$36 million for Indian couple hit by big rig. Severe spinal injury. Riverside County.

Summary

Plaintiffs were visiting relatives in the U.S. when their passenger vehicle was struck on freeway by a tractor-trailer truck. Plaintiff wife suffered severe spinal injuries and requires constant care. Defendant trucking company denied liability and offered a $250,000 settlement pre-trial. Jury found trucking company 100% liable.

The Case

  • Case Name: Jaishree Sheth v. Schneider National Carriers, Inc.
  • Court and Case Number: Riverside County Superior Court / RIC 10020226
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, June 29, 2012
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, October 12, 2010
  • Type of Action: Negligence, Vehicles - Tractor Trailers
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Sharon J. Waters
  • Plaintiffs:
    Prakash Sheth, 64, retired chemist
    Jaishree Sheth, 58, former financial consultant
  • Defendants:
    Schneider National Carriers, Inc.
    Jimmy Eugene Morgan, driver of truck for defendant Schneider National Carriers, Inc.
    Gamanial Jekisondas Shah (relative of plaintiffs, who was driving car plaintiffs traveled in)
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $36,482,302.56
  • Net Verdict or Award: $36,482,302.56.
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 100% Liability as to Schneider National Carriers, Inc.
  • Economic Damages:

    $5,482,302.56  (see breakdown in notes below)

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $31,000,000.00 (see breakdown in notes below)

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 16 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 1/2 days
  • Jury Polls: 12-0

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Panish, Shea & Boyle LLP by Brian J. Panish, Thomas A. Schultz, and Ryan A. Casey, Los Angeles
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Snyder Law, LLP by Barry Clifford Snyder, Santa Barbara (for Defendant Schneider National Carriers, Inc.)
    Horton, Oberrecht, Kirkpatrick & Martha by Kimberly S. Oberrecht, San Diego (for Defendant Gamanial Shah)

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Sanjog Pangarkar, M.D., pain management and rehabilitation, Los Angeles
    Harris Ronald Fisk, M.D., neurologist, Los Angeles
    Jan Roughan, R.N. life care planner, Monrovia
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Timothy Davis M.D., pain management and rehabilitation, Santa Monica
    Donald Miller, M.D., neurologist, Glendale
    Mary Jesko, R.N., life care planner, Los Angeles
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Alvin Lowi III, P.E., accident reconstruction, El Segundo
    John Brault, MS, biomechanics, Mission Viejo
    Peter Formuzis, Ph.D, economist, Santa Ana
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Thomas Fugger, Jr. P.E., accident reconstruction, Valencia (for Defendant Schneider)
    John Tyson, BS, MS, PE., accident reconstruction, Los Angeles (for Defendant Shah)
    Edward L. Workman, Ed. D., vocational rehabilitation, San Clemente
    Michael Willoughby, Ph.D., CFA, economist, La Jolla

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On March 26, 2010, plaintiffs Jaishree and Prakash Sheth,  a married couple, were visiting relatives in the United States and were on their way to the Orange County, California airport to take a family vacation to Hawaii. The Sheths were passengers in a vehicle driven by one of their U.S. relatives, Defendant Shah, when a collision occurred between a big-rig owned and operated by defendant Schneider National Carriers, Inc. and the vehicle carrying the Sheths.

    The accident occurred on Interstate 10, in the city of Beaumont.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the Schneider tractor trailer improperly attempted to pass the car, crossed over into the Sheth’s lane and hit their vehicle. That the impact of the truck caused the Sheth’s vehicle to spin out of control across the freeway where it hit the median barrier and was struck by another vehicle.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant Schneider contended that its driver committed no negligent act, never attempted to change lanes,and that the vehicle driven by defendant Shah swerved into its driver's lane, causing the collision.

    Defendant Shah contended that he never left his lane and that the Schneider big-rig improperly attempted to pass his car, crossed over into his lane and hit his car, causing it to spin out of control across the freeway, where it hit the median barrier and was struck by another vehicle.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff Prakash Sheth suffered minor physical injuries in the collision. Plaintiff Jaishree Sheth suffered a C5-6 fracture, spinal fracture and spinal cord injury in the March 26, 2010 accident. When she arrived at the hospital, Mrs. Sheth was completely paralyzed. She underwent two emergency surgeries, experienced respiratory failure and was hospitalized for two months. Mrs. Sheth still requires 24-hour attendant care, is unable to control her bowel and bladder, and still has not regained full use of her hands or limbs and has no fine motor skills.

  • Plaintiff Prakash Sheth also had a claim for loss of consortium.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $5,478.56 (Prakash Sheth); $469,490.00 (Jaishree Sheth)
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $4,810,992.00 (Jaishree Sheth)
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $18,746.00 (Jaishree Sheth)
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $80,171.00 (Jaishree Sheth)

Demands and Offers

  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: Schneider National offered $250,000.

Additional Notes

The jury awarded Mr. Sheth:

Past Medical: $5,478.56

Past Pain and Suffering: $1,000,000.00

Future Pain and Suffering: $1,000,000.00

Loss of Consortium: $1,000,000.00

The jury awarded Mrs. Sheth:

Past Loss of Earnings: $18,746.00

Future Loss of Earnings: $80,171.00

Past Loss of Household Services: $8,000.00

Future Loss of Household Services: $89,425.00

Past Medical: $469,490.00

Future Medical: $4,810,992.00

Past Pain and Suffering: $6,000,000.00

Future Pain and Suffering: $22,000,000.00

Plaintiff's counsel believes this to be the largest personal injury verdict in Riverside County.

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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