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Who Paid Up? It's Confidential

IN Multimillion-dollar settlements of separate vehicle crash cases, plaintiff's lawyers are mum on who paid

, Daily Report

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Michael Braun says parties settled for $9.25 million for his client, a 6-year-old boy who was brain-damaged in an I-285 crash. Defendants were identified only as a trucking company and its insurer.
Michael Braun says parties settled for $9.25 million for his client, a 6-year-old boy who was brain-damaged in an I-285 crash. Defendants were identified only as a trucking company and its insurer.

Contentious cases resolved by confidential settlements are nothing new. The Daily Report was skewered during the Atlanta Bar Association's Bard Show last month by a parody headline in the faux "Occasional Report" trumpeting "Two Undisclosed Parties Mediate a Settlement for an Undisclosed Amount."

But two recent settlements turn the usual confidentiality agreement on its head: While the multimillion-dollar settlements are open for discussion, the parties paying for them—and in one case, the identification of the defense counsel, as well—remain on the QT.

In one case, the family of a 6-year-old boy left grievously brain-damaged as the result of a multivehicle accident reached a $9.2 million settlement with a trucking company's insurer.

According to Braun & Ree partner Michael Braun, the incident occurred on an April afternoon in 2012 when a car switched lanes on I-285, moving from the far-right lane to the next one in front of a tractor-trailer.

"The truck rear-ended the car, careened across the highway to the left, and ended up hitting the median wall on the other side," Braun said.

In all, nine vehicles were involved, he said, including a car carrying the 6-year-old, who suffered "significant brain injuries."

There were three passengers in the car, Braun said: the child, his 1-year-old sister, and the boyfriend of the child's mother, who was driving. The driver suffered a herniated disk, and the infant, who was restrained in a car seat, suffered minimal injuries.

Despite the number of vehicles involved in the accident, Braun said, the only legal claims that have so far resulted from the wreck involved those of his clients.

"The rest filed collision claims; there were not a lot of significant injuries," he said.

"I got [the case] within a week of the collision, and filed suit pretty quickly after everyone denied liability," he said.

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