Case details

Plaintiff claimed teen party’s host furnished alcohol to driver





Result type

Not present

anxiety, back, cervical, cognition, fracture, fusion, head, headaches, impairment, mental, neck, psychological
On Oct. 1, 2013, plaintiff Alexandria Ring, 18, a high school student, was a passenger in a sport utility vehicle that was traveling on Westlake Boulevard, in Thousands Oaks, and driven by Alexander Aken. Alexandria and Alexander attended a party at the home of Alexandria’s 18-year-old friend, Grace Youngers, earlier that day. The party included alcohol that had been bought by Youngers’ neighbor, Niles Slavin, and paid for by Alexander, who was 17 years old. Alexander, who was drinking at the party, later volunteered to drive another partygoer home, and Alexandria got into the SUV with them. As the SUV was traveling on Westlake Boulevard toward the intersection with Rainfield Avenue, Alexander lost control of the vehicle and drove over a curb. The SUV hit a concrete fence before crossing Rainfield Avenue and hitting a light pole, a small retaining wall, a fire hydrant and another concrete fence. The SUV then rolled into a large tree before coming to a stop. Alexandria claimed to her head, neck and back. Alexandria sued Alexander, Slavin and Youngers. Ring claimed that Alexander was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, that Slavin was liable because he purchased the alcohol that Alexander consumed, and that Youngers was liable for furnishing the alcohol. Slavin was not named in the initial complaint, but was added as a defendant in an amended complaint. Alexandria also sued the Younger’s father, Sidney Youngers, who was the owner of the Youngers home, accusing him of also furnishing the alcohol. In addition, she sued Alexander’s parents, Ariann and Michael Aken, who were the owners of their son’s vehicle. Grace Youngers filed a cross-complaint against Alexander and Michael Aken for equitable indemnity, contribution and declaratory relief. The cross-complaint was later dismissed, and Sidney Youngers and Ariann Aken were dismissed from Alexandria’s complaint. Both of the remaining Akens and Slavin settled their claims for undisclosed terms. The matter continued against Grace Youngers only. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Grace Youngers was liable for furnishing alcohol to Alexander prior to the crash. There was no dispute that the plaintiff, Alexandria, was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Youngers’s counsel argued that Alexandria was also under the influence of marijuana and an antidepressant medication and that those substances impaired Alexandria’s ability to tell whether Alexander was sober enough to drive. In response, plaintiff’s counsel disputed the allegation that Alexandria was under the influence of drugs., Alexandria was placed in an ambulance and transported to Los Robles Regional Medical Center, in Thousand Oaks. She was diagnosed with a skull fracture; cervical spine fractures at the C1, C2, C5, C6 and C7 levels; and thoracic spine fractures at the T2 and T3 levels. Alexandria underwent emergency surgery to fix the fractures at C6 and C7. The procedure included the placement of a halo device. Alexandria was discharged from the hospital on Oct. 7, 2013 and transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility, where she remained until Oct. 18, 2013. She then returned to the hospital in December 2013 for a cervical fusion surgery at C6-7. Alexandria had additional post-operative rehabilitation after the procedure and then underwent three years of physical therapy with decreasing regularity. She also underwent exercise and occupational therapy. Alexandria claimed that her caused cognitive difficulties, along with anxiety and mood swings. She also claimed that she could no longer sit or stand for extended periods of time and that her continued neck and head pain made it hard for her to study for school. She further claimed that she would need continued treatment, including pain management care, plastic surgery to cover up scarring, neurosurgical consultations, additional physical therapy, and psychological treatment. Alexandria sought recovery of past and future medical expenses, future lost earnings, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Grace Youngers’ counsel asserted that Alexandria’s claims for future medical expenses and future lost earnings were purely speculative. Counsel also disputed whether all of Alexandria’s medical treatment was reasonable and necessary.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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