Richmond Attorney Scores Sixth Largest Verdict in the State

Case name: Cousins v. Food Lion LLC
Type of case: Personal Injury, slip-and-fall
Court: Gloucester County Circuit Court
Verdict: $5 Million
Attorneys: P. Christopher Guedri, Richmond

Virginia Lawyers Weekly has announced that P. Christopher Guedri of the law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, P.C. tied for the sixth largest verdict in Virginia for 2013. Regarding a premises liability case, a Gloucester County jury awarded Mr. Guedri’s client with a $5 million verdict. The plaintiff in the case was a woman who suffered catastrophic traumatic brain injury due to being knocked down while grocery shopping in a Food Lion in 2006.

This event resulted in the woman becoming disabled, leaving her with an IQ of 69 and making her dependent on 24-hour home care. The injuries completely changed the college-educated plaintiff’s life, who was also gainfully employed prior to the fall.

In a 2009 Gloucester County jury trial, the plaintiff’s bid for recovery fell short. Taken from an in-store camera, the defense brought photos into evidence during the trial. The defense argued that the plaintiff should have noticed the dolly full of merchandise approaching her, although Food Lion did admit the negligence of their employee who was pushing the cart. Finally, the jurors determined that she was at fault for failing to notice the cart.

Arguing that the photos were grainy, failing to prove that she wasn’t keeping a proper lookout; the plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia. After ruling that the surveillance photos should not have been admitted into evidence due to the defense not establishing the accuracy of the time stamps, the plaintiff was granted a second trial.

To testify the time stamp accuracy, the defendants brought in experts for the re-trial. The circuit court ruled that the jury should be allowed to see the photos once again. Plaintiff’s counsel decided to treat the photos as if they were part of his own case, due to being unable from keeping the images out of court.

The second jury trial lasted three days and the plaintiff rejected an offer of $1.25 million before the jury went out.