Partner Jennifer Russell Obtained A Defense Verdict After Her Client Struck A Pedestrian

On February 21, 2019, Ms. Russell obtained her second defense verdict of 2019. This case involved an alleged automobile vs. pedestrian accident.  The trial was before the Hon. Gregory Lewis of the Orange County Superior Court.

Facts: Plaintiff alleged he was hit and thrown from the defendant’s car during an altercation in a commercial parking lot.  There was an allegation regarding a dog-napping and things escalated between the parties. Defendant attempted to leave the parking lot in her vehicle and argued that the plaintiff ran towards her threatening her. Defendant had a large vehicle and plaintiff argued he was struck then thrown onto the vehicle and then defendant tried to speed away while he was still on the Jeep and he was thrown to the ground causing further injuries.

Damages: At the time of the accident, plaintiff was recovering from a cervical fusion and argued he was an eggshell and more susceptible and this incident exacerbated his pre-existing neck and back injuries causing the need for treatment and further care.  Plaintiff sought general economic and non-economic damages, including loss of earnings.  Ms. Russell argued that the plaintiff’s version of the accident was not credible and that plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries, at most.

Plaintiff’s final pre-trial demand was for the $100,000 policy limits and the defendant’s final §998 Offer was $25,000.  At trial, plaintiff asked the jury to award $475,000.

Result: The jury returned a defense verdict, voting 10-2 on negligence but 9-3 on substantial factor. Defendant beat her CCP 998 and was entitled to costs.