Partial quadriplegia results when van is rear-ended. $21.5M jury verdict. Madera County.
Farm worker is sitting in back row of passenger van when it is rear-ended while stopped at a railroad crossing. Liability admitted.
- Case Name: Maclovio v. Brewer
- Court and Case Number: Madera Superior Court / MCV074795
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, February 28, 2020
- Date Action was Filed: Thursday, April 20, 2017
- Type of Action: Negligence, Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto, Vehicles – rear-ender
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. James Oakley
- Plaintiffs: Jose Maclovio
- Defendants: Craig Alan Brewer
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $21,513,000
- Net Verdict or Award: $21,513,000
- Award as to each Defendant:
$21,513,000 against Craig Alan Brewer.
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 1 hour.
- Jury Polls: 10-2
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Dunnion Law Firm by Denis Delja, Monterey.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Mayall Hurley PC by Vladimir F. Kozina, Stockton.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Daniel Miller, M.D.,neurosurgery, Fresno. (Treating physician.)
Stephen McKenna, M.D., spinal cord injuries, San Jose. (Treating physician.)
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
On the afternoon of June 17, 2015, defendant was driving eastbound on Avenue 15 in Madera. Ahead of him, a van with farm laborers was stopped for a train crossing.
Defendant crashed into the back of the van. Defendant admitted negligence and there was no evidence at trial about the reason why the collision occurred.
Plaintiff was a farm laborer sitting in the back row of the van, on his way home from working the day in the fields. He was only about two miles from his home and was texting his girlfriend that he was almost home when the crash occurred.
Plaintiff, his girlfriend, and their 1 1/2-year-old daughter had just moved out of his parents' house and into their own apartment a week before the crash. Plaintiff was 18 years old and had dropped out of high school to work in the fields in order to provide financial support for his girlfriend and daughter. The crash caused plaintiff to sustain a C5 burst fracture, resulting in partial quadriplegia.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
That plaintiff would suffer permanent, lifelong paralysis as a result of his injuries. He would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life and suffer from significantly impaired use of his hands, wrists, and arms.
The value of plaintiff's non-economic damages was $1,000 a day from the date of the collision through the remaining 54.2 years of plaintiff's life expectancy, for a total of $21,513,000 in damages.
- Defendant's Contentions:
That it was not certain whether plaintiff's injuries were permanent. Plaintiff could minimize his injuries by taking online classes. The value of plaintiff's injuries was $96 a day, which defendant argued was a field laborer's daily wages.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
C4, partial quadriplegia.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: Waived.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: Waived.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: Waived.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: Waived.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $250,000
- Defendant §998 Offer: $25,000 policy limits with State Farm.