Toyota dealership negligently repairs SUV leading to freeway breakdown and injury. $2.17 million verdict. Los Angeles County.
Toyota dealer replaces drive shaft and the repair later fails while customer is on a freeway, leading to severe injury. Dealer disputes liability, saying another Toyota dealer was at fault.
- Case Name: Fry v. Larry Miller Toyota
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / EC059275
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, September 01, 2015
- Date Action was Filed: Thursday, October 04, 2012
- Type of Case: Negligence
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. David L. Minning
Plaintiffs: Kenneth Fry, 60, video producer.
Defendants: Larry Miller Bell Road, L.P. dba Larry Miller Toyota
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $2,170,930
- Net Verdict or Award: $2,170,930 plus 10% interest from June 26, 2014 (Per Civ. Code 3291).
Award as to each Defendant:
Verdict against Larry Miller Toyota only.
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 100% on defendant.
Past Medical: $70,930
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 8 days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 3 hours.
- Jury Polls: 12-0 liability, 11-1 damages.
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Pending.
Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Daniels Law by William A. Daniels, Sherman Oaks.
The Vartazarian Law Firm by Steven R. Vartazarian, Sherman Oaks.
Attorney for the Defendant:
Pollard Mavredakis Cranert & Crawford by Terrence L. Cranert and Shelby Crawford, Pasadena.
Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Tiffany Rogers, M.D., MPT, orthopedic surgery, Torrance.
Bradley M. Thomas, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Manhattan Beach.
Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Ralph J. Venuto, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Newport Beach.
Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
Blake Koch, automotive mechanics, Canoga Park.
Hans Shin, MS, materials testing, Northridge.
Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Joseph Arruda, automotive engineering, Foothill Ranch.
Dustin Turnquist, metallurgy, Colorado Springs, CO.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
Defendant Larry Miller Toyota installed a rear propeller driveshaft in plaintiff's 1990 Toyota 4Runner, which fell out 11 months later while plaintiff was driving on the freeway. Plaintiff injured his right shoulder and neck in the incident. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder shortly after the incident, then a two-level cervical fusion three years later. Plaintiff's claim was limited to past medical and general damages. He was 63 at the time of trial.
That defendant Larry Miller Toyota negligently installed the rear propeller shaft by failing to fully tighten the bolts fastening the shaft to the transfer case and failing to use thread-lock as required by the manufacturer.
That Larry Miller Toyota's repair was within the standard of care and did not cause the incident. The negligence of a second Toyota dealer that performed regular service on the plaintiff's vehicle (10-25%) and plaintiff (75-90%) were the proximate causes of the incident.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Cervical disk herniations with spinal cord and root compression at C5-6, C6-7. Anterior decompression and fusion. Right shoulder impingement syndrome, acromioclavicular joint arthrosis, partial thickness rotator cuff tear, SLAP tear. Arthroscopic subacromial decompression, acromioclavicular joint arthroplasty, debridement of labral tear and partial thickness rotator cuff tear.
Pain and suffering, emotional distress.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $70,930
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $119,999
- Defendant §998 Offer: $250,000 about one month prior to trial.
Plaintiff settled with second Toyota dealership before trial for $150,000.