On November 11, 2011, a jury in DeKalb County, attorneys Michael Neff, Dwayne Adams, and Shane Peagler obtained an $8.6 million verdict for our client in her suit against Monitronics – her security alarm monitoring company. The verdict was the largest for a civil rape case in Georgia history.
The tragic story begins on the morning of March 29, 2006. Our client was at work at a local retail store, where she is a supervisor. At 10:30 a.m., an intruder entered her home and set off the burglar alarm. Throughout the day, he moved about the house and repeatedly triggered the alarm’s motion sensors and door alarms.
Each time the security monitoring company received the alarm signal, it either ignored it or chose not to reach our client at her job.
Later, when our client returned home, her alarm sounded. The alarm monitoring company called her home phone. When our client picked up, the operator chose not to tell her that the burglar alarm had been going off all day. The operator also failed to follow the company’s own procedure which was to warn the customer to leave the house or to stay on the line while the customer was inside.
Instead, the call lasted only 37-seconds.
The operator never warned our client that the alarm had gone off at least 8 times. The operator made up a reason why the alarm had been triggered. Our client had no idea that the intruder was hiding in her house or that he had been there all day.
Later that evening, the man emerged from the shadows, kidnapped our client and raped her at knife-point. Nine hours later, she courageously escaped.
In the two years before trial, both Monitronics and its hired expert, Peter Giacalone, repeatedly said that Monitronics had done nothing wrong.
However, during the week-long trial, the jury heard from our security expert. They also heard testimony from mental health experts about our client’s emotional damages, including post traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) from this ordeal.
At the close of trial, the jury found that Montironics failed to exercise ordinary care when it failed to contact our client. The jury also found that Monitronics failed to exercise ordinary care when it finally spoke to her that evening.
As the jury filed out after rendering its $9 million verdict, each of the jurors stopped to hug our client and to offer their support.
Like the jurors in the case, the members of our Firm and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association were moved by the profound courage of our client to stand up to a company and to hold it accountable for its negligence. Our client was selected to receive the 2012 Courageous Pursuit of Justice / Nestlehutt Award for her exceptional bravery.
At the Law Offices of Michael L. Neff, we are tireless in seeking justice for the seriously injured.