A Greene County judge awarded more than $6 million in legal fees and expenses on top of a $22 million verdict to the widow of a Braselton orthodontist killed by a falling tree, according to court documents.
Dr. Adam White, 47, who operated Family Orthodontics, died Sept. 28, 2019, at Durhamtown Off Road Park.
White’s widow, Debra Ann White, sued Durhamtown Off Road Park and its owner as well as Durhamtown Farms, Durhamtown Pro Shop and Georgia Trails and Rentals.
Attorney Render Freeman said a $10 million settlement was offered to the defendants in 2020.
A Greene County jury returned a $22 million verdict April 29 in favor of Debra Ann White.
“The jury determined in their deliberations that our allegations were correct … (which) were the owner of the facility, Mike McCommons, was in the woods on a backhoe doing some work and knocked a tree over,” attorney Render Freeman said. “That tree fell onto the track and struck Adam White as he was going by.”
The defense argued that the tree had already fallen and that White should have been more cautious, Freeman said.
Greene County Superior Court Judge Amanda Petty denied the defendants’ motions for new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict on March 1.
Petty additionally ordered for the defendants to reimburse the plaintiff for $6,424,000 in legal fees and $68,826.40 in litigation expenses.
Freeman said Debra Ann White was pleased with the outcome.
“She’s a very patient person, and she has been patient all along,” he said. “She is going to have to remain patient because of the likely additional delays related to the coming appeal.”
The Times reached out to the Fierman Law Firm representing the defendants for comment.