Re-Trial of Hung Jury Results in Unanimous Defense Verdict After 40 Minutes with Liability Admitted
In May 2021, Michael Cody and Danielle Boyd secured a unanimous defense verdict in Fresno County in an admitted liability automobile accident case. The accident occurred in a rural intersection outside of Fresno in Kingsburg, California. Plaintiff, a 37-year-old married mother of 5 children was driving an SUV with two of her minor children in car, including her 8-month-old daughter. As Plaintiff’s vehicle entered the intersection, the 78-year-old Defendant did not stop at the stop sign for cross-traffic, t-boned Plaintiff’s SUV on the passenger side, spinning it around. Defendant’s vehicle ended up stuck in a fence. After the vehicles came to rest, the Defendant tried to free his vehicle from the fence, accelerated and struck Plaintiff’s vehicle again, this time on the driver’s side. The collision was so violent that it caused one of the children’s car seats to smash through a rear window.
18 months before the accident, Plaintiff had suffered a stretch injury to her sacral plexus – the nerves that innervate and control function for her female reproductive organs and bladder – while giving birth to her 4th child. Plaintiff contended that her birth injury had completely resolved prior to the accident, even to the point of allowing her to conceive and give birth to a 5th child during that 18-month period. Plaintiff argued that the accident severely reaggravated her prior injury, resulting in a permanent loss of feeling to her female reproductive organs and bladder, and loss of bladder control. Plaintiff’s husband claimed loss of consortium for the diminished sexual intimacy the couple had after the accident.
The first trial took place in 2018 and resulted in a mistrial with a deadlocked jury. In March 2021, Defendant served a 998 Offer for $100,000 – representing the entire policy limits. Plaintiffs rejected the Offer, claiming the policy was open.
In a two-and-a-half-week trial, Plaintiff presented testimony of many treating physicians and an expert in urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Plaintiff’s expert testified that the impact of the accident cause Plaintiff’s pelvic organs to shift, causing a stretch injury to the sacral plexus with resulting nerve damage. The expert testified that because the nerves were previously injured, they would not be able to recover from this subsequent injury and she would be permanently numb.
Defense presented an expert ob-gyn that refuted the opinions of Plaintiff’s and testified that Plaintiff had a prior nerve injury that had not fully recovered, despite Plaintiff’s claim to the contrary. There were no medical records documenting a 100% pre-accident recovery of the original birth injury. Plaintiff asked for $700,000 for herself and $300,000 for her husband. The jury returned a 12-0 defense verdict after only 40 minutes of deliberation.