A 6 week jury trial in Riverside Superior Court was over after only 45 minutes of jury deliberation when all 4 clients defended by Orange County Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson & Haluck Partners, Gary Hoffman and Tracy Hughes, were each granted 12-0 defense verdicts.
The case arose from a motorcycle accident on July 17, 2005 on a paved detour road outside the City of Temecula in Riverside County, California. The detour road had been built to redirect traffic around a huge Metropolitan Water District (MWD) project involving placement of new water lines to service Northern San Diego County. Plaintiff, 43 year old Laron Daffin, lost control of his Harley Davidson motorcycle on the detour road. His legs and arm were torn up, resulting in multiple surgeries, orthopedic hardware, multiple skin grafts, and medical specials totaling around $575,000.00. He suffered an MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) infection at the hospital, and alleged future life care plan totaling around $370,000.00. His legs were permanently disfigured in the accident and he claimed further surgery was needed. Doctors had been considering amputation of one of his legs.
The only solid pretrial demand was $4.3 Million which did not include loss of earnings. Plaintiff claimed that the defendants were liable due to the waviness of the asphalt detour road and that there was inadequate signage on the road. Plaintiff's liability argument focused on disagreements between the defendants over asphalt thickness and need for aggregate sub-base. There had been allegations as to the adequacy of the compaction of the soil underneath the paved detour road. Plaintiff also tried to highlight the builder's alleged reticence to expend funds for a separate detour road rather than utilizing existing roads for that purpose.
The defense emphasized that there had been no other incidents during the 5 month lifespan of this temporary road. Defense expert testimony was presented that Plaintiff was traveling at 39 mph in the posted 25 mph detour zone when he laid his bike down. KNCH Partners Gary Hoffman & Tracy Hughes represented all defendants, JF Shea Construction the general contractor of the project, Diamond Paving the asphalt paving subcontractor, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the County of Riverside. Two previous motions for summary judgment had been presented but the defendants were not vindicated until the jury presented their 12-0 defense verdict.
Congratulations on a job well done to our Orange County Partners, Gary Hoffman and Tracy Hughes.