Left-turning vehicle collides with motorcycle. Both drivers assigned fault. $3.5M gross. Riverside County.
$3.5 million gross reduced to $2.1 after comparative fault when car making left turn collides with oncoming motorcycle.
- Case Name: Townsend v. Olivo
- Court and Case Number: Riverside Superior Court / RIC1611099
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, February 11, 2019
- Date Action was Filed: Friday, August 26, 2016
- Type of Action: Vehicles - Left Turn, Vehicles - Motorcycle
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Daniel A. Ottolia
- Plaintiffs: Jeffrey Townsend, 30, unemployed.
- Defendants: Jose Olivo and Maria Olivo
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $3,500,000
- Net Verdict or Award: $2,100,000 after comparative fault reduction.
- Award as to each Defendant:
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 60% Maria Olivo; 40% Jeffrey Townsend.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 weeks.
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for new trial. Motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Lari-Joni & Bassell, LLP by Torsten Bassell, Los Angeles.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Macdonald & Cody, LLP by Scott Macdonald, Irvine.
Klute and Newton by Duane Newton, Redlands.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
William Schobert, M.D., orthopedic sports medicine, Orange.
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Neeraj Gupta, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Pomona.
- Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
Joseph Yates, accident reconstruction, Long Beach.
- Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Stein Husher, P.E., accident reconstruction, Camarillo.
Anthony Stein, Ph.D., human factors, La Canada.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
The accident occurred when defendant made a left turn at an intersection and collided with plaintiff, who had been traveling in the opposite direction on his motorcycle.
Defendant's insurer denied coverage of the driver and that matter was extensively litigated (see notes) before this matter went to trial.
The jury found both parties negligent and that their negligence was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff's harm. The jury assigned 60% of fault to defendant and 40% of fault to plaintiff.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
Plaintiff on motorcycle alleged that he had the right-of-way and that defendant had a duty to yield the right-of-way to plaintiff when making her left-hand turn at the intersection.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Defendant argued that plaintiff was lane-splitting between cars in the two opposing lanes of traffic at the time of the accident. Defendant claimed that the light had turned yellow or red and that opposing traffic had stopped and yielded to defendant before plaintiff entered the intersection.
Defendant also claimed that plaintiff had come out of nowhere and entered the intersection between vehicles that had stopped in front of him. The defense presented the testimony of a witness to the accident, who claimed that plaintiff was lane-splitting between stopped cars and that plaintiff entered on a red light.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Left tibial shaft fracture.