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The first of at least 40 claims brought by victims of the 1996 bombing at Centennial Olympic Park against the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games has settled. The plaintiff, Carletta Ash, who suffered shoulder and nerve damage from shrapnel caused by the bomb, was scheduled to go to trial on May 2 before Fulton County State Court Judge Henry M. Newkirk. Newkirk’s staff attorney, Allyn M. Parsons, confirmed Friday that the Ash case had been removed from the trial calendar and had settled. None of the other plaintiffs has been scheduled for trial, she said. Slappey & Sadd’s James N. Sadd, an Atlanta lawyer representing Ash and 38 other victims, also confirmed that the claim has been resolved. He would not disclose the terms. The other 38 plaintiffs, whose claims are part of the same suit, have not settled, Sadd added. The case is Anderson v. Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, No. 98-VS-142425 (Fult. St. filed July 21, 1998). Meanwhile, Robin N. Loeb of Atlanta’s Garland, Samuel & Loeb, who represents another bombing victim, on Wednesday subpoenaed Eric Robert Rudolph — via one of his lawyers — in a bid to compel the confessed Olympic bomber to testify against ACOG. The plaintiffs in the Olympic bombing suits claim ACOG’s poor security allowed Rudolph to bring his bomb into the park and detonate it; Rudolph’s testimony could bolster their claims. But Loeb conceded that she may be unable to persuade Rudolph to talk. “The traditional hammers … don’t really apply when somebody is already serving a life sentence and has forfeited his future assets,” Loeb said. On April 13, Rudolph pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from three Atlanta-area bombings: the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, which killed 44-year-old Alice Hawthorne and injured more than 100 others; and the 1997 bombings of an abortion clinic and the Otherside Lounge, described in court documents as serving a gay and lesbian clientele. Earlier that same day, Rudolph entered a guilty plea to charges related to the 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala., that killed a police officer and maimed a nurse. The Birmingham lawyer who received Loeb’s subpoena, William M. Bowen Jr., said he didn’t know how his client would respond to the request. “I don’t have a clue what he’s going to do,” said Bowen, who was part of Rudolph’s legal team during the criminal proceedings in Birmingham. Loeb is representing Fallon Stubbs, the daughter of Alice Hawthorne. The suit brought by Stubbs and Hawthorne’s husband, John Hawthorne, will be the next Olympic bombing case to proceed before Newkirk. Gilbert H. Deitch, who represents John Hawthorne, said the family’s suit may come to trial at the end of this year or the beginning of 2006. “Soon as we get discovery done, we’re gong to try the case,” he said. Sadd still has 38 other victims’ claims to try. He has expressed an interest in speaking with Rudolph but said he has not yet served the bomber with a subpoena. ACOG’s lawyer, T. Ryan Mock Jr. of Hawkins & Parnell, did not return two phone messages left at his office seeking comment for this story. THE JURY’S TASK The plaintiffs’ cases took two trips to the Georgia Supreme Court and one to the Georgia Court of Appeals before arriving on Newkirk’s trial calendar. The appellate court opinions essentially had set the stage for the jury in Newkirk’s courtroom to address an unusual question: whether Centennial Olympic Park was a space for recreation or a space for commercial activity. Last year, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that if the jury determines the park was purely recreational, the state Recreational Property Act would immunize ACOG from the suits. If jurors say the park — which featured a food court, an AT&T communications tent, a Swatch store, a sports bar run by Anheuser-Busch, and ACOG’s Olympic souvenir shop — was commercial, then the issue would be whether ACOG provided adequate security. Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games v. Hawthorne, 278 Ga. 116 (2004). In addition to the immunity issue, the jury would have considered liability, compensatory damages and punitive damages. Rudolph’s testimony presumably would be pivotal to the issue of liability because he would be able to say how easy or difficult it was for him to bring explosives into the park.

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