Defense verdict in rear-ender. Riverside County.


Low-impact rear-ender blamed for back injuries. Defense says injuries were degenerative.

The Case

  • Case Name: Antonio Martinez and Julia Martinez v. Samuel Bautista
  • Court and Case Number: Riverside County Superior Court / RIC1704354
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, August 10, 2021
  • Type of Case: Vehicles – rear-ender
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Harold W. Hopp
  • Plaintiffs:
    Antonio Martinez and Julia Martinez
  • Defendants:
    Samuel Bautista
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: Defense verdict
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 hours
  • Jury Polls: 12-0
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defendant intends to file a Memorandum of Costs.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Office of David Lynn by David Lynn, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Gates, Gonter, Guy, Proudfoot & Muench, LLP by Gina Y. Kandarian-Stein and Elham R. Rabbani, Irvine.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    David Choi, D.C., chiropractic.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Gary Painter, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    David Choi, D.C., accident reconstruction.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Alvin Lowi, P.E., accident reconstruction.

    Douglas Kiester, M.D., biomechanics.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On March 21, 2015, plaintiff Julia Martinez (64 years old) was driving a 2014 Nissan Sentra. Plaintiff Antonio Martinez (64 years old) was a passenger in the Nissan Sentra.

    Plaintiffs’ vehicle was rear-ended by defendant Samuel Bautista’s 2005 GMC Sierra on John F. Kennedy Drive at the intersection of Perris Boulevard in Moreno Valley.

    Plaintiffs did not have complaints of pain, discomfort or problems at the scene. The damage to plaintiffs’ vehicle amounted to $2,836.27. Damage to defendant’s vehicle amounted to $892.02.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff Julia Martinez alleged she sustained injuries to the neck, left shoulder, and lumbar spine. Plaintiff Antonio Martinez alleged he sustained injuries to the neck, shoulder, right hip, and right knee. Plaintiffs alleged they needed pain management treatment in the future as a result of their injuries.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability and disputed the nature and extent of injuries and damages alleged by plaintiffs.

    Defendant argued plaintiffs did not complain of any pain, discomfort or problems at the scene of the accident. Police were not called to the scene and plaintiffs were not seen by paramedics at the scene. Plaintiffs did not go to a hospital, urgent care or see their primary doctor. Plaintiffs admitted that their bodies did not move or hit anything inside of the car at the time of the accident.

    Further, both plaintiffs had experienced work injuries in 2010. Dr. Painter testified that each of the plaintiffs’ MRIs taken after the subject accident showed their longstanding degenerative changes that were not made worse by the accident.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: Julia: $15,000; Antonio: $12,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: On October 15, 2018, to Julia: $2,501; to Antonio: $2,501. On September 24, 2019, $5,000 to each.

Additional Notes

The parties were ordered to a pre-trial mediation on the date of trial. Plaintiffs demanded $54,000. Defendant made a global offer of $11,000. As the jury was being selected, defendant offered plaintiffs $18,000 globally.

Plaintiff asked the jury to award $75,000 to plaintiff Julia Martinez and $75,000 to plaintiff Antonio Martinez. Defense asked the jury to award plaintiffs nothing.