City garbage truck hits plaintiff's car. $2.5M. San Diego County.


Defense admits trash truck hit plaintiff, but says the impact could not have caused the claimed injury.

The Case

  • Case Name: Kekoa Young v. City of San Diego
  • Court and Case Number: San Diego County Superior Court / 37-2021-00017371-CU-PA-CTL
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, June 13, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, May 26, 2020
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Truck vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Joel R. Wohlfeil
  • Plaintiffs:
    Kekoa Young
  • Defendants:
    City of San Diego
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $2,515,547.46
  • Net Verdict or Award: $2,515,547.46
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None
  • Economic Damages:

    Past: $175,547.46

    Future: $200,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $540,000

    Future: $1,600,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 1/2 hours

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    HHJ Trial Attorneys by Elliott Jung and Adam Hepburn, Carlsbad.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani by William Coggshall and Jan Buddingh, San Diego.

The Experts

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    James Bruffey, M.D., spine surgery.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Eugene Vanderpol, accident reconstruction/biomechanics.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Mark Gomez, Ph.D., biomechanics.

    David Casteel, accident reconstruction.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff, a 40-year-old man, was stopped at a stop sign when he was hit by a City of San Diego garbage truck. The truck was making a left-hand turn while on route to pick up residential garbage bins and hit plaintiff's front right bumper/quarter panel.

    Plaintiff's friend arrived on scene and drove him to Urgent Care.

    Plaintiff subsequently received chiropractor treatment, pain management treatment and also, a minimally invasive microdiscectomy surgery a year after the crash because he had a 10-11 mm herniation at the L5-S1 level. After the surgery, plaintiff underwent physical therapy, more pain management, and acupuncture.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant caused all of plaintiff's injuries.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That plaintiff was not seriously injured in the crash; that the impact was less than 10 mph with superficial damage to his vehicle, and that plaintiff’s friend told him to call an attorney right away on the same day. Also, that plaintiff had complained of preexisting back pain to his providers.

    Further, that plaintiff went to work the day after the crash and never stopped working as a bartender at a nightclub and as a chef. Defendant also had sub rosa of plaintiff walking his dog, washing the windows outside his house, bending over with his dogs, working in the nightclub and bending over, etc.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    10-11mm disk herniation at L5-S1.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $175,547.46
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $200,000.00
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,240,095 on July 21, 2022
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $400,000 on July 7, 2022; then, $700,000 on May 16, 2023.