City of Savannah pays interest on settlement as it weighs appeal - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

City of Savannah pays interest on settlement as it weighs appeal

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Time is money, and for the City of Savannah, 2,000 dollars a day is adding up fast. 

That's what it could cost the City of Savannah. Last week, a jury awarded Shanta Greene 12 million dollars.  Three years ago, a tree limb fell on her pickup truck while she was driving by on Bee Road, pinning her vehicle. She lost a leg and part of her pelvis, plus suffered permanent internal injuries.

The city is considering appealing the decision, but every day they don't pay, they tack another $2,200 dollars to the judgement, according to Greene's attorney, Howard Spiva.

Spiva says the claims of city leaders they will have to make cuts to cover the judgement is "outrageous" despite eliminating liability insurance more than two years ago.

"They have a $30 million dollar emergency fund to draw from," Spiva told WTOC.

He also says two years ago, when he tried to negotiate with the city, and settle for much less than 12 million dollars and turned down, city attorney's told his client they would keep appealing until she "got nothing."

Spiva says new city attorney Brooks Stillwell had a different tone, and said a jury decision would be honored by the city. Last week, a jury awarded Greene 12 million dollars in damages.

"If the city appeals this thing, they are foolish," Spiva said.

Spiva says the city would have to post a 12 million dollar bond, then pay 65,000 dollars a month interest until it's paid on top of a costly court of appeals and Georgia State Supreme Court and pay interest that whole time. Even if the city wins the appeal, he says, they don't win the case.

"It just means the case will end up being retried and we go through the trial all over again," he said.

The judgement the second time could be even more money.

"I promise you, we'll do better the second time. All the evidence we have, the video depositions, the photographs. They can't undo. It will be won by the plaintiffs no matter how many times it's tried," Spiva told WTOC. "We spent nine days in front of the jury. The jury told them to pay. They need to keep their word. They need to honor their judgement and they need to get out their and start fixing our trees."

Spiva says his client has offered to give 500 thousand dollars of her settlement back to the city to hire former park and tree supervisor Don Gardner back and implement a preventative maintenance program, paying him 100 thousand dollars for five years to make sure city trees are safe.

Spiva told WTOC the city will get back to him by September 9th, but by then, they'd have accrued 32 thousand dollars interest, added to the 12 million dollar judgement.

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