Defense Verdict in Pedestrian v. Automobile Case
November 2021: Scott Macdonal and Doug Carasso of Macdonald & Cody, LLP secured a defense verdict in Long Beach Superior Court. The accident occurred in the City of Los Angeles on Franklin Avenue near the Canyon Drive intersection. The plaintiff was a 30-year-old jogger who had entered Franklin on her regular morning run to Griffith Park while the defendant was lawfully driving his motor vehicle within the speed limit. Defendant was also on a “hands-free” cell phone call. Defendant was unable to avoid the plaintiff who had suddenly appeared from behind parked cars outside of any crosswalk. This led to plaintiff’s ending up on the hood of defendant’s car, hitting her head on the windshield, and being thrown to the ground. Plaintiff sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, a fractured hip, abrasions to her legs, and additional injuries.
The defense was able to secure a bifurcated trial, though in the Liability phase plaintiff’s counsel was permitted to advise the jury that plaintiff could not recall the subject accident because of the brain injury caused by the accident. In the Liability phase, defendant’s experts convinced the jury that because plaintiff was running or jogging at the time of impact, the accident was unavoidable for defendant. Plaintiff contended she was slowly walking when defendant’s car hit her. But defense counsel and their accident reconstruction expert pointed out that had she crossed the roadway in this manner (1) it would have been contrary to plaintiff”s and her boyfriend’s deposition and trial testimony, and (2) it would have caused severe lower-limb injuries to plaintiff rather than just abrasions.
Before trial, plaintiff was demanding $15 million to resolve this case. Plaintiff served 998 for $4,750,000. Defendant had offered his policy limits, but plaintiff refused to accept it as they contented that the policy was”open”.
The jury (9-3) found Defendant was not negligent at the conclusion of the Liability phase.