Motorcyclist killed by city truck at intersection. $7M. Los Angeles County.


Motorcyclist dies when he collides with City of Covina truck. Plaintiff had lowered pre-trial demand to $1 million after CCP 998.


The Case

  • Case Name: Laura Asencio v. City of Covina, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC620177
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, October 29, 2018
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Intersection, Vehicles - Motorcycle , Wrongful Death
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Judge James Kaddo
  • Plaintiffs:
    Laura Asencio, mother of decedent.
  • Defendants:
    City of Covina
    Earl Karch, employee driver.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $7,000,000
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 25% to plaintiff; 75% to City of Covina and employee driver.
  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $500,000

    Future: $6,500,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day.
  • Jury Polls: 9-3

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Dordick Law Corporation by Gary A. Dordick and Alaa A. Yasin, Beverly Hills.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Offices of Robert J. Gokoo by Robert Gokoo, Santa Ana.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Ted Kobayashi, accident reconstruction, Livermore.

    Joseph G. Yates, motorcycle operation, Seal Beach.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Stephen B. Garets, motorcycle operation, Corvallis, OR.

    Beau LeBlanc, accident reconstruction, El Segundo.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On February 25, 2016, plaintiff's decedent, David Hernandez, age 21, was killed at the intersection of San Bernardino Road and North Prospero Drive in the City of Covina, when he collided with a truck while riding his motorcycle.

    Defendant City of Covina's employee, Earl Karch, drove his city truck across San Bernardino Road in front of decedent’s motorcycle. Defendant Karch’s intended destination was the City of Covina Public Utility Yard.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant Karch caused the collision when he ran a stop sign and drove his large City of Covina Utility Truck across lanes of traffic, in front of Mr. Hernandez’s motorcycle. Video surveillance showed defendant Karch roll through the stop sign without coming to a complete stop.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That David Hernandez was the sole cause of his death by driving at a high rate of speed. Video showed decedent travelling at 70 mph in a 35-mph zone and he was traveling faster than 70 mph prior to entering the video frame. That had David Hernandez operated the motorcycle at the posted speed limit, this accident could not have occurred.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,250,000
  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $1,000,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $700,000
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $800,000

Additional Notes

Prior to the start of trial, decedent’s father settled his portion of the wrongful death claim for $700,000.

Upon the entering of the judgment, defendants paid the entire verdict.