Toddler, age 18 months, was playing in the yard of an apartment building when defendant, a tenant in the building, backed up his SUV and ran over her, causing severe injury.
- Case Name: Mireyli Gomez v. Hugo Aguirre, Jim Fakhoury
- Court and Case Number: Riverside Superior Court Case / RIC1112097
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, November 08, 2013
- Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, July 20, 2011
- Type of Case: Vehicles - vs. Pedestrian
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Ronald Taylor
Plaintiffs: Mireyli Gomez (18-months-old at time of injury)
Defendants: Hugo Aguirre (driver)Jim Fakhoury (apartment building owner)
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $25,000,000
- Net Verdict or Award: $25,000,000
Award as to each Defendant:
$25 million against defendant driver, Hugo Aguirre. Defendant building owner, Fakhoury, settled out at the start of trial. Defendant Aguirre was not represented by counsel at trial, but plaintiff counsel reports that, after the verdict, "a confidential settlement was reached with respect to all parties."
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 100% liability against Aguirre.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 Days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 45 Minutes
- Jury Polls: No poll
Attorney for the Plaintiff: Owen, Patterson & Owen by Gregory Owen and Susan A. Owen, Valencia.
Attorney for the Defendant: Defendant Aguirre not represented by counsel at trial.Robert A. Walker, Riverside, for Defendant Fakhoury (settled out).
Plaintiff’s Medical Experts: Keith E. Liberman, M.D., orthopedics, Beverly Hills.
Defendant's Medical Experts: Kendall S. Wagner, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Fullerton.
Plaintiff's Technical Experts: Timothy Lanning, Ph.D., economics, Santa Ana.John M. Muse, accident reconstruction, Huntington Beach.
Defendant's Technical Experts: None
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
On June 25, Mireyli Gomez, age 18 months, was playing with her siblings outside the apartment complex where they lived in a 300-square-foot rental unit. Court testimony shows the Defendant, Hugo Aguirre, had been drinking alcohol in the apartment complex's parking lot. He subsequently got into his large SUV and backed his vehicle into the area where the children were playing.
Court documents show that all of the Gomez children escaped to safety except for Mireyli, who was run over by the rear tire of the SUV. Aguirre stopped his vehicle after he drove over Mireyli, then shifted into drive and rolled over her a second time, crushing her pelvis and causing her to suffer a multitude of very serious injuries.
As documented in court records, Aguirre fled the scene following the accident, but was later arrested and convicted of hit and run.
That Hugo Aguirre was negligent in operating his vehicle; that the defendant apartment building owner had a duty to make the apartment complex safe for children.
That defendant apartment building owner was not responsible for the accident; that the cause of the accident was inattentive driving by defendant Aguirre and lack of supervision of the child by her mother.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Multiple pelvic fractures, including right acetabulum, as well as internal injuries.
Court documents further show that Mireyli Gomez's severe injuries required multiple surgeries and a lengthy stay of two months at Loma Linda Medical Center.
Plaintiff attorney notes that as of January, 2014, the child is able to run and play with her friends, but tires after 30 minutes and shows a limp.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $714, 964.74
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $1,444,617.00
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $588,961.00