Horvitz & Levy obtained an opinion from the Court of Appeal holding that its client will be responsible for only a small portion of plaintiff’s damages.
Our client, Susan Pederson, is one of two defendants in a personal injury action arising from two separate car accidents. The accidents resulted in injuries to plaintiff’s upper back, neck, and lower back. After a four-day trial, the jury awarded $6,755 in damages against Pedersen and $517,517.34 in damages against the other defendant, Alan Vetter. The trial court entered judgment reflecting those damage awards and a finding of several but not joint liability.
On appeal, plaintiff challenged the trial court’s judgment of several liability. The crux of the appeal was whether Pederson caused plaintiff’s lower back injury—plaintiff’s most serious injury—and whether defendants should be jointly instead of severally liable for plaintiff’s lower back injury.
Horvitz & Levy convinced the Court of Appeal to affirm the key issue on appeal—that its client was not responsible for plaintiff’s lower back injury. With respect to plaintiff’s more minor upper back and neck injuries, the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment and held that Pederson was jointly and severally responsible with Vetter. But because the court also held that Pederson should be allocated only 25% fault for the upper back and neck injuries, Pederson’s ultimate responsibility for the damages stemming from those minor injuries will be limited.