Plaintiff suffers TBI when hit by a car while he was in the street after dark, helping a dog owner and his injured dog. Medical and loss of earnings damages waived. Defense offered policy limit of $100,000 only three months before trial.
- Case Name: Joesph Butenhoff v. Rae Anne Bautista
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC521696
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, August 12, 2015
- Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
- Type of Case: Vehicles - vs. Pedestrian
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Burt Pines
Plaintiffs: Joseph Butenhoff, 33, cell-phone tower builder
Defendants: Rae Anne Bautista
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $3,000,000
- Net Verdict or Award: $1,950,000 net after comparative negligence by plaintiff.
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: Defendant: 65%, Plaintiff: 35%
Plaintiff waived all claims for past and future medical specials; Plaintiff waived loss of earnings.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 7 days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 4 hours
- Jury Polls: 9-3: Liability; 10-2: Damages
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff will be filing a motion for costs.
Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Bisnar | Chase, LLP by H. Gavin Long, Newport Beach.
Attorney for the Defendant:
Kinkle Rodiger & Spriggs by Michael Moon, Riverside.
Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Ken Nudleman, M.D., neurology, Santa Ana.
Jon Wen, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Torrance. (Treating physician.)
Kendall Wagner, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Fullerton.
Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Robert Baird, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Irvine.
Thomas DiJulio, M.D., neurology,, Long Beach.
Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Peter Burkhard, accident reconstruction.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
On December 3, 2012, at 7:30pm, plaintiff was standing in the #1 lane of northbound Palo Verde in the city of Long Beach, helping a dog owner whose dog was previously hit by a car. The dog was lying in the northbound #1 lane. Defendant was driving northbound in the #1 lane when she swerved left to avoid hitting the dog and instead hit plaintiff. The incident happened at night in a dark area of a residential neighborhood.
The traffic collision report noted that plaintiff was 100% at fault.
That defendant failed to watch the road ahead; that plaintiff had been present in the #1 lane with the injured dog and it's owner while other vehicles were slowly passing in the #2 northbound lane; that while driving in the #1 lane, defendant passed the vehicles in the #2 lane which had slowed, and then struck plaintiff.
That the investigating officer found plaintiff 100% at fault. That plaintiff violated CVC 21954 - pedestrian in the roadway. That defendant did her best to avoid the incident by swerving when she saw plaintiff.
That plaintiff recovered from his injuries after 7 months. That plaintiff went back to work after a year, earning the same pay and doing the same type of work. That since plaintiff has a physically demanding job where he builds and maintains cell site towers, climbs up to 60 feet, and drives a company vehicle, he cannot be hurt as badly as claimed; that he is functioning well in his daily life.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Traumatic Brain Injury, fractured hip, torn meniscus, other cuts and lacerations.
Depression and anxiety.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: None
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: None
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $875,000
- Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $100,000 (policy limit) two months before trial.