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Doiron v. City of Riverside

Verdicta

GAV-CAPSULE #10594 RIVERSIDE COUNTY CASE: 171481 INTERESTING SETTLEMENT

TITLE: Doiron V. City of Riverside

TYPE: Road Design/Product Liability/Dangerous Condition Of Public Property

JUDGE: Hon. Victor Micelli

ATTORNEYS: BROWNS GREENE & BRIAN J. PANISH, (Greene, O’Reilly, Broillet, Paul, Simon & Wheeler), P-Los Angeles

ANTHONY SERETELLA & SCOTT MCLATCHIE, (Cotkin, Collins & Francell), D-City of Riverside-Riverside

CRAIG WINTER MAN & DOUGLAS DENOCE, (Herzfeld & Rubin) , D-Volkswagen

SPECIALS: Medical: $190,000;

Future Medical: $3,000,000

Wage Loss: $200,000;

Future Wage Loss: $1,000,000

DEMAND: None Stated

OFFER: None Stated

VERDICT: Plaintiff

AMOUNT: $2,250,000 (cash); $12,000 (per month for life); $2,300,000 (total lump sum payments every 5 years); Total of over $12,000,000

SYNOPSIS:

The Plaintiff, an 18 year old high school student passenger in a 1967 Volkswagen Bug, was traveling on a main roadway in Riverside at approximately 10:00 p.m. Vehicle hit puddle of water and lost control leaving the roadway and the rear of the Volkswagen hit a palm tree. The passenger seat broke loose from the seat track, propelling the plaintiff into the back of the car, where his head struck the head liner, resulting in a neck fracture.

The Plaintiff alleged the Volkswagen was defectively designed, because the seats released from the seat tracks during rear end impacts. Volkswagen changed the design of the seat tracks subsequent to the design of the 1967 Bug.

The Plaintiff charged the city of Riverside with failing to properly maintain their sprinkler system creating a dangerous condition of public property. The Plaintiff established that the city had notice of a malfunctioning electric timing system, causing the sprinklers to continually run. Discovery revealed five sprinkler heads were broken on the date of the accident and the city had received notice of the dangerous condition.

Defendant Volkswagen argued no defect due to the modification of the seats.

Defendant City of Riverside claimed the roadway was not dangerous, the street on the night of the accident was similar to rain conditions and the cause of the accident was excessive speed of the Volkswagen and two rear tires were below the legal limit for tread depth.

INJURIES/DAMAGES:

The plaintiff suffered C-6 quadriplegia resulting in partial movement of the arms and loss of bowel control.

MEDICAL TESTIMONY:

(Plaintiff):

(1) Joel Rosen, (Spinal Cord specialist-Northridge)

(2) James Hubbard, (Neurologist-Riverside)

(3) John Song, (Family/General-Riverside)

NON-MEDICAL EXPERT/WITNESS TESTIMONY:

(Plaintiff)

(1) Harry Krueper, (Engineer Traffic-San Bernardino)

(2) Mike James, (Accident Reconstruction-College Station, TX) (3) James McElhnney, (Biomechanics-Ourhnm, NC)

(4; Peter Formuxis, (Economist-Fullerton)

(5) Herb Hindin, (Tire Consultant-Grass valley)

(6) John Harcosky, (Engineer Design-MI)

(Defendant)

(1) Ray Schultz, (Economist-Pasadena)

(2) A. G. Corns, (vocational Rehabilitation-Paramount)

(3) Jim Johnson, (Tire Consultant-Long Beach)

(4) Chuck Narnor, (Accident Reconstruction-Orem, UT)

(5) Tony Lennox, (Biomechanics-TX)

COMMENTS:

The case was the largest settlement ever in Riverside County.

It is believed to be the largest settlement with a public entity Defendant in California history.

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