Cause and injuries disputed in vehicle collision. $3 million. Los Angeles County.


Plaintiff beats $1 million policy limit CCP 998 offer to compromise.

The Case

  • Case Name: Rodney Alexander Pimentel v. Joaquin Garcia Avila, SMS Foods Inc., and Does 1 to 15, inclusive
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / SC115454
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, December 09, 2016
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Nancy L. Newman
  • Plaintiffs:
    Rodney Alexander Pimentel, 37
  • Defendants:
    Joaquin Avila
    SMS Foods
    State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $3,652,000. Plaintiff counsel says additional $1 million interest and costs per CCP 998.
  • Economic Damages:

    Future economic loss: $1,342,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past non-economic loss: $0

    Future non-economic loss: $2,310,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 8 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 hours.
  • Jury Polls: 10-2.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff is filing a New Trial/Additur Motion seeking an additional $1 million for the past non-economic damages, and defendants have said they too will present a New Trial Motion.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Layfield & Barrett APC by Joseph M. Barrett and Jonathan C. Teller, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Shaver, Korff & Castronovo by Thomas W. Shaver, Encino. (For Joaquin Avila, SMS Foods, State Farm Mutual
    Automobile Insurance.)

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Fardad Mobin, M.D., neurosurgery, Beverly Hills.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Stephen Kay, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

    Richard Ostrup, M.D., neurosurgery, San Diego.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    David King, P.E., accident reconstruction, Laguna Hills.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):


Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On Jan. 5, 2010, a collision occurred between plaintiff Rodney Pimentel and defendant Joaquin Garcia Avila at the
    intersection of Lincoln Blvd. and Colorado Blvd. Both parties claimed they had the green light. Plaintiff sued defendant driver and
    his employer, SMS Foods Inc.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant ran the red light; that plaintiff was injured by the crash and that his injuries were permanent.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That plaintiff had a long history of back and shoulder pain. That plaintiff  was not credible: that he lied to his doctors, lied in discovery, and was barely injured. Defendants argued that plaintiff was at fault, having caused the collision because he was running late, tired, and from out of town.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Injury to right shoulder, lower back and neck. Significant and chronic pain.

    Plaintiff had a prior low back surgery in 1997, and he had complained of low back pain, leg pain, and leg atrophy for four years prior to the crash. Also, plaintiff claimed he had a shoulder injury that was made worse. He had complained of right shoulder pain for four years before the crash. Plaintiff complained he hurt his neck in the crash. Emergency room records documented a “whiplash” injury and he was told to see a doctor for it if the pain did not go away. The first care sought for the neck post-injury appeared to be the following month.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $300,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: Waived.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,000,000 in 2014. (Policy limits)
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: State Farm offered $50,000 pretrial.

Additional Notes

Plaintiff will also receive an additional $900,000 in CCP 998 interest and approximately $100,000 in costs for net verdict of approximately $4.8 million before additur motion.

The verdict, by stipulation of the parties, will be against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, who were Intervenors on behalf of their insureds who went out of business in 2010.