Randy Edwards, John Sherrod, & Paul Piland | Johns v. Suzuki Motor Corp. | $12.5 million verdict


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This week, your hosts Steve Lowry and Yvonne Godfrey interview Randy Edwards and Paul Piland of Cochran Edwards (https://www.cochranedwardslaw.com/) & John Sherrod of Sherrod Bernard (https://www.sherrodandbernard.com/).

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Episode Details:

Accomplished trial lawyer and former NFL defensive lineman Randy Edwards of Cochran Edwards, personal injury attorney John Sherrod of Sherrod Bernard, and experienced litigator Paul Piland, also of Cochran Edwards, explain how they strategically represented Adrian Johns, a motorcyclist who was catastrophically injured due to a brake defect concealed by manufacturer Suzuki Motor Corp. In August 2013, Adrian, an experienced rider and U.S. Air Force Special Ops veteran, was thrown off his 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000 when his front brakes failed to work on an Austell, Georgia roadway. As a result, Adrian shattered his back and permanently damaged his spinal cord, requiring surgery and leading to irreversible motor problems as well as sensory deficits. As early as December 2012, Suzuki Motor Corp. knew riders were in danger due to front brake issues and failed to warn consumers like Adrian until nearly a year later in an effort to maintain sales during peak season. In spite of Suzuki's attempts to blame Adrian's injuries on his own reckless driving or gravel on the roadway, a Douglas County, Georgia jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding $10,500,000 in compensatory damages to Adrian and $2,000,000 to his wife Gwen. This was the fifth-largest motorcycle accident verdict in the U.S. in 2018.

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Guest Bios:

Randy Edwards:

Randy is an “AV” rated lawyer by Martindale Hubbell and has been practicing law for over 25 years. He spent the first half of his career at two of Atlanta’s premier law firms, Kilpatrick Stockton (now Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton) where he was a partner for 8 years, and Smith Currie & Hancock where he was an associate for 4 years.

In 2009, he opted for lower overhead and a shorter commute and formed Cochran & Edwards with his childhood friend and neighbor, Scott Cochran. He is licensed in both Georgia and Alabama. As a former NFL defensive lineman, Randy brings a “unique” attitude to the courtroom.

Randy is a trial lawyer and primarily handles the following types of cases:

Business Litigation

With a master’s degree in finance, Randy has unique experience with business cases involving complex damage models. He has handled a wide variety of cases involving unfair competition, “business divorces”, trade secrets, patents, failed business acquisitions, franchise disputes, non-competition agreements, construction disputes (representing contractors, suppliers and owners).


Many types of business disputes may fall under the Georgia or Federal “RICO” statutes (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations), depending on exactly what the defendant did, including: larceny, embezzlement and theft, theft of labor or services, mail and wire fraud, health care fraud and various investment scams. Randy has experience on both sides and has obtained several six and seven figure RICO judgments and settlements.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

Randy has extensive experience with serious personal injury and death cases involving cars, trucks and motorcycles, products liability, road construction, particularly cases against the Georgia Department of Transportation and its contractors, and failed medical devices

Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith

Randy started his career defending insurance coverage in bad faith cases. He knows how insurance companies approach cases, and where they bury the skeletons when they blow coverage. For over ten years now, Randy has exclusively represented policy holders in disputes with their insurers.

Randy was a 4-year letterman and 3-year starter as a defensive lineman for the University of Alabama where he played for legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, and was named a permanent captain by his Alabama teammates. Randy went on to play four years for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL. He was primarily a “nickel” pass-rusher for the Seahawks, with his best year being 1985 when he had 10.5 quarterback sacks.

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John Sherrod

Few lawyers in Douglas County and West Georgia can match John Sherrod’s experience and achievements.

He has been representing injured plaintiffs and their families for some 33 years, attaining numerous seven- and eight-figure resolutions on their behalf.

A Georgia native who was born and raised in Marietta, John attended the University of Georgia, graduating cum laude in 1984. During his college years, he became friends with future law partner Ken Bernard, and the two students made plans to go into law and perhaps one day create their own law firm.

After college, John immediately enrolled in Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, where he would graduate at the top of his class in 1987. During law school, he clerked for an insurance-defense law firm and then joined that firm as an attorney after receiving his J.D.

But after a couple of years, John was having second thoughts about the type of law he was practicing.

“I felt like I was representing these faceless corporations that were motivated by greed, and I wanted to help the little guy,” he recalls. “That’s why I moved into the direction of where I still am today.”

He joined a plaintiff’s personal injury law firm in Western Georgia, a move that provided him much greater personal and professional satisfaction. During this time, his old university friend Ken Bernard was finishing his service as a military lawyer for the U.S. Marines in California. He had a law degree from the University of Georgia and was preparing to begin his career as a civilian attorney. They talked on the phone about their shared vision, and in 1992, when Bernard concluded his active duty, the law firm of Sherrod & Bernard was born.

“My vision was for us to get back to our roots,” John says. “We were both fairly local guys — Ken grew up here and I’m from the next county over — and represent the people we grew up with, our friends and family and neighbors, and give them effective representation that they don’t have to go to Atlanta or somewhere else to get. They can get it right here in Douglas County.”

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Paul Piland

Paul is an experienced litigator and trial lawyer. Paul focuses his practice on complex business and commercial litigation. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts as well as in arbitration proceedings. While representing plaintiffs, Paul has played an integral role in multiple jury trials resulting in verdicts of over $10 million.


Vermont Law School, J.D. (2007)

Auburn University, B.A. (2004) cum laude

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Free Resources:

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 1

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 2

145 episodes