Case details

Plaintiff claimed luggage cart accident caused injuries





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain injury, herniated disc, knee, meniscus, neck, tear, traumatic brain injury
On Dec. 13, 2013, plaintiff Jose Jimenez, 32, a jet mechanic, was waiting to work on an airplane that was arriving at Gate 26 at Los Angeles International Airport when he and another jet mechanic, Christopher Martinez, were struck by a 7,000- to 10,000-pound luggage tug operated by Carlos Badio. Jimenez claimed to his head, neck, back and a knee. Jimenez sued Badio and Badio’s employer, Swissport SA LLC (formally known as Servisair Americas Inc.). Jimenez alleged that Badio was negligent in the operation of the luggage tug and that Swissport was vicariously liable for Badio’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. Martinez filed a related lawsuit (Docket No. BC602294), but his case was dismissed. Jimenez’s counsel contended that Badio had no training and was operating the tug under the jet bridge at a speed of 10 to 15 mph, in violation of the Los Angeles World Airport rules. Swissport admitted that it was vicariously liable for Badio’s conduct and that Badio was negligent, but it asserted that Jimenez was also negligent. Specifically, defense counsel argued that Jimenez failed to remove aircraft chocks, wedges of sturdy material placed closely against the wheels to prevent accidental movement, while doing a foreign area debris walk, where the mechanic would walk around the aircraft collecting any trash, etc. Based on the finding in “Diaz v. Carcamo” (2011) 51 Cal.4th 1148, plaintiff’s counsel was precluded from bringing into evidence before the jury specific instances of alleged employer negligence, including allegations of negligent hiring, retention and training, since Swissport admitted negligence and vicarious liability., Jimenez claimed he sustained a mild traumatic brain injury, chondral damage and a lateral meniscal injury to a knee, and herniated cervical and lumbar discs at the C5-6, C6-7, L3-4 and L4-5 levels. He presented to the emergency room at Centinela Hospital Medical Center, in Inglewood, and ultimately received lumbar injections and underwent physical therapy. Jimenez claimed that he now suffers from knee and spinal limitations, as well as headaches, and that as a result, will not be able to work again. He alleged that he will require four back surgeries, extensive physical and psychotherapy to address his alleged traumatic brain injury and future income loss, and future knee treatments, including double knee replacements. The plaintiff’s vocational rehabilitation expert opined that due to Jimenez’s restrictions, Jimenez could not go back to working as a jet mechanic. Jimenez sought recovery of $262,000 in past medical expenses, $188,000 in past income loss, and $1.9 million in future income loss and future medical costs. He also sought recovery of general damages, not exceeding $25 million, for his past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Jamie Jimenez, presented a derivative claim, seeking recovery for her loss of consortium, but her claim was dismissed before the commencement of the jury being sworn in. Defense counsel argued that the subject accident did not cause Mr. Jimenez to suffer the extensive he claimed or to incur the costs of diagnosing or treating those alleged . Defense counsel contended that the plaintiff’s own doctors opined that Jimenez would be able to work with appropriate treatment, although not at a job that required lifting more than 20 pounds or standing and sitting for more than two hours without a break. Counsel further contended that the plaintiff’s damages experts based their calculations on an assumption that Jimenez would never be able to work again, in any capacity, and did not consider the possibility of part-time work. Defense counsel asked the jury to award Jimenez $30,000 in total damages with up to 50 percent comparative fault being attributed to Jimenez.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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