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Guy's Blog

Just one Guy's personal blog of thoughts & sense--common, non, and otherwise--of the world in which we live.

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Location: Nipomo, Central Coast, California, United States

I also blog over at Nipomo News, Messenger and Advocate and Bloggernacle Times

Friday, March 04, 2005

Trials of February 05

Like December or 04, much of February of this year I spent in another trial, in Ventura, this time. The verdict was just published on VerdictSearch.com, and is reproduced below:

Motor VehicleVan & motorcycle collision left one dead, one severely injured

Case Type: Motorcycle, Motor Vehicle - Road Defect, Government -
Municipalities, Motor Vehicle - Passenger, Motor Vehicle - Left Turn,
Motor Vehicle - Intersection, Wrongful Death, Motor Vehicle -
Weather Conditions, Torts - Immunity

Case: Carlos Alamillo, Corina Cedillos, Jesse Cedillos
and Sergio Cedillos v. Santiago Garcia Duarte and the City of Oxnard, No. CIV 199433
Venue: Superior Court of Ventura County, Ventura, CA
Judge: Charles R. McGrath

Date: 02-18-2005

PLAINTIFF(S)
Attorney:

Richard R. Bredlau; Richard R. Bredlau & Associates;
Ventura, CA, for Carlos Alamillo
Richard Loy; Law Offices of Richard Loy; Ventura, CA
for Sergio Cedillos, Corina Cedillos, Jesse Cedillos Jr.

Expert:

Harry Krueper Jr.; Traffic; San Bernardino, CA
called by: Richard Bredlau, Richard Loy
Dr. Cheryll Smith; Neuropsychology; Santa Barbara, CA
called by: Richard Bredlau, Richard Loy

DEFENDANT(S)
Attorney:

Bruce A. Finck; Benton, Orr, Duval & Buckingham;
Ventura, CA, for City of Oxnard
Guy W. Murray; Murray & Whitehead;
Nipomo, CA, for Santiago Garcia Duarte

Expert:

Harry Hurt; Motorcycle Helmets; Los Angeles, CA
called by: Bruce Finck, Guy Murray
Joseph Genovese; Traffic; Oxnard, CA called by:
Bruce Finck, Guy Murray
William Otto; Accident Investigation & Reconstruction/
Failure Analysis/Product Liability; Yorba Linda, CA
called by: Bruce Finck, Guy Murray

Insurer: Viking Insurance Co. for Duarte


On Oct. 22, 1999, at approximately 6:17 a.m., plaintiff's decedent
Jesse Cedillos, a 26-year-old assistant manager at Vegetable
Grower Supply, was riding a motorcycle with plaintiff Carlos Alamillo,
a 23-year-old co-worker, sitting behind him as a passenger. The pair
headed southbound on Rose Avenue in Oxnard.

Santiago Garcia Duarte was heading northbound in a van on Rose,
and stopped as he approached the intersection of Wooley Road.
He attempted to make a left onto Wooley, but did not see Cedillos'
motorcycle approach. The bike collided into the side of his van,
killing Cedillos and throwing Alamillo, who sustained injury.

Cedillos' widow, Corina, and Cedillos' two young sons,
Sergio and Jesse, Jr., sued Duarte for negligence and
the city of Oxnard for dangerous condition. Alamillo sued Duarte
and the city as well, and he settled the claim against Duarte for
policy limits before trial. The Cedillos family claimed that Duarte was
negligent for failing to yield to oncoming traffic. The Cedillos family
and Alamillo contended that Oxnard was liable for maintaining a
dangerous intersection at Rose and Wooley.

Both defendants contended that Cedillos was speeding at
45 mph, based on a mark on the motorcycle speedometer of
45 mph they called speedometer "slap", and/or that Cedillos
was driving too fast for conditions at the time, and that the plaintiffs
failed to wear appropriate helmet protection.

Duarte claimed that hedid yield to all oncoming visible traffic, but a
combination of fog and darkness made the motorcycle impossible to see.
Oxnard maintained that the intersection was not dangerous and that it
was protected by government code immunities for fog, no left-turn arrows
and discretion on intersection design.

Injury:

Cedillos died at the scene of the accident. Alamillo was thrown from the
motorcycle, and he sustained a fracture of his left arm and a closed
head injury. His attorneys claimed that he suffered brain injury which
made him underemployable.

Alamillo claimed $600,000 to $700,000 for medical expenses, past and
future lost wages, and non-economic damages. Cedillos' heirs sought
more than $1 million in damages for a loss of future income and loss of
companionship.

Oxnard's attorney contested the amount of brain injury Alamillo suffered,
as well as his prospects for future employment. Duarte's attorney made
no argument as to damages.

Verdict Information: The jury returned verdicts for both defendants.

Defense attorneys contended that the jury felt Duarte
exercised reasonable care in making his left turn, and felt
that the intersection was not dangerous.

Plaintiff attorneys contended the jury thought the intersection was
dangerous without left-turn arrows but felt Oxnard was protected
under government immunity for signals, fog and discretion on intersection
design. They contended that most jurors believed Oxnard will put in left-turn
arrows now that the case is over, and believed Alamillo sustained significant
brain injury and post-traumatic stress from seeing his friend die.

The most gruling part of the entire trial, which lasted from 1/26/05 through 2/18/05, was the daily drive from Nipomo to Ventura, and back again. I was ready for this trial to end by the time the jury was. I was very pleased Mr. Duarte was absolved of any liability for the accident. He was very concerned throughout the trial, and for the several years from the time of the accident until the verdict. He will forever be changed by the fact an individual died and another was injured in an accident in which he was a player.

Two trials in essentially two months. It's time for a respite!

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