A Hinds County jury awarded a total of $4 million to a Jackson couple who were assaulted and beaten in 2008 in their room at the In Town Suites on I-55 in North Jackson. The case was tried before Judge Tommie Green. Plaintiff’s counsel was Ashley Ogden of Jackson. Defense counsel was Wade Manor and another attorney with Scott, Sullivan Streetman and Fox of Ridgeland. The jury awarded $2 million to each of the two plaintiffs.
I watched a good portion of this trial and there really was no defense. Someone severely beat the two Plaintiffs in their room at the hotel. The former hotel manager testified that he quit because he feared for his life after having a gun put to his head in an earlier robbery. The manager testified that he begged for security. The corporation that owned the hotel would not grant the manager’s requests for armed security, stating that it was not in the hotel’s budget. The manager testified that the hotel netted $700,000 in profit in 2007, which was the year before the assault.
Several police officers testified that there was a major crime problem at the hotel that hotel ownership did not address. The defendant argued that lighting and peep holes in doors was security and that there were inconsistencies in the two plaintiffs’ accounts of what happened. Defense counsel seemed to be suggesting that the plaintiffs knew their attackers and were doing something wrong. But the defendant put on no evidence to support this theory. Defendants can occasionally win cases with suspicion and innuendo rather than hard evidence, but it did not happen this week in Hinds County.