Ga. Supreme Court reinstates $35M award to man beaten at Six Flags

Ga. Supreme Court reinstates $35M award to man beaten at Six Flags

Six Flags. (Photo: AJC)

A young man, who was left brain damaged after a beating at Six Flags in 2007, will be getting a $35 million award after a ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court.

In the high-profile Cobb County case, the high court upheld the finding that the amusement park was liable for the young man’s injuries, but it has reversed that portion of the Georgia Court of Appeals’ decision that threw out the jury’s award and ordered a full retrial because of an error in the apportionment of damages.

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“This case stands for the common sense proposition that a property owner does not escape liability for an attack that begins on its premises simply because the victim moves outside the premises before the attack is completed,” says today’s unanimous opinion, written by Justice Britt Grant. “We now expressly adopt this narrow principle, and hold that although the landowner’s duty is to maintain safety and security within its premises and approaches, liability may arise from a breach of that duty that proximately causes injuries even if the resulting injury ultimately is completed beyond that territorial sphere.”

Joshua Martin, 19 at the time, suffered brain damage and spent seven days in a coma after being punched and kicked by four seasonal employees at the park on July 3, 2007.

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Six years later, a Cobb County jury awarded Martin $35 million in damages -- $32.2 million to be paid by Six Flags and $2.8 million by the four employees who were convicted of the assault.

In 2015, the state appeals court, with all 12 of its judges participating, said it was “constrained” to reverse the jury’s verdict. It said a new trial is necessary because jurors were not presented with all the names of those who may have assaulted Martin and thus were not allowed to properly apportion damages against all those who were responsible.