Win for Injured Sheriff’s Deputy (Thanks to Rapper’s Social Media Posts)
Virginia Beach personal injury attorney Jeffrey Brooke and The Jeff Brooke Team won a default judgment and recently completed collection efforts in an action brought on behalf of a local sheriff's deputy who was injured in the line of duty. Social media posts from the defendant — a rapper in the music industry — played a key role in the case from start to finish.
The case represents successful completion of a personal injury case that posed a number of difficult issues in securing the judgment and recovering compensation.
In November 2017, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, who was working as a sheriff’s deputy in Virginia Beach, was transporting a person who was in the officer’s custody. During the routine transportation, the prisoner abruptly attempted to escape custody.
Physical contact between the deputy and the prisoner occurred during the escape attempt. The deputy suffered severe injuries to his knee, including a dislocated kneecap and torn ligaments. Surgery was necessary to repair the injuries. The deputy missed more than five months of work. Knee replacement surgery may be necessary in the future.
The Jeff Brooke Team agreed to represent the deputy in a personal injury action against the prisoner, even though the chances of recovering compensation seemed remote.
Details of the Personal Injury Lawsuit
The person responsible for the injuries — who became the defendant in the personal injury lawsuit — resides in southeast Virginia and also spends significant time in Atlanta, Georgia, in connection with his work as a rapper in the music industry. After attempts to communicate with him were unsuccessful, The Jeff Brooke Team filed a personal injury action against the defendant in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.
Serving the lawsuit on the defendant proved to be a difficult task. However, by monitoring the defendant’s online and social media postings, The Jeff Brooke Team ascertained that the defendant planned to perform in Virginia Beach at a specific date, place, and time.
A process server attended the event where the defendant was performing. After telling security agents that he was a fan of the defendant’s, he made his way backstage to obtain an autograph, where he served the defendant with the complaint in the lawsuit.
Even after the defendant was served with notice of the lawsuit, he refused to communicate about the action. He did not file responsive pleadings in the court case.
The Jeff Brooke Team filed a motion for default judgment and to establish damages. The plaintiff and counsel appeared in Virginia Beach Circuit Court pursuant to the motion. The judge entered a default judgment for the plaintiff and against the defendant for $60,000 plus interest.
Collection of the Default Judgment
Even after successfully obtaining the default judgment, The Jeff Brooke Team knew that collecting the money from the defendant would be a challenge. However, the Team persisted in efforts to recover the compensation owed to the plaintiff.
By monitoring the defendant’s online and social media postings, counsel discovered several videos in which the defendant emphasized his net worth. In his posts, he mentioned his connections to the Atlanta area and bragged about being a recording artist for a specific record company.
The Jeff Brooke Team retained a business litigation attorney in Atlanta to pursue collecting the money. The Virginia court order was filed in Georgia, but initial collection efforts failed. Eventually, Atlanta counsel filed and served three garnishments to collect the money. One was against the recording company mentioned in the defendant’s online posts. Over several months, the garnishments successfully recovered the full amount of the judgment.
Feature Story in the Virginia Lawyers Weekly
After the case result was reported, the Virginia Lawyers Weekly (a subscription newspaper that reports digests of recent Virginia state and federal court decisions) ran a feature story about the case on July 26, 2018.
Attorney Jeffrey Brooke is quoted in the article:
I’ve been practicing law a fairly long time. This case was by far the most interesting one I’ve taken. ...We weren’t expecting to get very far, but through a lot of persistent digging and monitoring, we got the results we wanted.
The article refers to the case as "a tale of true perseverance and persistence."
The Jeff Brooke Team’s Success
This action serves as an excellent example of just how vigorously attorney Jeffrey Brooke and The Jeff Brooke Team pursue every personal injury case for a client. Although the defendant would not communicate or respond to the lawsuit, the firm persisted and obtained the default judgment against him, thanks to information posted online by the defendant.
Even when it appeared that collection would be difficult, The Jeff Brooke Team found creative ways to ascertain the defendant’s financial worth — and even identify the sources of his income. In this case, the defendant’s own online and social media postings provided most of the information that led to being able to secure compensation for the plaintiff. From there, it was a matter of retaining counsel and using legal process in a different jurisdiction to collect the full amount of the judgment.
Contact Virginia Beach Personal Injury Attorney Jeffrey Brooke
If you suffered a serious injury and someone else is to blame, you should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine what your options are for recovering compensation. Jeffrey Brooke is a trusted, respected Virginia Beach attorney whose practice is dedicated to helping injured victims and their families. At The Jeff Brooke Team, we will always have your and your family’s interests at heart and aggressively pursue your case to get the full compensation you deserve. Contact us by phone at (757) 552-6055 or by using our online contact form.
Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.