Following a three-week bench trial, Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP attorneys Spencer Lucas and Alex Behar have obtained a $2,595,106.97 judgment, including $2,143,617 for damages and $451,489.97 in costs, for a Nevada woman who suffered severe and permanent injuries after she was struck by a vehicle while walking through a hotel parking lot in Pasadena, California. Judgment was entered on April 2, 2020 following trial before the Honorable Margaret L. Oldendorf that concluded on February 14, 2020.
The incident occurred when Plaintiff Nancy Fannin, 58, parked her vehicle and was walking southbound in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel on July 13, 2016 when she was struck by a Ford Fiesta driven by Defendant Samantha George, traveling at approximately 15 mph in the same direction. Defendant George, 21, had rented the vehicle during the course and scope of her employment with Camden Blaze, LLC and Carolinas Restaurant Holdings, LLC.
As a result of the collision, Ms. Fannin was transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital with severe and debilitating injuries and underwent four (4) separate surgeries during her 14-day hospital stay to repair an open fracture and dislocation of her left ankle as well as a four-part comminuted fracture of her left shoulder. She spent two months convalescing at home, underwent extensive physical therapy, and continues to suffer from permanent injuries that will require future surgeries.
There were no eyewitnesses, no surveillance footage, and no scene photographs of the incident. The defendant driver admitted she did not see the plaintiff until impact. She claimed she was looking straight ahead and therefore the plaintiff must have inadvertently quickly stepped in front of the vehicle in an attempt to access to the hotel’s entrance.
The police report placed the blame on the Plaintiff and indicated that Mrs. Fannin walked out in front of the moving vehicle. The defense relied heavily on the police report to support its step-out defense.
Panish Shea & Boyle pedestrian accident attorneys instead focused on the hard evidence. There was no damage to the front of the vehicle to indicate a step-out situation. Instead, the only damage was to the passenger side rearview mirror.
Further, a biomechanical analysis, as depicted through a PC Crash with multibody animation, also supported the plaintiff’s theory. Mrs. Fannin was clipped from behind by the passenger rearview mirror as the inattentive defendant sped through the parking lot. The impact caused a rotational injury to the ankle, causing Mrs. Fannin to twist and fall to the ground with great force, landing on her left shoulder.
On cross-examination, the investigating police officer changed his testimony, and admitted that he inaccurately attributed a damaging statement to Mrs. Fannin, which tended to support defense’s step-out theory. The officer also acknowledged he made an error in the report where he noted the Plaintiff to be on her cell phone at the time of the collision.
After reviewing the evidence presented, Judge Oldendorf found that the Defense did not meet its burden of proof to support its theory, finding instead that Defendant George was negligent and solely at fault for the incident and assigned 100 percent responsibility for the subject incident to Defendant George and awarding $2,143,617 to Plaintiff.
Plaintiff further beat her CCP §998 statutory settlement offer of $1,999,999.99 made to Defendants on August 26, 2019.