LOS ANGELES (July 31, 2018) – Following a five-day admitted liability trial, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury in Long Beach ruled in favor of the defense – awarding a $187,500 verdict versus the $2 million requested by a plaintiff injured in a Santa Monica bar.
According to Tyson & Mendes Partner Kevin Place, lead attorney for the defense, the case involved plaintiff Kimberlin Garr, a customer at Copa d’Oro, who was injured after the foot rail on her barstool broke as she was re-positioning herself, causing her to fall backward off the stool.
The plaintiff’s claims totaled more than $2 million to compensate for the injuries she sustained, claiming soft tissue issues, cubital tunnel syndrome in her right elbow, AC separation in her right shoulder and fibromyalgia. Her claims also sought damages for past loss of earnings capacity, future loss of earnings capacity, past general damages and future general damages.
Place, along with Tyson & Mendes Senior Counsel Marsha Yasuda, represented Copa d’Oro, a popular upscale cocktail lounge near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. While admitting liability on behalf of their client, they were also able to prove that the plaintiff’s original demands were excessive.
“We recognized that the plaintiff was indeed injured, but successfully argued that she only be compensated for reasonable damages relating directly to the accident,” Place said.
As an example, he said, Tyson & Mendes argued the jury should factor in the plaintiff’s earnings prior to the fall when calculating wage loss. “Ms. Garr earned more after the incident in her first year as real estate agent than her pre-incident income as a dental hygienist last year. We encouraged the jury to take this into account.”
Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense and Copa d’Oro, awarding Garr only $37,500 for past loss of earnings, $0 for future loss of earnings capacity, $50,000 in past general damages and $100,000 for future general damages, a total of $187,000 – less than 10 percent of the plaintiff’s damages request to the jury. The jury verdict was less than the defense 998 Offer to Compromise, thereby positioning the defense to recover significant expert costs to reduce the verdict amount.
Place noted his firm’s core defense methods of accepting responsibility, giving a defense number, and personalizing the corporate defendant played a key role in achieving this defense verdict. “We are sympathetic to Ms. Garr and her injuries and our client accepted responsibility for the accident,” he said. “But the plaintiff’s claims in this case were exorbitant and unreasonable, and it is our duty to achieve justice for all – including small businesses and large corporate citizens.”
About Tyson & Mendes LLP
Headquartered in San Diego with offices throughout the country, Tyson & Mendes LLP is an AV-rated litigation firm specializing in insurance defense. Firm principals Robert Tyson and Patrick Mendes are seasoned trial attorneys who collectively have a nearly 50-year background defending corporations, insurance companies, and their clients in civil litigation matters throughout California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Washington and Florida. The firm is most widely recognized for winning the landmark Howell v. Hamilton Meats California Supreme Court case on the “billed vs. paid” medical damages issue, which forever changed the state’s litigation landscape by significantly impacting the damages a plaintiff may recover. Visit www.tysonmendes.com.