$81M Verdict: Law & Moran Attorneys at Law

$81,000,000.00 Jury Verdict

Inadequate Security Results in Multiple Gun Shot Wounds to Navy Veteran Customer During Grocery Store Robbery

Congratulations to Pete Law, Mike Moran and Denise Hoying of the Law & Moran firm in Atlanta Georgia for the recent $81,000,000.00 verdict they obtained on behalf of a Navy veteran who sustained multiple gunshot wounds during a robbery and carjacking at a Kroger store. The gunshot wounds resulted in multiple injuries and necessitated multiple invasive surgeries. The injuries left the victim with multiple permanent injuries including paraplegia.

The Law and Moran team claimed Kroger Company (one of the world’s largest food retailers with fiscal 2018 sales of 121.2B) knew the store was in an area of Atlanta with high crime and that was unsafe. Plaintiff contended that before Plaintiff’s incident, Defendants acknowledged the need to place a dedicated security officer in the parking lot but delayed implementation. Kroger’s internal crime analysis also gave the subject location the highest levels of “crime threat” based on its own internal rating system. Without reasonable justification, Kroger delayed implementation of its own acknowledged need for parking lot security until February 2015, a month after Plaintiff was shot.

Despite the aforementioned high risks, when the parking lot shooting occurred, the only security officer (contracted through a local security company) was at her assigned post at the inside entrance of the store. As Mr. Taylor was exiting his vehicle to enter the store, the assailants forced him to surrender his car keys at gunpoint. They then shot him somewhere between 11 and 14 times. The OnStar security system on the stolen vehicle soon lead officers to the vehicle and the assailants were captured. Two weeks before Plaintiff was shot, a Kroger stocker was approached by a young man (the person who would later shoot Laquan Taylor) in the parking lot, who asked him for money.

Kroger, Western Union, and the local security company were named in the lawsuit. Claims included premises liability and negligence. Western Union was dismissed prior to trial after determining it was neither the owner nor occupier of the premises, had no employees on site, and that Kroger was acting as Western Union’s agent.

Defendants denied liability and blamed the third-party assailants. Defendants asserted Plaintiff was not entitled to recover any damages from Kroger because Kroger breached no duty owed to Plaintiff and did not proximately cause Plaintiff’s claimed damages.

Plaintiff suffered multiple injuries, including paraplegia. Plaintiff was transported via ambulance from the scene to Grady Hospital where he remained for two months. After discharge from Grady, Plaintiff was transferred to the Shepherd Center where he underwent inpatient rehabilitation for two months. After discharge from Shepherd, Plaintiff was transferred to the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida for extended inpatient and outpatient treatment.

The plaintiff’s medical bills at the time of trial were $4,260,077.66. Prior to trial, the highest defense offer was $1 million. The lowest pre-trial offer to settle the case by the plaintiffs was $30 million. During the trial, defense offers to settle reached $12 million, but those amounts were declined.

During closing arguments, Pete Law asked the jury to award over $100 million in damages. After a day-and-a-half of deliberation, the jury awarded $81 million in total damages. The jury attributed 86% of the fault to Kroger and 14% to the two Non-Party shooters so the total award to the plaintiff was $69,660,000.00. $60 million of the award was attributed to “pain and suffering, mental suffering, physical injury, inconvenience, and physical impairment in the past and into the future.” The Court granted Defendant Norred & Associates, Inc.’s motion for directed verdict.

In conversations with the jurors after the trial jurors indicted, “. . . to them, it was a clear case, a strong case of negligence,” and “Kroger had no security in the parking lot, and they knew they should have had it.”

Medical Illustrators from MediVisuals’ Texas and Virginia offices along with their Georgia representative, Charles Boyter collaborated with the trial team at Law & Moran to develop eighteen medical illustrations to highlight the additional surgical trauma the plaintiff had to undergo as a result of the initial injuries