Magic Flying Mattress Case and a Defense Verdict
April 2017, Scott Macdonald with the assistance of Laura Reichenbach received a defense verdict in Long Beach after a jury found that defendants were not negligent.
Defendants were the owner and operator of a hauling business. Defendant was on his way to pick up some plants from a nursery on the 101 freeway in the Woodland Hills area when plaintiff alleged that a mattress flew out of the back of his trailer into the path of plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff swerved nearly 90 degrees to the right to avoid the oncoming mattress. She slammed her car into a k-rail. Her airbags deployed shattering her nose. As a result of the injury, she lost her sense of smell.
Plaintiff presented two independent witnesses to establish that the mattress flew out of defendants’ trailer. However, the witness’ stories were unbelievable. One of the witnesses testified that he had seen the mattress come from the bed of the truck, when he denied the same in deposition. He then testified that he had seen the mattress “hover” over the trailer which was moving at freeway speeds and that it actually reversed directions mid-flight before coming off of the back of the trailer. The jury audibly laughed at a question on cross-examination as to whether this was “Magic Carpet Flying Mattress”. Plaintiff never testified that she had seen the mattress come from defendants’ black trailer and had told the investigating officer that it came from a white dump truck.
Defendant driver/owner testified that the trailer had been emptied. He had no reason to believe that a mattress would be in the trailer. We argued burden of proof, and the jury agreed.
The damages sought were for a severe injury to plaintiff’s nose. She also lost her sense of smell which was conceded by the defense. Plaintiff sought over $6 million from the jury. We had offered $350,000 to resolve the case and had offered to enter into a favorable high/low during trial.