Case details

Plaintiff: Driver in course and scope of work at time of crash





Result type

Not present

glenoid labrum, knee, meniscus, shoulder, tear
On Oct. 16, 2014, plaintiff Joseph Smith, a limousine driver, drove around a sharp, right turn on Centinela Avenue, in Los Angeles, as a vehicle operated by Robert Jennison was pulling out of Golden Auto Body & Paint, an automobile repair shop. Smith’s vehicle broadsided Jennison’s vehicle, causing Jennison’s vehicle to crash into a parked car across the street. Smith claimed to a knee and a shoulder. Smith sued Robert Jennison; the co-owner of Jennison’s vehicle, Brigitte Jennison; Mr. Jennison’s employer, Post Alarm Systems; and the operator of Golden Auto Body & Paint, Tala Inc. Smith alleged that Mr. Jennison was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Ms. Jennison and Post Alarm Systems were vicariously liable for Mr. Jennison’s actions. Smith also alleged that Tala Inc. was negligent for failing to post warning signs about the dangers of making a left turn out of their lot onto the street. Tala Inc. disputed negligence, noting that the exit from its parking lot was 75 feet from the subject blind curve. Its counsel moved for summary judgment, and the motion was granted. Thus, Tala Inc. was dismissed from the case, and the matter proceeded to a bifurcated trial. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Mr. Jennison was negligent for making a left turn out of the parking lot when it was unsafe do to so and that Mr. Jennison was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the crash. According to plaintiff’s counsel, when Mr. Jennison was first called to testify, the court did not allow leading questions/examinations of Jennison as a hostile witness, but the court later agreed that an examination, pursuant to Evidence Code § 776, as a hostile witness was proper and called Jennison back for a further examination. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that Jennison originally testified multiple times in deposition that he was working on the day of the accident and had just stopped at Golden Auto Body for a minute during lunch to pick up an emblem for his car, which had recently been repaired. Jennison also testified during depositions that he was on his way to a meeting when the crash occurred. However, at trial, Jennison testified that, after checking his phone calendar, he found that he had been mistaken about working. Plaintiff’s counsel claimed that Jennison was severely impeached about whether he was working on the day of the crash, as Jennison had already testified in deposition that when he checked his phone calendar for the crash date, he found that the information had been erased. Jennison claimed that he was not responsible for the crash and that Smith was speeding at the time of the accident. Post Alarm Systems claimed that Jennison was not in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the crash., Smith claimed he sustained a torn meniscus in one of his knees and a torn glenoid labrum in one of his shoulders. He was taken to a hospital after the accident and ultimately underwent repair surgeries on his knee and shoulder. Smith claimed that he can still work, but that he will require a future knee replacement. Smith sought recovery of $145,500 in past medical costs and $169,600 in future medical costs. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel for Post Alarm Systems argued that Smith only sustained a bruised knee and that all surgeries and treatment were unrelated to the accident. Counsel also argued that all of Smith’s medical bills were on a lien basis.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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