Los Angeles Office Secures Favorable Jury Verdict in High-Exposure Serious Injury Matter

Los Angeles, Calif. (July 29, 2022) - Los Angeles Partner Andrew C. Hubert recently secured a favorable verdict on behalf of Lewis Brisbois’ client in a high-exposure matter involving serious injuries when the jury awarded the plaintiff only a small fraction of her multimillion-dollar demand.

The Underlying Case

In the underlying case, the plaintiff was a 44-year-old married homemaker with two young sons, who sustained injuries while at a clothing liquidation sale. The sale was located in the parking lot of Lewis Brisbois’ client’s warehouse in Los Angeles. As the plaintiff was looking through a box of clothing, another shopper pulled several items out of the box and caught the plaintiff’s left eye with a coat hanger, tearing her eye muscle and eye lid. Following the incident, the plaintiff underwent two eye surgeries. She was left with permanent double vision in her left eye when looking in a particular direction.

The plaintiff subsequently sued Lewis Brisbois’ client, claiming negligence and premises liability. She contended that Lewis Brisbois’ client created an aggressive and chaotic shopping environment, which included shoppers running, grabbing clothing, and fighting with each other.

Trial and Expert Testimony

At trial, the plaintiff was represented by an experienced and accomplished attorney who told the jury that the value of the case was $38,482,093 and that Lewis Brisbois’ client was 100% at fault. The plaintiff presented expert testimony asserting that there was no management or safety precautions at the clothing sale. In addition, the plaintiff’s vocational expert testified that the plaintiff, who had a master's degree in architecture, was permanently disabled from all employment due to her eye condition as well as post-injury diagnoses of PTSD and depression. The expert estimated that the plaintiff’s income loss was between $2,902,826 and $2,525,932. Moreover, other experts testified to a life care plan of $3,615,229, which included daily in-home lifetime care, a driver, a dietician, and aquatic therapy.

Lewis Brisbois successfully excluded the plaintiff’s human factors expert entirely for cumulative, improper opinions, and presented evidence that the plaintiff was still driving, was involved in volunteering activities, and was employed by a state agency for the purpose of caring for her mother. In addition, Lewis Brisbois contended that based on a surveillance video of the incident, the plaintiff and the other shopper were each 50% negligent and the gross value of the case was between $350,000 and $750,000. The plaintiff’s settlement demand and proposed high-low agreement throughout trial remained in the multimillion-dollar range. Prior to trial defendant served plaintiff with a statutory offer of $500,000 which plaintiff rejected.  

After deliberating for three and a half hours, the jury returned its verdict, finding Lewis Brisbois’ client 33% negligent, the plaintiff 34% negligent, and the unidentified shopper 33% negligent. The plaintiff’s award, after deduction for her comparative fault, was $382,800. The parties settled post trial for the amount of the verdict.

Mr. Hubert is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability Practice. He primarily focuses on insurance defense and personal injury trial work. Over the course of his career, he has taken dozens of cases to trial.

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