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Rachel Lary and Amaobi Enyinnia Secure Eleventh Circuit Win for Leading Automaker

March 18, 2024

Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC partners Rachel Lary and Amaobi J. Enyinnia secured a win from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming a lower court’s dismissal of a product liability case in Georgia against a major automotive manufacturer. 

The lawsuit stemmed from an incident in which the plaintiff sustained an eye injury during a 2017 car accident, alleging the vehicle’s glass was defective. The plaintiff sued the automaker four years after the accident in Georgia state court, and Lightfoot removed it to federal court. Plaintiff’s multiple amendments and additions to the complaint were met with strategic opposition from the Lightfoot team, who successfully argued for dismissal on the grounds of an expired statute of limitations.  

The district court’s decision to dismiss the case was challenged on appeal. The plaintiff contended that the district court erred by incorrectly applying Georgia’s discovery tolling rule and requested the appellate court apply Georgia Code § 9-3-99 regarding the tolling of the statute of limitations in tort cases where a related criminal prosecution is possible but has not commenced. However, the Eleventh Circuit’s three-judge panel unanimously upheld the district court’s ruling, affirming the dismissal of the case and finding no error in the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint. 

“It was gratifying to see the Eleventh Circuit affirm the dismissal of this case,” said Lary. “Our unwavering defense of our client at every turn has yielded a significant victory.” 

This success reinforces Lightfoot’s extensive experience in the defense of sophisticated and complex product liability cases for a range of products, including automobiles, consumer goods, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

Lary leads Lightfoot’s product liability team for one of the largest automotive manufacturers, defending it against claims in ten Southeastern states and beyond. Her product liability work also includes defending a Fortune 500 company in high-stakes litigation across the country. She also serves as chair of the firm's Associate Committee.

Enyinnia’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, transportation, personal injury and product liability. In addition, he defends physicians confronting medical malpractice claims. Enyinnia applies his previous experience working in business, government, e-discovery and clinical settings to advance a client’s goals and develop efficient solutions that “move the ball forward.” 

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