Accident in turning lane, disputed liability. Defense verdict. Santa Clara County.


MIST plaintiff and defendant driver don't agree on how accident occurred. Was it a U-turn or a left turn?

The Case

  • Case Name: Delgadillo v. Dooley
  • Court and Case Number: Santa Clara County Superior Court / 2015-1-CV-284683
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, January 30, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, August 21, 2015
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Left Turn, Vehicles - U Turn
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Carrie Zepeda
  • Plaintiffs:
    Eugene Delgadillo, 77, retired.
  • Defendants:
    Jeffrey Linville Dooley
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: Defense verdict.
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 1/2 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 hour.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: None.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Seabaugh Law Office by Scott Seabaugh, San Jose.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Carbone, Smoke, Smith, Bent & Leonard, by Christopher W. Rivera, San Jose.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Raymond Hsieh, M.D., pain management, San Jose. (by videotape)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Gordon Levin, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Gatos.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):


  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    James Hughes, accident reconstruction.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    The personal injury action arose out of an auto accident which occurred on June 12, 2014 in the intersection of Tennant Avenue and Butterfield Boulevard in Morgan Hill. There was a dispute as to how the accident occurred.  Plaintiff claimed that as a result of the accident he suffered injuries to his right shoulder, neck, upper and lower back. Plaintiff claimed that the pain in his low back ultimately began to radiate down his right leg. Plaintiff consulted with his primary care physician and received physical therapy. He ultimately had an epidural injection in his low back.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended that the accident was a rear-end accident which occurred when he was making a legal U-turn on Tennant Avenue. Plaintiff argued that he was pain free before the accident, and that all of his subsequent pain was a result of the accident. Plaintiff argued that in addition to the epidural injection he'd had, it was possible he would need three additional injections a year for the rest of his life, which according to life tables would last approximately 10 more years. Plaintiff claimed $1,800 (approximately) in property damage.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant contended that the accident occurred when plaintiff made an illegal left turn from a through lane and collided with defendant. Defendant was in the left-turn-only lane on Tennant Avenue with the lane immediately to his right being a straight through lane. When the turn arrow changed to green, defendant began to make a left turn on to Butterfield Boulevard. As defendant was making his left turn, plaintiff drove across the front of defendant's vehicle, catching the right front of defendant's bumper with the left rear bumper of plaintiff's vehicle. Jim Hughes, the accident reconstruction expert, testified in trial that given the damage to the vehicles, combined with the turning radius of the vehicles, the accident could not have occurred as plaintiff claimed given the location of the accident in the intersection.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff claimed soft tissue injuries to his neck, right shoulder, upper and lower back.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $5,103.84
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $21,000 (approximately)

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $25,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $3,501