Forklift on road crushes man's feet in crosswalk. $10.9M. Los Angeles County.


Event planner is struck in crosswalk by forklift that runs over his feet.  Section 998 demand of $3 million.

The Case

  • Case Name: James Cobb v. County of Los Angeles
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC582690
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, August 24, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Thursday, May 21, 2015
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - vs. Pedestrian
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Anthony Mohr
  • Plaintiffs:
    James Cobb, 34, event coordinator.
  • Defendants:
    County of Los Angeles
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $10,897,636.61
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical expenses: $109,096.61

    Past loss of earnings: $83,360

    Future medical expenses: 0

    Future loss of earnings: $905,180

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $2,500,000

    Future: $7.300,000

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    The Vartazarian Law Firm by Steven Vartazarian and Matthew Whibley, Sherman Oaks.

    Daniels Law by Bill Daniels, Sherman Oaks.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Collins Collins Muir + Stewart LLP by Tomas Guterres, Vanessa Evangelista and Joshua Shuster, South Pasadena.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Timothy Charlton M.D., (non-retained) orthopedic, Los Angeles.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Kendall Wagner, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Fullerton.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Paul Broadus, vocational rehabilitation, Claremont. 

    Tamorah Hunt, Ph.D., economics, Santa Ana.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    David Wiener, economics, Los Angeles.

    John Gardiner, accident reconstruction, Los Angeles.

    Edward Bennet, vocational rehabilitation, Glendale.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff was a 34-year-old event coordinator working for Classic Party Rentals. On January 15, 2015, plaintiff, who lives in downtown Los Angeles, got ready for work and drove to the W Hotel in Hollywood where he spent 15 minutes servicing a client’s account. At around 8:30 a.m., plaintiff began making his way over to the LAC+USC facility in order to check up on an event at the pharmacy school. At 9:14 a.m., plaintiff parked his vehicle at meter MD226, and put one dollar in the meter. While walking through a marked crosswalk, plaintiff was run over by defendant's employee, who was driving a forklift. Plaintiff sustained crush injuries to his feet. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant driver was negligent in the operation of the forklift and completely at fault for the accident.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability, alleged comparative fault and disputed the claimed degree of injury.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff was crushed by the forklift. He sustained multiple fractures including the second metatarsal fracture. Posttraumatic arthritis. His toe was fused. Skin grafts on his legs. Extreme Pes Planus (i.e., where the arch of the foot has been flattened).

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $3,000,000 - two years before trial.
  • Defendant Offer during Trial: $5,000,000 before deliberations.