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Harris Lowry Manton LLP Secures $35 Million in Wrongful Death Case Against City of Milton

Harris Lowry Manton LLP obtained a $35 million verdict in a lawsuit against the City of Milton for the wrongful death of Joshua Chang, a native son of Canton, GA. Josh was killed in a single-vehicle accident on Batesville Road – an accident that could have been avoided entirely if the City of Milton had maintained its roads in accordance with the law.

Partners Jeffrey R. Harris, Jed D. Manton and Madeline E. McNeeley of Harris Lowry Manton represented the plaintiffs, Josh’s parents, in this case. Other members of the legal team included Christopher M. Simon and Tyler H. Bridgers of The Simon Law Firm and Naveen Ramachandrappa of Bondurant Mixon & Elmore.

About the tragic circumstances around Josh’s death

Josh was salutatorian of Woodstock High School, and was in his senior year at Yale University, which he attended on full scholarship. He had come home to Canton to spend Thanksgiving with his parents. On November 19, 2016, he was traveling through the City of Milton on his way back from some errands in Atlanta. At about 7:05pm, he texted his mother to say he was on his way home.

No one witnessed the deadly accident, which occurred around 7:25pm, but the City of Milton’s own lead police investigator testified that forensic evidence indicated Josh swerved while traveling on Batesville Road (most likely to avoid a deer or other animal) and hit a planter near the entrance of Little River Farms. No drugs nor alcohol were found in his system; he was not using his phone at the time of the crash, nor was he speeding.

Per the court documents, the planter “was constructed of a large commercial or agricultural tire lying on its side, filled with dirt and/or other filler, and with its outer surface encased in stone and concrete. [It] measured approximately 7-8 feet in diameter and 1-2 feet in height.”

(Replica of the planter)

The force of the impact was enough to crack parts of the planter, but the object remained intact. Josh suffered blunt force trauma and an aortic dissection because of the impact; he died from those injuries.

On June 15, 2023, a Fulton County jury returned a $35 million verdict in favor of the Chang family. (Chang v. City of Milton, case number 18EV004442)

This is bittersweet justice. We believe the jury returned the right decision, but our hearts go out to the Chang family. No award will ever make up for this loss. We hope, though, that it will spur towns and cities like the City of Milton into following their own rules and making their roads safe for everyone.

“Josh never wanted to be a martyr for roadside safety,” said Jed D. Manton. “There’s no doubt this case is going to affect how cities across the state work to recognize and remove hazards along the roadways, and therefore save lives.”

Jeffrey R. Harris added, “With all the new cities popping up across the region, what was once farmland is becoming more urbanized. One of the jobs of the new cities is to remove roadside hazards that might have been installed when the area was unincorporated and mostly farmland. When these roads become thoroughfares to shopping areas, like this road in Milton, they become hazardous. In this case, the City of Milton dropped the ball.”

Harris Lowry Manton LLP partner Jed Manton is available for media interviews about the Chang verdict. Please contact him at 404-476-6914 or to schedule an interview.

Harris Lowry Manton LLP fights for justice for people throughout Georgia. We are the only Georgia law firm to secure #1 verdicts in seven different areas of civil liability and injury law. To schedule a free consultation with an injury attorney from Harris Lowry Manton LLP, please call us in Atlanta or Savannah, or fill out our contact form

META: Jeff Harris, Jed Manton, and Molly McNeely secured a $35 million wrongful death verdict against the City of Milton, Contact the firm in Atlanta or Savannah for more information.

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