$32.5 Million Verdict
Johnson, Allen and Cascio v. City of Beverly Hills
$32.5 Million Settlement
In January 2017, Panish Shea & Boyle attorneys Deborah Chang, Brian Panish, Tom Schultz and Austin Ward obtained a landmark $32,500,000 settlement on behalf of two clients who were catastrophically injured and two clients whose father was killed in two collisions on Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
On May 2, 2014, plaintiff Eric Johnson was seriously injured when his loaded cement truck lost its brakes while driving down Loma Vista Drive, causing him to crash into parked vehicles to stop his runaway descent. Only one week later, on May 9, 2014, LAPD Detective Ernest Allen, Sr. was killed when a cement truck operated by Plaintiff Brandon Cascio on Loma Vista Drive lost its brakes, ran off the road at a sharp curve, and rolled over on top of Detective Allen’s pickup truck. As a result of his injuries, Mr. Cascio is now in a persistent vegetative coma.
For over fifty years, the City of Beverly Hills had known that Loma Vista Drive constituted a dangerous condition because its unusual grades are too steep for too long at the top. Because the roadway has grades that are unusually long and steep, drivers’ brakes are used repeatedly while driving down the hill until some eventually fail. The runaway heavy vehicles then continue to accelerate down the roadway, gaining such high speeds that they cannot negotiate the last sharp curve to the right and eventually crash. City employees, traffic consultants, and concerned residents had warned City management for decades that these types of tragic accidents would continue to occur unless effective changes were made on Loma Vista Drive, but they were not. The City vigorously fought the lawsuits, including filing motions for summary judgment claiming a design immunity defense which were denied by the court. The City also alleged that the truck drivers were at fault for the collisions because they should have used a route that did not include Loma Vista Drive.
For purposes of trial, the Johnson, Allen, and Cascio cases were consolidated. The cases settled globally just days before the February 2017 trial was scheduled to begin. Plaintiff Brandon Cascio was also represented in the case by Gregory Vanni of the Law Offices of Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell.