Scott Monge Wins Car Accident Case

The defense says it probably will not appeal a Walton County jury’s $800, 000 awarded to a woman more than six years after she was involved in what initially seemed a relatively minor car wreck in Madison.

Sheila Greene was a 42-year-old employee of the U.S. Forest Services traveling from Monticello to Gainesville on July 8, 2003, when a car driven by Steve Spivey pulled in front of her.

“She hit him doing about 35[mph],” said Eric J. Hertz, one of Greene’s attorneys. “She went to the hospital complaining about her ankle hurting. Then a few weeks later, she went back complaining about lower back pain.”

Over the course of the next three years, Greene underwent chiropractic treatment, epidural injections and, in 2007, surgery to fuse degenerative discs in her back, at which point she had to stop working, he said.  She has since had another surgery to remove some of that hardware.

Scott G. MONGE of MONGE & Associates, who filed suit on behalf of Greene and her husband, Phillip Greene, in 2005, said the costs of the accident and subsequent treatments continued to rise as the years passed.

“When the case first started off, the initial offer [from Spivey’s insurer] was approximately $13,000”, said MONGE. “As the case went on, the client began to have to have additions surgeries… [and] she’s been recommended for another, additional surgery.”

Eventually, he said, the defense offered $100,000 to settle, but “by the time it was offered, our clients’ bills were well in excess of $100,000.”

Spivey admitted liability for causing the wreck, said defense attorney William S. Cowsert of Athens’ Cowsert & Avery, so the only issue for the jury was the amount of damages.

At trial, the Greenes were represented by Hertz and his associate, W. Todd Johnson; Scott Monge; and Eric Hertz’s brother Joshua J. Hertz, who practices in Miami and came up at his brother’s behest to assist in jury selection.

Following a three-day trial before Alcovy Circuit Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn, a Walton County jury took an hour and a half to award Sheila Greene $800,000; on a separate loss of consortium court, the jury awarded Phillip Green nothing.

“It is very nice to see justice obtained in a rural county the same as any other county,” said MONGE, describing the jury as “as a sophisticated, well-educated panel as I’ve seen anywhere.”

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