Defendant's limo causes t-bone crash when he attempts to cross 7 lanes of traffic. $1.3M. Los Angeles County

Summary

Liability, causation and extent of injuries are all disputed in accident on Victory Boulevard.

The Case

  • Case Name: MacKenzie v. Charles Solomon Jr. and A-List Limousine Service LLC
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC660851
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, May 09, 2019
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, May 12, 2017
  • Type of Action: Vehicles - Intersection
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Norman Tarle
  • Plaintiffs:
    Joann MacKenzie
  • Defendants:
    Charles Solomon Jr.
    A-List Limousine Service LLC
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,312,139.60
  • Net Verdict or Award: $1,115,318.66
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Solomon was in scope of employment. Defendants share the judgment in entirety.

  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 15% on plaintiff.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past lost earnings: $21,518

    Past medical expenses: $130,621.60

    Future medical expenses: $160,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $250,000

    Future: $750,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 6 hours.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 on liability

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Greene Broillet & Wheeler LLP by Alan Van Gelder and Molly McKibben, Santa Monica.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    CMBG3 Law by Luis Barba and W. Joseph Gunter, Irvine.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Fardad Mobin, M.D., neurosurgery, Beverly Hills.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Kendall Wagner, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Fullerton.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Sean Caldwell, accident reconstruction, Westminster, CO.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Alvin Lowi III, accident reconstruction.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On June 26, 2015 plaintiff was traveling westbound in the number three lane of Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys. It was rush hour and Victory Blvd. is a heavily traveled major arterial seven-lane highway through the Valley in Los Angeles. Defendant limo driver attempted to cut across Victory Blvd. using the minor residential street of Columbus Avenue. Columbus had a stop sign at the intersection of Victory.

    Defendant driver claimed that he stopped at the stop sign before crossing the intersection. He was driving in scope of employment for A-List Limousine Company LLC. He had dropped off a customer in the area and was using Columbus as a shortcut to get home. Solomon made it across six of the lanes and entered westbound lane number three a fraction of a second ahead of plaintiff. Plaintiff t-boned defendant's vehicle. The crash damaged two discs in plaintiff's spine at C5-C6 and C6-C7. After two years of conservative treatment, PT, and injections, the discs ultimately had to be replaced.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant driver was taking an unnecessary and unsafe shortcut across Victory Blvd. to save a little time. That he did not properly pay attention to traffic on Victory Blvd. and proceeded across the intersection without first checking if it was safe to do so. Defendant driver should have slowed or stopped ahead of westbound lane number three on Victory Blvd.

    Further, that the crash was responsible for plaintiff's disc replacement surgery, caused her to miss work for the surgery, and requires a future surgery. Plaintiff will suffer chronic pain.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That defendant driver stopped at the stop sign, properly checked Victory Blvd. for immediate hazards and properly entered Victory Blvd. Under California Vehicle Code 21802(b) defendant claimed that their limo driver occupied the intersection and had the right of way over plaintiff, that plaintiff should have seen defendant enter the intersection and crossing the intersection, and  that plaintiff was not keeping a proper lookout and violated the basic speed law.

    Also, that westbound lanes one and two on Victory had become backed up, which meant that plaintiff had to treat the "Keep Clear" signs at the intersection like a stop sign. Further, that the backed up cars should have given plaintiff a visual cue to slow down or stop ahead of the intersection. Further, that plaintiff was on her cell phone at the time of the crash.

    LAPD arrived at the scene and did not take a police report which defense argued showed the crash was not significant. Defense also claimed that medical records showed various pre-existing conditions that were causing plaintiff's problems. In addition, defendant noted that plaintiff's disc replacement surgery was extremely successful, that she would not need future surgery, that she had gotten happily married a year after the surgery, that she had hardly missed any work, and  that she was living an active life. Defense used social media pictures to claim that plaintiff's current pain was minor or non-existent.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Disc replacements at C5/C6 and C6/C7, pain, balance problems, headaches, tingling, and problems with grip.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $130,621.60
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $200,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $21,518
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: N/A.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,000,000 and another for $700,000.
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $450,000.

Additional Notes

The plaintiff's case was worked up by Marvin Cherin and Beth Graff of Chudacoff, Friedman, Simon, Graff & Cherin before handed over by them to Greene Broillet & Wheeler LLP for trial. Plaintiff issued two 998s in the case for $1 million and $700,000. Defendants issued a 998 for $450,000. 

Per defense counsel:

At trial, plaintiff requested an award of approximately $2.7 million.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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