Dump truck collides at intersection with teenager's vehicle. $1.5M. San Diego County.


Plaintiff says at scene that he doesn't require treatment, later claims back injury.

The Case

  • Case Name: Stephen Kluthe v. Charles Doherty Concrete
  • Court and Case Number: San Diego Superior Court / 37-2015-00037880
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, October 17, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, November 10, 2015
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Truck vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Ronald F. Frazier
  • Plaintiffs:
    Stephen Kluthe, 18.
  • Defendants:
    Charles Doherty Concrete and Richard Holladay
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,552,917.56
  • Net Verdict or Award: $1,506,330.03 with comparative fault; $1,700,000+ after pre-judgment interest, expert costs and prevailing party costs.
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 3% comparative fault.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical expenses: $52,917.56 

    Future medical expenses: $300,000 

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $80,000

    Future: $1,120,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 6 hours.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Panish Shea & Boyle by Robert Glassman, Los Angeles.

    Estes & Associates by Jeff Estes, San Diego.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:
  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Santa Cruz, Brownwood & Cannon by Sylvia Aceves, San Diego.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    William Curran, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Richard Greenfield, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On October 8, 2014, plaintiff and his passenger were stopped at the intersection of El Camino Real and Cannon in Carlsbad. When the light turned green, he entered the intersection and was struck on the driver's side by a dump truck. Plaintiff refused treatment at the scene, but later was found to have suffered a back injury. He had seven epidurals over the next four years. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff argued that defendant ran a red light and was negligent in causing the collision. Plaintiff argued that he suffered a back injury and would need future surgery.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant disputed liability. Defendant argued that he entered the intersection on a yellow light and that plaintiff accelerated early and too quickly from the green light. Defendant also disputed the nature and extent of injuries.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff was  initially diagnosed with sprain and strain to his lower back. An MRI revealed disc herniation at L4-5 and L5-S1.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $325,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $140,000

Additional Notes

Per defense counsel:

The case initially involved two plaintiffs. The second plaintiff was a passenger in Kluthe’s vehicle. Both plaintiffs were involved in a significant accident about nine months prior to this accident. The passenger was dismissed for a waiver of costs the day before trial and, as a result, the prior accident and alleged injuries were kept out via motion in limine.