Jury verdict of $3.5 million for parents of 18-year-old bicyclist killed by tractor-trailer. Los Angeles County.


Tractor-trailer hits 18-year-old on bicycle, killing her.

The Case

  • Case Name: Juan Medina and Ramona Medina v. Pile Trucking, Inc., Earl Pile Trucking, and Alvin Flynn
  • Court and Case Number: U.S.D.C., Western District / 11-CV-06329 PJW
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, November 02, 2012
  • Type of Case: Bicycle Accident, Vehicles - Intersection, Vehicles - Right Turn, Vehicles - Tractor Trailers, Wrongful Death
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): District Court Judge Patrick J. Walsh and Magistrate Judge Jay C. Gandhi
  • Plaintiffs:
    Juan Medina and Ramona Medina, parents of 18-year-old decedent, Sophia Medina.
  • Defendants:
    Pile Trucking, Inc., Earl Pile Trucking, and Alvin Flynn (driver of truck for Pile Trucking).

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $3,947,577.48 (verdict of $3,500,000.00 plus $347,577.48 in costs and pre-judgment interest)
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 75% to Defendant Flynn and 25% to Decedent Sophia Medina.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defendants’ motion for a new trial was denied by the Court. Plaintiff was awarded an additional $347,577.48 in costs and pre-judgment interest.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    The Homampour Law Firm by Arash Homampour, Sherman Oaks.
    Law Offices of Michael J. Rand by Michael J. Rand, Encino.
    Law Offices of Z. Dean Hakkak by Z. Dean Hakkak, Los Angeles.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Maranga Morgenstern by Robert A. Morgenstern, Woodland Hills.
    Yoka & Smith by Christopher Faenza, Woodland Hills.
    Snyder Law by Gregory M. Smith and Barry C. Snyder, Santa Barbara.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    David King, P.E., accident reconstruction, Laguna Hills.
    V. Paul Herbert, C.P.S.A., motor vehicle safety and compliance, Quincy.
    Jason A. Droll, Ph.D., human factors, Laguna Hills.
    John Kennedy Howard, bicycling standards, Encinitas.
    Jim McCarthy, CCE, forensic cellular examination, Ladera Ranch.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Gerald P. Bretting, P.E., accident reconstruction, El Segundo.
    Michael A. Callahan, BSME, accident simulation, El Segundo.
    John R. Clingerman, CFCE, forensic cellular examination, Rochester, NY.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On July 6, 2009, Decedent Sophia Medina, age 18, was riding her bicycle northbound on the sidewalk on the east side of Goodrich Boulevard in the City of Commerce. As she approached the intersection of Goodrich and Olympic Boulevard, Defendant Flynn was driving his tractor-trailer (in the course and scope of his employment for Pile Trucking, Inc.) northbound on Goodrich Boulevard and parallel to (or to the left of) Sophia.

    Defendant Flynn made a right turn onto Eastbound Olympic and ran over Sophia who had entered the crosswalk on her bicycle either on a flashing pedestrian signal or a red light.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Defendant Alvin Flynn was negligent in making his turn too fast and he should have seen Sophia Medina riding her bike prior to reaching the intersection and starting his turn.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Decedent Sophia Medina was negligent in entering the crosswalk against a red light and she should have seen and kept track of Defendant Flynn before entering the crosswalk.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Plaintiffs sought general damages for the loss of their daughter’s love, comfort, companionship, society, affection, solace, advice, counsel, care, protection, and support.

Additional Notes

Plaintiffs repeatedly demanded the Defendants’ $1 million in policy limits. Defendants offered only $300,000. Plaintiffs also made CCP Section 998 offers to Defendants before removal to Federal Court for the policy limits.