Anil Gharmalkar v. Coastal Fumigation, Inc., et al.


    Defense Verdict

    Alice Chen Smith and Benjamin A. Davis obtained a unanimous defense verdict in an admitted liability case on behalf of Coastal Fumigation, Inc., Ismael Rodriguez, and Jose Everett Fisher in a personal injury action stemming from a motor vehicle accident that took place in September 2013. Defendant Fisher was in the course and scope of his employment with defendants Coastal Fumigation and Ismael Fisher at the time of the incident.

    Plaintiff asserted negligence against defendant Fisher in operating his pickup truck, and asserted that Coastal Fumigation was vicariously liable for the negligence of its employee. Plaintiff also asserted a cause of action for negligent entrustment against defendant Fisher, the owner of the pickup truck.

    In August 2014, plaintiff underwent a discectomy and anterior fusion at C5-6 and had a metal plate permanently inserted in his neck. Plaintiff claimed that the neck surgery was caused by the incident. Prior to trial, defendants stipulated to negligence and vicarious liability. However, defendants contended that the incident was not a substantial factor in causing plaintiff's injuries.

    At trial, Plaintiff argued that the only logical explanation for his herniated disc was due to the incident. Plaintiff waived past medical specials, but asked for over $2.1 million for loss of earnings, future medical expenses and past and future noneconomic damages.

    After a five day trial in the Santa Barbara Superior Court, the jury deliberated for one hour and rendered a unanimous 12-0 verdict in favor of the defense.


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