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Judge Sets New Trial Date After Social Media Posts Jeopardize Verdict
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Plaintiffs’ counsel Mike Rafi and Alex Brown of the Rafi Law Firm secured a $1.5 million verdict for their client in an automotive tort case. However, the celebration was short-lived as Gwinnett County, Georgia State Court Judge Ronda S. Colvin took an unprecedented step and vacated the jury’s decision, ordering a retrial. The reason behind this extraordinary move was a series of social media posts made by Mike Rafi, including controversial content that Judge Colvin believed went beyond the realm of “general public concern.”

After diligently representing their client, the legal team of Mike Rafi and Alex Brown achieved a significant $1.5 million verdict in an automotive tort case. Victory seemed within their grasp, and the plaintiff’s celebration was almost palpable. However, their elation was short-lived when Judge Ronda S. Colvin made the unprecedented decision to set aside the jury’s verdict and schedule a new trial.

The turning point in this legal saga came from social media posts authored by Mike Rafi himself. The posts included attention-grabbing titles like “Three Lies We Tell Jurors” and provided regular updates on the tort case. Judge Colvin raised concerns about the impact these posts could have on the integrity of the judicial process, leading to a careful consideration of competing interests in her decision-making.


Acknowledging the gravity of her decision, Judge Colvin expressed hesitation in overturning the jury’s verdict solely based on the violation of Rule 3.6, which restricts extrajudicial statements that could affect a trial’s outcome. However, she maintained that safeguarding the principles of justice and equity was part of the court’s duty. Balancing the right to a fair trial with the rights of free speech and expression proved challenging for the esteemed judge.

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In her written order spanning six pages, Judge Colvin highlighted her concerns regarding the potential impact of Rafi’s social media videos. The videos contained specific details about the trial, including the upcoming jury trial in Gwinnett County and the defendant’s insurance coverage. Moreover, the posts revealed that the defendant had been arrested at the scene of the accident, which could influence public opinion and compromise a fair trial.

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In her detailed analysis, Judge Colvin emphasized the importance of protecting the integrity of the judicial process. She acknowledged the delicate balance between preserving the right to free speech and ensuring a fair trial for all parties involved. However, she ultimately found that the content and specificity of Rafi’s posts were too prejudicial and could unduly influence potential jurors. As a result, she exercised her judicial discretion and granted the defendant’s motion for a new trial in its entirety.

With the new trial date set, Mike Rafi and his legal team will need to tread carefully. Judge Colvin’s decision sends a clear message that social media postings, particularly those that could potentially impact the outcome of a trial, will not be taken lightly. While individuals have the right to express themselves freely, legal professionals and parties involved in ongoing cases must be vigilant about the content they share online.

The $1.5 million verdict secured by Plaintiffs’ counsel Mike Rafi and Alex Brown appeared to be a major legal triumph. However, the subsequent vacating of the jury’s decision by Judge Ronda S. Colvin due to social media posts has left the legal community in awe. Judge Colvin’s thoughtful consideration of competing interests and her dedication to preserving the integrity of the judicial process highlight the complexities surrounding the intersection of social media, free speech, and fair trials. As the legal community watches the upcoming retrial closely, this case serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of social media in the realm of law and justice.

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