that he recklessly turned in front of the police officer who had the right of way. The jury found in favor of DeKalb County.