One Million Dollar Award and Substantial Contributory Negligence For Case Involving Deceased 16-Year-Old in Long Beach
August 2016, When Macdonald & Cody, LLP was opening its doors, Scott Macdonald and Laura Reichenbach were in trial in Long Beach in a wrongful death case involving a 16-year-old who was crushed to death by a speed boat that hit a jet ski upon which the 16 year old was a passenger. The driver of the jet ski sustained serious injuries. The driver of the jet ski and parents of the deceased 16 year old sued defendant who had serviced the subject jet ski shortly before the accident. The claim was that water had been left in the fuel system thereby causing a loss of power and put the jet ski to be in a position to be struck by a speed boat leaving a no wake zone.
The matter was tried to a jury in Long Beach. Plaintiff asked for a multi-million dollar verdict. While the jury found liability, the jury only put 40% negligence upon our client. The jury awarded $1,000,010 in damages to the parents of the deceased 16-year-old. The driver plaintiff, who had severely fractured his pelvis and had ongoing back complaints was awarded $340,000.
$1,500,000 had been offered before trial. There had been extensive negotiations throughout trial to resolve the case. Post-trial, plaintiff’s faced a significant challenge on appeal due to a motion for Directed Verdict on liability which it was our position was improperly denied. The case settled post-trial for a sum far below the verdict and substantially less than our pre-trial offer.