Motorcyclist, 35, is struck by defendant company's pickup, but defendant says driver was retired and not in course and scope of employment. Catastrophic head and spine injuries. $11.9 million verdict.
- Case Name: Sean Choy v Mori Hatsushi and Associates Inc., Masaru Hatsushi, Mori Hatsushi and Tomiko Hatsushi and M. Hatsushi Landscaping
- Court and Case Number: Contra Costa Superior Court/ CIVMSC07-02532
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, December 10, 2012
- Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, November 28, 2007
- Type of Case: Negligence, Vehicles - Motorcycle
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Steven Austin
Plaintiffs: Sean Choy
Defendants: Mori Hatsushi and Associates Inc.M. Hatsushi LandscapingMasaru Hatsushi
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $11,900,672
Award as to each Defendant:
Award was against all defendants jointly.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 15 days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 6 days
- Jury Polls: 10-1- (1 abstained) on Negligence and Substantial Factor; 12-0 on Employment.
Attorney for the Plaintiff: Kirby, Kirby and Kirby by Steven C. Kirby and Aimee E. Kirby, Redondo Beach
Attorney for the Defendant: Hughes & Company by Ralph Hughes, Pleasanton (for Mori and Tomiko Hatsushi)
Plaintiff’s Medical Experts: Jeremo Barakos, M.D., neuroradiology, San FranciscoBrian Mcguiness, M.D., trauma surgery, Walnut CreekRamin A. Behmand, M.D., plastic surgery, Walnut CreekRalph Kiernan, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Redwood City
Defendant's Medical Experts: None.
Plaintiff's Technical Experts: Larry Neuman, accident reconstruction, LoomisPatrick Mason, economics
Defendant's Technical Experts: Mike Olivera, accident reconstruction, Danville
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
Sean Choy, 35, was riding his motorcycle to his construction job on Nov, 7, 2007, when he was broadsided on Pacheco Boulevard at South Buchanan Circle in Pacheco by a Mori Hatsushi & Associates pickup truck driven by employee Masaru Hatsushi.
Hatsushi, who died before the trial started, was the 72-year-old uncle of the firm's owners, Mori and Tomiko Hatsushi.
That Masaru Hatsushi was in the course and scope of his employment with Mori Hatsushi and Associates on day of the accident and was carrying corporate-owned equipment to a job site, Kaiser Hospital in Walnut Creek, at the direction of Mori Hatsushi, the President of Mori Hatsushi and Associates Inc.
That Masaru Hatsushi was an employee of the company who had been removed from its insurance policy because of his poor driving record.
That there was no documentation to support the claim that he had retired the week before the accident.
That Masaru Hatsushi was not working for Mori Hatsushi and Associates and that as corporate officers they were not personally liable for negligent retention and ratification.
That the landscaping firm was not liable for Choy's injuries because Masaru Hatsushi had retired from the company a week before the accident and was in the process of returning equipment when he struck Choy.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Plaintiff was in a coma for six weeks after the collision. He suffered brain damage, facial and spinal fractures and a punctured lung. He lost his spleen and his left arm was paralyzed.
Complete loss of use of left arm, brain damage, loss of spleen, fractures of spine and right arm, massive fractures of facial bones.
Inability to work and play like a normal human being. Anger issues related to brain damages, emotional distress from injuries.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $463,671
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $1,000,000
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $145,117
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $604,558