Pedestrian hit in crosswalk and carried 30 feet on hood of car. $5.1M. Contra Costa County.


The policy limits were $1 million and the final pretrial offer at the MSC was $750,000.

The Case

  • Case Name: Laura Guillen Flores v. Zahoor Ahmad dba American Cab Co.
  • Court and Case Number: Contra Costa Superior Court / MSC17-01544
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, January 30, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, August 14, 2017
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - vs. Pedestrian
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Clare Maier
  • Plaintiffs:
    Laura Guillen Flores
  • Defendants:
    Zahoor Ahmad dba American Cab Co.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $5,143,141
  • Net Verdict or Award: $5,143,141
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    $5,143,141 as against defendant Ahmad

  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 100% fault to defendant Ahmad; no comparative
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical care: $100,480

    Future medical care: $2,042,161 

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $1,000,000 

    Future: $2,000,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: Jan 9 to Jan 30, 2023 (14 days)
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day and 1 hour
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 on all questions
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for JNOV denied, but motion for new trial has been granted.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Dordick Law Corporation by Mark J. Leonardo and Christopher V. Bulone, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Clapp Moroney et al by Andrew K. Murphy and Randolph Greenwald, Pleasanton.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Andrew Fox, M.D., neurosurgery.

    Harpreet Singh, M.D., neurology.

    Sharon Perlman Berry, Psy.D., neuropsychology.

    Kelly Ehrhardt, RN, life care planning.

    Murray Solomon, M.D., neuroradiology.

    Christian Foglar, M.D., orthopedic surgery. (Treating physician.)

    Justin Tin, DDS, oral surgery. (Treating physician.)

    Fred Samimi, M.D., neurology. (Treating physician.)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Jerome Barakos, M.D., neuroradiology.

    Charles Filanosky, neuropsychology.

    Michael Remler, M.D., neurology.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Andrew Morris, D.C., billing.

    Timothy Lanning, economics.

    Ted Kobayashi, accident reconstruction.

    Frank Perez, Ph.D., human factors.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Donald Margolis, Ph.D., accident reconstruction.

    Erwin Boer, Ph.D., human factors.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On November 18, 2015 at 6 a.m., plaintiff was walking to the bus stop on her way to work. She walked east down her street to the corner, then walked north in the crosswalk to the other side, and then waited for traffic to clear before crossing the street eastbound.

    Defendant driver was traveling west and stopped at a stop sign about 50 feet north of the crosswalk that plaintiff began to cross. Defendant made a left turn to head south and collided with plaintiff in the crosswalk, where her face slammed onto the hood of the car. Plaintiff's teeth dented the hood of the car and she broke her mandible and lost six teeth.

    The taxi carried her approximately 30 feet and stopped, where plaintiff slid off onto the ground, face down. The responding police officer found her lying face down in a pool of blood with several of her teeth. She was unresponsive. Plaintiff was transported to the hospital by ambulance where emergency surgery was performed on her jaw and her mouth was wired shut. She was released from the hospital the following day.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff claimed that she appropriately crossed the street within the marked crosswalk and defendant was inattentive and negligent when he struck plaintiff in the crosswalk with his taxi.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant contended that plaintiff did not cross in the crosswalk, but instead crossed diagonally and was 19 feet outside of the crosswalk when she was struck by defendant. Also, that it was dark, so defendant could not see plaintiff.

    While defendant conceded that plaintiff' jaw was broken, he contested all other injuries, most notably the traumatic brain injury, claiming that any mental health issues stemmed from her preexisting mental health issues. He also claimed that the white matter gliosis scars depicted on her brain MRI was normal and not the result of trauma.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff's jaw was broken in three places, she lost six teeth, suffered injury to her neck, back and both knees, injured her eardrum and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

    Plaintiff's expert opined that the brain MRIs depicted white matter gliosis scars, which were consistent with axonal shearing. Dr. Solomon also opined that the 7.9% FA Value asymmetry was highly suspicious of brain injury and since such asymmetry was greater than three standard deviations from the mean, there was a less than 1% chance that it was normal.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $104,479.05
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $3.5 - $4.9 million
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: N/A
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: N/A

Additional Notes

The policy limits were $1 million and the final pretrial offer at the MSC was $750,000 and the final demand was $775,000, but the carrier refused to budge.

The defendant's offer after closing argument was $700,000, which was rejected. Plaintiff's final 998 was for $1 million and interest will run from an earlier 998 in February 2018.