Columbus law firm gets $11 million settlement for injured garbage man

A Columbus law firm settled an $11 million personal injury case Monday involving a Ringgold, Ga., garbage collector who lost most of his right leg in a motor vehicle wreck.

Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, a law firm with offices locally and in Atlanta, settled the case on the first day of trial in Gwinnett County State Court. Bert Jessmon, 33, lost his right leg above the knee as the result of the accident that occurred when he was riding a garbage truck in Catoosa County on Jan. 6, 2015.

Jessmon filed suit against W.A. Kendall and Company Inc., James Starks and Greenwich Insurance Company.

“At the time of the collision, Bert worked as a trash collector and rode on the back of a garbage truck,” according to a news release from Butler Wooten & Peak. “The underlying wreck was caused when defendant James Starks, who was driving a W.A. Kendall chipper truck, negligently failed to yield and struck a passenger car that was passing both the chipper truck and the garbage truck on rural Mt. Pisgah Road. After being struck by the W.A. Kendall chipper truck, the passenger car pinned Bert Jessmon between the driver’s side of that car and the rear of the garbage truck, crushing Bert’s legs.”

Jessmon was treated by a passenger.

“An Army combat medic happened upon the scene shortly after the wreck and applied a tourniquet to Bert’s right leg, likely saving his life,” the release stated.

Brandon Peak, lead counsel in the case, said he hated to settle it.

“But at the end of the day, our responsibility is to do what is in the best interest of our client,” he said. “This settlement will ensure that Bert will have all of the medical care he needs for the rest of his life and additional money to compensate him for what he has been through. He deserves every bit of it and this will help him have a better life and future.”

Jessmon of LaFayette, Ga., was represented by Peak, Tedra Cannella, Ramsey Prather and Rory Weeks of Butler Wooten & Peak and Gerald Davidson of Mahaffey Pickens & Tucker, a Lawrenceville, Ga., firm.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams