Macon County Chronicle readers may recall a story published in July of this year, regarding 41-year-old Deborah Brandon, the victim of a gunshot wound to the back that nearly ended her life on July 23rd near the Oak Grove Community in Clay County.
According to a lawsuit recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee Northeastern Division, Brandon is now suing her alleged attacker 52-year old Danny Lynn Ford, for compensatory and punitive damages (in an amount established at trial) for her medical expenses, which exceed $75,000, loss of wages, property damage, and severe physical, mental and emotional injury, suffering and pain.Ford, who was arrested and charged with Reckless Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Reckless Endangerment with a Deadly Weapon for attacking and shooting Brandon, was released on bail (set at $150,000) the same night of his arrest, and the case has yet to be heard by a judge due to continuations requested by Ford’s attorney. The current date set for his preliminary hearing is December 16th.
The bullet that entered Brandon’s body, came from Ford’s handgun, went through the back of the driver’s seat, entered Brandon’s back, went through her chest cavity and damaged internal organs, causing serious bodily injury and lodging in her breast.
As a result of her injuries, Brandon claims in the lawsuit she has been unable to engage in normal activities such as caring for herself, maintaining her farm and working.
Unable to pay the mounding medical bills that resulted from being shot, Brandon has not had some of the medical care recommended to her by doctors – including the removal of the bullet and emotional counseling – because she cannot afford it.
Other compensatory damages Brandon’s Attorney John Harris hopes to be awarded by the court concern her Jeep, which has sustained bullet holes, blood stains and exposure to the weather while it has been in storage as evidence for law enforcement. Currently it remains in police custody as evidence related to the criminal proceedings.
The ‘Prayer for Relief’ included in the lawsuit asks that: 1. Ford be required to answer the complaint within the time required by law, 2. The Court enter a judgment against Ford for compensatory damages to be established at trial but in no event less than $1,000,000, 3. The Court enter a judgment against Ford for punitive damages to be established at trial, 4. That Brandon be awarded her costs in bringing the action, 5. That this matter be tried before a jury and that 6. Any other and further relief that the court considers proper.
“This case is really straight forward,” said Harris. “This lady was a victim of Mr. Ford’s actions that resulted in a tremendous amount of medical bills that she is unable to pay. That all results from the fact that he had a gun, the gun was discharged and bullet caused serious damage to the victim. As she was shot in the back, this clearly wasn’t in self defense.”
Also included in the lawsuit is Brandon’s account of the events that night that led up to the shooting and the life-threatening injuries that required her to be airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, and stay in the trauma unit for several days, undergoing surgical and medical management.
Brandon claims that she left the home of her boyfriend Bo Smith, an employee of Ford’s, in her Jeep Wrangler that evening and within a few minutes of leaving, turned around to drive back to that location. As she was driving, Brandon states Ford pulled up behind her in a truck, flashed his lights and motioned for her to stop.
Recognizing Ford, she then pulled to the side of the road and Ford approached the side of the Jeep, verbally assaulted her and grabbed her by the hair, slamming her into the Jeep.
According to her statement, Brandon was able to drive away from her attacker, driving towards her boyfriend’s home when she heard a gunshot and sensed that she had been hit by a bullet. Driving the short distance to his home, Brandon alleges that she yelled for him that she had been shot and to call for help and then fell to ground as she got out of the vehicle. Ford, who had followed her there, walked over to where she laid and confirmed she had been hit by a bullet by physically examining her.
It was Ford’s wife, Rita, that called 911 and reported that Brandon had been shot.