Net Verdict Substantially Lower Than The Pre-Trial CCP § 998
July 2018, Scott Macdonald and Debra Braasch successfully defended at trial a prominent Southern California auto dealership that was sued when one of its drivers was involved in an automobile collision. Plaintiff, a sixty-eight year old man, broadsided our client’s vehicle that was attempting to exit the dealership into traffic. Our client’s driver had his view obstructed by a car carrier that had illegally parked in a red zone adjacent to the dealership exit. While our clients responsibly admitted negligence and causation at trial, co-defendant car carrier disputed that they were a legal cause of the accident.
The impact was fairly significant, and the plaintiff sustained bilateral rotator cuff tears. Both were operated on within months of the accident. Plaintiff also underwent a lumbar fusion surgery and alleged the need for a multi-level cervical fusion. Past medicals were $269,000 and alleged future medicals were $185,000. Plaintiff also claimed a loss of household services of upwards of $300,000. Plaintiff’s wife sought loss of consortium damages.
Our client authorized us to make a pre-trial offer of $500,000. We did so by C.C.P. 998. Co-defendant offered $200,000. Prior to trial, plaintiffs refused to lower their demand from $4,000,000.
The jury determined a 60/40 split on liability. The jury awarded a gross verdict of $575,000 for plaintiff and $5,000 for his spouse. The net result as to our client is substantially below the Section 998 offer. Consequently, our client will recover substantial costs to be subtracted from the net result.