Synopsis: The Jury found that Defendant was not at fault for motor vehicle accident caused by one or both vehicles crossing the center line.
Case Type: Negligence – Auto
Case Name: Duval v Phillips
Case Number: SCV-248990
Trial Type: Expedited Jury Trial
Trial Length: 2 days
Verdict for: Defense
Attorney for Plaintiff: Debra Newby, Newby Law Offices, Santa Rosa, CA
Attorney for Defense: Daphne Beletsis, Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller & Moskowitz, Santa Rosa, CA
Judge: Honorable Arthur Wick
Facts: Plaintiff and defendant were traveling in opposite directions on a rural road. One or both cars crossed over the center line and the two cars sideswiped each other. No police or ambulance was called.
Contentions: Plaintiff claimed soft-tissue injury to her back, neck and shoulder. Liability was contested by defendant who contended it was plaintiff who crossed over the center line. Plaintiff offered the testimony of a witness who did not see the collision occur, but arrived on scene immediately after. He testified that defendant made several admissions, including apologizing for the accident, and admitting she had crossed over the center line, and saying that she had been in a rush. Defendant contended that plaintiff and the witness were both firefighters, were friends, and were both just returning from spending time together.
Result: The jury deliberated for approximately 1.5 hours and then returned a 7-1 verdict that defendant was not at fault.
Settlement Negotiations: Plaintiff made a 998 offer of $23,700. Defendant submitted a 998 offer for $2501.
Experts for Plaintiff: Plaintiff did not call any retained experts.
Experts for Defense: Defendant did not call any retained experts.
Submitted by: Sergio Romero, student at Empire College School of Law
Article from Sonoma County Bar: http://www.sonomacountrybar.org