Perkins vs. Royal Violet


    In the early morning of January 8, 2009, plaintiff Jerry Lynn Perkins headed from his home in Burbank to his mother's home in Sun Valley in his mother's 1951 Chevy Coupe. Plaintiff was heading northbound on Glenoaks Blvd. Eduardo Diaz, a professional truck driver for Royal Violet LLC, was heading northbound on Glenoaks Blvd. on his way to make his first delivery of the day. Diaz was operating a tractor trailer rig.

    The accident occurred on Glenoaks Blvd. in Sunland, California, near the entrance to Sunland Produce's parking lot. There are two northbound lanes on Glenoaks in the vicinity of where the accident occurred. The posted speed limit was 40 miles per hour.

    Defendant Eduardo Diaz was traveling northbound on Glenoaks Blvd. in the number two lane. Defendant intended to make a right turn into Sunland Produce. Defendant reduced his speed and signaled indicating he would be making a right turn. He swung wide into the number one lane at which time he was traveling at between 5 to 8 miles per hour. He continued to move at all times. He angled the front of his tractor into the number two lane as he began to execute his right turn into the parking lot.

    Plaintiff was traveling to the south of the defendant on Glenoaks Blvd. in the number two lane. Plaintiff claims defendant was moving slowly and that the defendant's tractor trailer rig was completely in the number one lane. Plaintiff did not know why defendant was moving slowly. Plaintiff testified defendant never activated his right turn signal indicating to approaching vehicles that he was initiating a right turn. When plaintiff was less than 50' from the rear of defendant, plaintiff saw defendant begin to turn right from the number one lane into Sunland Produce's parking lot. Plaintiff slammed on his brake and swerved to the number one lane, rear-ending the right rear portion of defendant's trailer. The impact occurred in the number one lane. Plaintiff's 1951 Chevy Coupe submarined under defendant's tractor trailer rig totaling out plaintiff's vehicle.

    Plaintiff was transported from the scene to Pacifica Hospital where he was treated for neck, knee, and back pain. Plaintiff also complained that a couple of his front teeth were knocked out when his face slammed into the steering wheel.

    Plaintiff received follow-up care in the form of doctor visits and physical therapy. Plaintiff ultimately underwent knee surgery. Neck surgery was recommended but plaintiff had not undergone same at the time of trial. Plaintiff also claimed he would need a total knee replacement. Plaintiff had past medical specials of $80,000 and future specials of $210,000.

    Plaintiff claimed a past loss of earnings of $150,000 and a future loss of earnings of $1,000,000.

    Plaintiff counsel "Big Game James" Silverstein argued to the jury that defendant was the sole cause of the accident by making a sudden right turn in front of plaintiff at which point plaintiff had nowhere to go. Plaintiff testified that he swerved to the left to avoid plowing into the gas tank on the side of defendants' tractor. Plaintiff asked the jury to award in excess of $2,500,000.

    Defendants argued to the jury that Diaz activated his turn signal in excess of 100' before beginning his wide right turn. Defendants argued that plaintiff caused the accident by traveling too fast and being inattentive. Defendants claimed that plaintiff was the sole cause of the accident and asked for a defense verdict.

    The jury was only out about 55 minutes before coming back with a defense verdict.

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