Case details

Unsafe U-turn caused wife to be thrown from golf cart: suit





Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, cognition, concussion, emotional distress, head, headaches, impairment, mental, neck, psychological, sensory, speech, subdural hematoma, vision
On Dec. 17, 2011, plaintiff Kitty Cooper, 60, a self-employed computer consultant, and her husband, plaintiff Steven Cooper, participated in a bridge tournament at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage. At approximately 6:30 p.m., the Coopers left the tournament and walked toward their car parked in the western-most lot from the clubhouse when Jacob Amaro approached them in a golf cart owned by Westin and offered them a ride to their vehicle. The Coopers accepted the offer and sat down in the rear-facing seats of the golf cart. Amaro then accelerated into a left U-turn, causing Ms. Cooper to be thrown from the vehicle. She claimed to her head, neck and left wrist as a result of being thrown onto the parking lot ground. The Coopers sued Amaro; the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa; the resort’s operator, Westin Operator LLC; and the company that offered Amaro an internship with the resort, the Riverside County Office of Education. The Coopers alleged that Amaro was negligent in the operation of the golf cart, and that Westin Mission Hills, Westin Operator and the Office of Education were vicariously liable for his actions. Amaro was never served in this action. Thus, the matter continued against Westin Mission Hills, Westin Operator and the Office of Education only. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Amaro, suddenly and without warning, accelerated into a left U-turn after the Coopers sat down in the golf cart, causing Ms. Cooper to be thrown to the ground. Counsel contended that Amaro was operating the golf cart as an intern for Westin Mission Hills and that this internship was offered through the Regional Occupational Program offered by the County Office of Education. Thus, counsel contended that the resort and Office of Education negligently entrusted and supervised Amaro. The defendants did not contest liability for the accident., Ms. Cooper was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room. She sustained a subdural hemorrhage, a large scalp hematoma, and a concussion from the fall. She also claimed strains and sprains of her neck and left, non-dominant wrist. As a result, Ms. Cooper was hospitalized for seven days, and then followed up with a few months of physical and speech therapy. Ms. Cooper claimed she suffered cognitive residuals from her head injury, including vision and memory loss. She alleged that although the vision and memory symptoms passed after several months, she still experiences headaches. In addition Ms. Cooper, formally a world champion bridge player, claimed she is no longer able to play bridge. However, she alleged that she does not seek any further treatment and did not make a claim for lost earnings. Thus, Ms. Cooper sought recovery of $45,496.71 in damages for her past medical costs and an unspecified amount of damages for her pain and suffering. Mr. Cooper claimed that he suffered emotional distress as a result of the incident, and sought recovery of damages for his loss of consortium. Defense counsel informally challenged the plaintiffs’ damages claims, arguing that Ms. Cooper’s alleged were largely diagnostic in nature.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Indio, CA

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