Groth & Makarenko is proud to announce that the firm is now known as Groth, Makarenko, Kaiser & Eidex.
Partners Paul Groth and Nik Makarenko founded Groth & Makarenko in 2007. For the next decade, the firm earned a well deserved reputation as one of the most experienced civil defense trial firms. As a result of their success, the firm has experienced steady growth and has ultimately become one of the premier civil defense firms the Atlanta Metropolitan area.
In 2018 Partners Jay Eidex and Joseph Kaiser joined the firm bringing their knowledge and trial experience to the firm. Groth, Makarenko, Kaiser & Eidex currently maintains a roster of clients that include some of the largest insurance companies in the United States.
November 23, 2020 – Partner Nik Makarenko and Associate Douglas MacKimm obtained Summary Judgment on behalf of their client in Barrow County Superior Court in a wrongful death claim arising out of a motor vehicle accident. In March 2017 the Defendant was on his way home from work when the other driver pulled in front of him from a stop sign and they collided. This was a serious accident and unfortunately the other driver passed away from her injuries. The Defendant was traveling at or below the posted speed limit in Barrow County on Hog Mountain Road approaching the intersection with Jackson Trail Road when the other driver pulled in front of him from a road to his right. The other driver had a stop sign that dictated she stop before entering the road the Defendant was travelling on.
The Plaintiff, the husband of the deceased driver, filed this wrongful death suit alleging that Mr. Makarenko’s client was the direct and proximate cause of this accident. Plaintiff contended that the Defendant had driven recklessly, failed to keep a proper lookout, was travelling in excess of the posted speed limit and failed to make a timely application of his brakes. The Defendant denied these allegations in his testimony and maintained that he was driving below the speed limit, was not on a cell phone, was watching the road ahead and simply did not have time to avoid the other driver when she pulled in front of his vehicle. Other drivers who witnessed the accident agreed that the deceased driver had not completely stopped at the posted stop sign before entering Hog Mountain Road. There was no evidence that the Defendant was negligent or did anything to cause or contribute to the accident.
Mr. Makarenko moved for summary judgement on behalf of his client arguing that there was no evidence that his client had in any way caused or contributed to this tragic accident. Mr. Makarenko argued that in fact it was the failure of the deceased driver to completely stop or yield before crossing in front of the Defendant that caused this accident. Judge Wayne D. McLocklin of the Superior Court of Barrow County heard oral argument on the motion and later granted summary judgement for the Defendant. Judge McLocklin found that “[a]ll evidence in this case supports the fact that the Defendant was unable to avoid this accident” and that it was the other driver’s actions which “were the sole, direct and proximate cause of this collision.” Accordingly, it was determined that summary judgement was proper.
The case is James Wallace, as next of kin, Tina Wallace v. Oscar Cazarin Fierro.
Superior Court of Barrow County, CAFN: 18-CV-000378-W
Groth & Makarenko announces the addition of Attorney Reece Riden to its growing litigation practice.
Prior to joining Groth & Makarenko, Reece gained experience working for one of the largest insurance defense firms in Georgia. His practice at Groth & Makarenko will focus on auto and premises liability issues.
Groth & Makarenko announces the addition of Attorney Kevin James to its growing litigation practice.
Prior to joining Groth & Makarenko, Kevin practiced in the area of Plaintiff’s personal Injury Law. Kevin has an extensive civil litigation background including first chair jury trial experience.
August 17, 2020 – Partner Nikolai Makarenko and Associate Ashley Vest obtained Summary Judgment on behalf of their client in the State Court of Gwinnett County. In this case, Plaintiff claimed he sustained bodily injuries from a motor vehicle accident that occurred on July 11, 2016. Plaintiff filed his Complaint for damages on June 4, 2018. On September 20, 2019, Plaintiff served Mercury Indemnity Company of Georgia (“Mercury”), alleging he was entitled to underinsured motorist coverage as a resident relative pursuant to an auto policy in which neither he, nor the vehicle he was driving on July 11, 2016, was listed. Mercury had not received notice of the subject motor vehicle accident until August 27, 2019. The Mercury policy Plaintiff referred to provided, as a condition of coverage, that its insured must provide notice of any accident or loss within thirty (30) days of such occurrence.
Based upon the foregoing, Mr. Makarenko and Ms. Vest brought a Motion for Summary Judgment contending Plaintiff had failed to comply with a condition precedent to coverage and Mercury therefore was relieved of having to provide any uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to the Plaintiff. Plaintiff and another putative excess underinsured motorist carrier, as an unnamed party in the case, filed separate responses alleging that Mercury’s policy did not expressly make notice a condition precedent to coverage. Plaintiff further argued that his failure to comply with the notice provision did not prejudice Mercury. Mercury replied, maintaining that the policy very clearly made notice within 30 days of a loss a condition precedent to coverage. The unnamed putative excess underinsured motorist carrier filed a reply arguing that Mercury’s policy language was ambiguous, and Mercury had failed to demonstrate prejudice from Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the notice provision.
Judge Pamela South of the State Court of Gwinnett County agreed that the notice provision was a condition precedent to coverage. But Plaintiff did not provide notice to Mercury until more than three (3) years after the accident or loss. Plaintiff’s failure to timely notify Mercury forfeited Plaintiff’s right to coverage. Further, Plaintiff’s 3-year delay in notifying Mercury was unexcused and unreasonable as a matter of law. Judge South Granted Summary Judgment to Mercury.
The Court’s Order can be viewed here.
The case is Mohmedrafik Shaikh v. Stephen Dorsey
State Court of Gwinnett County, CAFN: 18C-04149-S5
July 27, 2020 – Partner Joseph Kaiser and Associate Ankur Trivedi obtained Summary Judgment on behalf of their client in the State Court of DeKalb County.
In this case, the Plaintiff was a rear seat passenger who alleged that the Defendant caused a collision with the vehicle he occupied when she ran a red light as the driver of his vehicle turned left. Defendant denied liability and alleged the driver of the Plaintiff’s vehicle made an improper left hand turn causing the collision. Defendant then filed a notice to apportion fault to a non party (being the driver of Plaintiff’s vehicle). Plaintiff then moved the Court to add the driver of his vehicle as an additional party defendant.
The driver of the vehicle was subsequently served, did not file an Answer and was in default. At his subsequent deposition, Plaintiff testified that he was a rear seat passenger and was looking down at his phone at the time of the collision. He was not able to testify as to the color of the light controlling the intersection nor was he able to specify any act of negligence on the part of the Defendant from his own observations or knowledge. Defendant provided testimony under oath that her light was green at the time of the accident.
Based upon his testimony, Mr. Kaiser and Trivedi brought a Motion for Summary Judgment alleging that Plaintiff could not meet his burden or show any evidence as to how Defendant was negligent or contributed tot he collision. Plaintiff filed a response alleging that there were statements contained in the police report that could support an allegation that Defendant was negligent. Defendants replied that such statements were inadmissible hearsay, were not evidence and that the Defendant’s testimony as to the traffic light was uncontested by any evidence.
Judge Kimberly Anderson of the State Court of DeKalb County concurred that the statements int he police report were inadmissible hearsay and that there was no evidence to dispute Defendant’s Contentions. Because there was no evidence in the record to dispute Defendant’s sworn testimony and no genuine issue of material fact, Judge Anderson Granted Summary Judgment to the Defendant.
The Court’s Order can be viewed here.
The case is Kuwasi Turner v. Leila Dye & Stedman Vaughn
State Court of DeKalb County, CAFN: 19A72688