Case details

Plaintiff entered intersection against red light, defense argued





Result type

Not present

ankle, arm, chest, fracture, pilon fracture, rib, wrist
On Aug. 12, 2016, plaintiff Odette Cohen, 75, a bookkeeper, was driving south on South Figueroa Street, in Los Angeles. When she entered the intersection at Rosecrans Avenue, her car struck one side of a van operated by William Ramirez, who was attempting to make a left turn from northbound South Figueroa Street onto westbound Rosecrans Avenue. Cohen claimed to her chest, right wrist and right ankle. Cohen sued Ramirez and the companies that were believed to have employed Ramirez, Cal Pros Inc., Enterprise Fleet Management Inc. (erroneously sued as Enterprise FM Trust LSR), Mr. Rooter Southbay LSE and Akhoian Enterprises Inc. Cohen alleged that Ramirez was negligent in the operation of a company van and that the companies were vicariously liable for Ramirez’s actions while acting in the course and scope of his employment. Cal Pros, Enterprise Fleet Management and Mr. Rooter Southbay were ultimately dismissed from the case. Cohen claimed that she entered the intersection at 30 mph on a solid green light from the number one, southbound lane on South Figueroa Street when Ramirez negligently attempted a left turn in front of her from the opposite direction. Two eyewitnesses who were traveling directly behind Cohen claimed that they saw the collision, and both testified that Cohen’s vehicle entered the intersection at 30 mph on a solid green light. Defense counsel contended that Cohen entered the intersection against a red light and that Ramirez entered on a green arrow. Defense counsel played a recorded statement of Cohen to the jury, in which Cohen, instead, stated that she had come to a full stop at the intersection for a red light and then moved forward on a green light. Thus, defense counsel asserted that the alleged witnesses did not see the accident and only came upon it after the fact. In addition, on cross-examination, Cohen’s accident-reconstruction and biomechanics experts admitted that the witnesses’ version of events was not credible, as the witnesses claimed that they entered the intersection at 35 mph, about two car lengths behind Cohen and in her lane, on a long-green signal, and that they stopped directly behind Cohen’s vehicle after the impact without hitting her vehicle., Cohen sustained a pilon fracture of her right ankle, a fracture of her right wrist’s radius and fractures of her ribs. She was taken by ambulance to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, in Torrance, where her ankle was treated with an external fixator. She later required open reduction and internal fixation surgery on her ankle. Cohen claimed that she suffers a diminished ability to walk, an inability to climb stars, and an inability to drive a car. The parties stipulated that Cohen’s past medical expenses totaled $77,717, as reduced under Howell. In addition to her past medical expenses, Cohen sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. At trial, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Cohen $9.4 million in total damages.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Compton, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case