Unsafe lane change into path of motorcylist results in paraplegia. $9 million. Los Angeles County.


Driver changes lanes to turn right, cutting off motorcycle that then collides with car.  Plaintiff, age 25, paraplegia.

The Case

  • Case Name: Carlos Madrigal v. Richard Tang and Anna Tang
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court, Central District / BC445794
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, October 04, 2012
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, September 17, 2010
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Lane Change, Vehicles - Motorcycle
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Terry A. Green
  • Plaintiffs:
    Carlos Madrigal, 25, employed as a driver.
  • Defendants:
    Richard Tang and Anna Tang
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $9,349,169.65 plus pre-judgment interest and costs of $1,331,482.15
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 11 days
  • Jury Polls: 9-3 on liability

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    The Homampour Law Firm by Arash Homampour, Sherman Oaks.
    Madison Law Group by Kyle K. Madison, Los Angeles.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    McClaugherty & Associates by Jay S. McClaugherty, Arcadia.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Lawrence Miller, M.D., pain management, Santa Monica.
    Bennett Williamson, Ph.D., psychology, Los Angeles.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Marshall Grode, M.D., neurosurgery, Los Angeles.
    Thomas Hedge, M.D., rehabilitation, Northridge.
    Stephen L.G. Rothman, M.D., radiology, Los Angeles.
    Lester M. Zackler, M.D., neuropsychiatry, Sherman Oaks.
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Jan Roughan, R.N., life care planning, Monrovia.
    Janice Wexler, vocational rehabilitation, Burbank.
    David Fractor, Ph.D., economist, Pasadena.
    Joseph Yates, accident reconstruction, Yorba Linda.
    Robert Caldwell, accident reconstruction / human factors, Lafayette, CO.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Alessandor Anfuso, vocational rehabilitation, Diamond Bar.
    Gregory W. Applegate, arborist, Tustin.
    Stephen Michael Cook, general contractor, Canoga.
    David F. Grimes, land surveyor, Los Angeles.
    Stacey Helvin, life care planning, Anaheim.
    Terence C. Honikman, Ph.D., accident reconstruction, Santa Barbara.
    Paul Kayfetz, Ph.D., accident simulation, Bolinas.
    Keith McKibben, motorcycle safety / accident reconstruction, Santa Ana.
    David Royer, P.E., traffic safety, Santa Clarita.
    Mark S. Sanders, Ph.D., human factors, Encino.
    Karen Smith, M.S., economist, San Marino.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On July 13, 2009, Defendant Richard Tang (while operating a vehicle registered to Anna Tang) was traveling westbound on Vernon Avenue. Defendant was traveling in the number one lane, subsequently moving into the number two lane, and then turning right onto a driveway when plaintiff’s motorcycle collided with the rear passenger side panel and tire of defendants’ vehicle.

    Plaintiff did not have motorcycle insurance and was limited to past and future medical expenses and loss of earnings.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That Defendant Richard Tang was negligent in operating his motor vehicle by making an unsafe lane change directly into plaintiff’s lane of travel. 

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That he was not in the center lane, but in the curb lane and that plaintiff was negligent in the operation of his motorcycle by attempting to unsafely pass defendant’s vehicle in a move commonly known as “gutter sniping.”

    Defendant also disputed the amount and nature of plaintiff’s future medical care and loss of earnings.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff suffered a complete spinal injury and is paraplegic.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $99,880.15
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: Disputed.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $144,283.50
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: Disputed.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $999,999.00 on 12/21/2010 and $1,999,999.00 on 08/19/11.
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $100,000 on 12/10/10.