DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - The city of Albany and Albany taxpayers were dealt a heavy-hand this week as Dougherty County jurors awarded a $15.2 million judgment in a wrongful death case.
In it, jurors found the city mostly responsible for a Bibb County man's death at a recording studio that the victim's family believed should have been shut down long before he was murdered.
We know that city leaders met with attorneys first thing morning, mapping out an appeal on a judgment that is nearly equal to the police department's entire annual budget and is believed to be the largest in the city's history.
Albany's city attorney, Nathan Davis, met with WALB just minutes after leaving a meeting to talk about the next steps in a surprising $15.2 million wrongful death judgment and the $10.5 million the city is ordered to pay.
"Overall, we just think there is no legal duty the city breached that can form the basis for the lawsuit," said Davis.
But, the shooting victim's family believes differently, and a jury agreed.
Besides being the prosecutor in the criminal case District Attorney Greg Edwards, along with Davis and other city leaders like Commissioner Jon Howard, were all called as witnesses in the 8-day civil trial inside Dougherty County Superior Court.
'I prosecuted the persons that killed the man that was the subject of the lawsuit those individuals were all convicted of malice murder and felony murder," said Edwards. "It's a lot of speculation about what could have happened, should have happened."
But, bottom line, the city is facing perhaps the largest legal judgment in its history, one that Davis is insistent will be turned over on appeal.
"There is no legal duty that was breached here," said Davis.
The appeal process is expected to lengthy, and will likely run well into 2017.
Virgil Adams, the attorney for the victim's family, says the jury, and the judgment, was correct.