Congratulations to Martha J. Dorsey, Managing Partner of our San Diego office, for the favorable February 6th verdict after a weeklong jury trial in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of a property owner in connection with a negligence action arising from another defendant's unprovoked knife attack that happened on the property. Ms. Dorsey's defense emphasized the lack of foreseeability of the attack.
The property owner became the focus of the Plaintiff's case only after the suicide of the attacker and resulting insolvency of his estate. Negligence, including punitive damages, was alleged. Plaintiff's pre-trial demand to Ms. Dorsey's client was $300,000. A statutory offer of $17,500 was made on behalf of the property owner. Plaintiff's attorney presented limited evidence against the attacker and focused on attempting to establish that the property owner had a duty to warn the Plaintiff of the possible presence of the attacker. The jury found that the attacker was 92% responsible for the Plaintiff's injury, with Ms. Dorsey's client only 4% responsible; equal to the Plaintiff's own 4% contributory negligence. The jury's total damage award as to Ms. Dorsey's client, without factoring in joint and several liability, would amount to less than $6,000. Congratulations on a job well done!