Law seems woven into Adam Malone’s DNA. As the grandson of a trial judge and the son of a personal injury trial lawyer, Malone’s desire to practice law began as a child. “From my earliest memories, I’ve always wanted to be a trial lawyer,” says Malone. “My dad and granddaddy inspired me and I wanted to help people the way they did.”
Malone’s dad is none other than Tommy Malone, the famed personal injury attorney who, as a trail blazer in the courtroom, in the early 1980s won the second million-dollar verdict ever returned in the state of Georgia. That case was a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent trucking company for a truck wreck that killed a seven-year-old little girl and resulted in a $1.2 million verdict.
“At the time insurance adjusters didn’t think that children’s lives were worth much because you couldn’t demonstrate any lost earning capacity. Children had no work history to serve as a basis for those types of losses,” says Adam Malone. “The verdict was a clear message being sent by the citizens of the state of Georgia about the value of the lives of little children.”
Like his dad, Malone would go on to make a difference in the lives of many others. After graduating valedictorian from John Marshall Law School in 2000, Malone joined his father’s practice. Malone’s successful verdicts include a $24.5 million verdict that was the largest verdict ever returned in Dougherty County, Georgia (the former being a little over 6 million won by Malone’s father), and the Nestlehutt v. Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery verdict of 1.265 million.
Malone’s success with the Nestlehutt case had a lasting impact for all victims of medical negligence in Georgia. In Nestlehutt v. Atlanta, Malone represented 71-year-old Betty Nestlehutt who was severely disfigured by a cosmetic procedure. Nestlehutt’s doctor destroyed the blood supply to the temple segments of her face and her cheek segments, causing the skin to rot off and die, leaving her with deep, purple, disfiguring scars. As a real estate agent and the face of her business, Nestlehutt was financially impacted by the doctor’s error, as well as emotionally and physically. At the time the case was brought to trial, Georgia legislature had imposed a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Quality legal representation, as well as expensive expert testimony, prohibited individuals victimized by preventable harm to proceed in lawsuits against those who were negligent against them. The Nestlehutt v. Atlanta case was appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, where unanimously the $350,000 cap was overturned as it was deemed in violation of the Seventh Amendment Right to a Jury Trial.
While his father has retired due to a terminal cancer diagnosis, Malone continues to uphold his father as an inspiration. “He’s a really special man and continues to inspire me in so many ways. Even in his retirement as he faces his own battles with cancer, he continues to wake up every day and find someone else to fight for, someone else to help, including me,” says Malone.
“From my earliest memories, I’ve always wanted to be a trial lawyer. My dad and granddaddy inspired me and I wanted to help people the way they did.”
As for the future of Malone Law, the tradition may yet continue in a familial way. Malone’s three children—Maddie, Emilie, and Rosser—have the same curiosity Malone had as a child when he asked his father and grandfather about cases. “Their eyes seem to light up and their faces get bright when they realize they have figured something out on their own about what happened in a case and whether what happened was just an unfortunate and unpreventable accident or whether someone should be held responsible,” says Malone. “I’m very blessed that no matter what they choose to do, I know they will succeed.”
Like his father, Adam Malone will continue to tirelessly pursue justice for those suffering from trucking wrecks, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, medical malpractice, product defects and malfunctions, and airline and plane crashes due to the negligence of others. Whether Adam Malone’s children follow the path taken by their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather remains to be seen. Until then, Malone remains a model of excellence for his children and clients.