Question of course and scope of employment critical in T-bone crash. $1.85M. Los Angeles County.
Vehicles collide as one driver is pulling out of a parking lot. Question is whether that driver was in the course and scope of his employment.
- Case Name: Smith v. Jennison, Post Alarm Systems, Inc.
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC623885
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, March 13, 2020
- Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, June 15, 2016
- Type of Action: Course and scope of employment, Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Charles F. Palmer
- Plaintiffs: Joseph Smtih
- Defendants: Robert Jennison (driver)Post Alarm Systems, Inc.(Jennison's employer)Golden Auto Body
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $1,855,500
- Net Verdict or Award: $2,047,774 including costs and CCP 998 interest
- Award as to each Defendant:
$100,000 as to defendant Jennison by bench trial in phase one of trial, confirming policy was tendered and there was a settlement as to the individual policy.
$1,755,500 as to Post Alarm Systems, Inc. in phase two by jury verdict.
Golden Auto Body was dismissed by summary judgment.
- Economic Damages:
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 7 days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day
- Jury Polls: 12-0 on damages; 11-1 on course and scope.
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for new trial, JNOV filed before case settled.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Sullivan & Sullivan by Gene Sullivan, Manhattan Beach.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Cullins & Grandy LLP by James Grandy and Allison Grandy, Laguna Hills. (For Post Alarm Systems, Inc.)
Raffalow, Bretoi & Adams by Jack Liebhaber, Sherman Oaks. (For Jennison.)
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Michael Sciffman, M.D., orthopedic surgery.
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Charles Rosen, M.D., orthopedic surgery.
Jason Waterman, M.D., orthopedic surgery.
- Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
- Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Peter M. Burkhard, Ph.D., biomechanics.
Marilyn Pacheco, billing.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
On October 16, 2014 plaintiff, working the night shift driving for a limo company, drove around a sharp right turn on Centinela Avenue in Los Angeles as defendant driver Jennison was pulling out of Golden Auto Body. Plaintiff T-boned Jennison's vehicle, which crashed into another parked car across the street. Defendant driver was an employee of Post Alarm Systems, Inc at the time of the crash.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
That defendant driver was negligent in his operation of the vehicle as he exited Golden Auto Body, and that he was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the crash.
That Golden Auto Body was negligent in that they posted no warning signs about the dangers of making a left turn from their lot onto the street. though the exit was 75 feet from a blind curve.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Defendant driver contended that he was not responsible for the crash and that plaintiff had been speeding.
Defendant employer contended that defendant driver was not in the course and scope of employment at the time of the crash. Defendant employer also disputed necessity and costs of plaintiff's medical treatment.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Torn meniscus in knee and torn labrum in shoulder, which required surgeries; future knee replacement.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $145,500
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $169,600
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $499,999
- Defendant Final Offer before Trial: Post Alarm Systems (defendant employer): $140,000