$1.03 million verdict for neck and shoulder injuries in rear-ender; only $55,000 offered CCP 998. Los Angeles County.
Plaintiff with pre-existing conditions receives over $1 million jury verdict after rear-ender and low offer from defense.
- Case Name: Griffin v. Johal
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / YC066215
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, August 02, 2013
- Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, January 04, 2012
- Type of Action: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Craig D. Karlan
Plaintiffs: Ricky Griffin,50, electrical engineer.
Defendants: Rupinder Singh Johal, 20, college student.
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $1,030,265. Plaintiff will also ask for expert and other costs based on beating his CCP 998 offer.
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
Future medical: $166,500
Future lost earnings: $22,461
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 2 1/2 hours
- Jury Polls: 11-1 liability
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: None (to date).
Attorney for the Plaintiff: Taylor & Ring by Robert R. Clayton and Natalie Weatherford, Los Angeles.
Attorney for the Defendant: Law Offices of Mark S. Julius by Ward W. Deffebach, Santa Ana.
Plaintiff’s Medical Experts: Michael P. Weinstein, M.D., treating orthopedic surgeon, Newport Beach.
Defendant's Medical Experts: Joseph B. Serra, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Stockton.
Plaintiff's Technical Experts: None.
Defendant's Technical Experts: None.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
On June 10, 2011, 50-year-old plaintiff Ricky Griffin, an electrical engineer, was stopped in stop-and-go construction traffic on the southbound 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. Plaintiff was driving a 2001 Chevy Suburban. Without warning, plaintiff was rear-ended by a 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan driven by 20-year-old defendant Rupinder Singh Johal, a college student. Defendant was traveling 20-35 mph. Johal admitted that he was looking down at his iPod charger when the impact occurred. The impact pushed plaintiff’s Suburban into the rear of another vehicle in front of him.
That defendant was negligent for failing to use reasonable care in the operation of his vehicle.
That plaintiff had a pre-existing condition: 23 years of medical records showing plaintiff's prior back and shoulder complaints. Thus, defendant argued that there was no causation between the incident and Griffin’s alleged injuries. Defendant also disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries and damages.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Plaintiff suffered a 5mm disc bulge of the cervical spine at C5-C6 and a partial thickness rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder. At trial, plaintiff argued that he would need an anterior cervical fusion in the future. The defendant argued that the disc bulge was pre-existing and that the plaintiff was not a candidate for any surgeries.
Plaintiff did not miss any work as a result of the incident. However, he sought lost future earnings for the time he would miss as a result of the anterior cervical fusion.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $16,304 (stipulated)
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $65,100 - $216,100 (disputed)
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $5,615.38 - $44,923.04 (disputed)
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $300,000
- Defendant §998 Offer: $55,001
Defendant had a $300,000 primary automobile insurance policy and $1,000,000 umbrella policy both with Government Employees Insurance Company (“GEICO”).