Horvitz & Levy persuaded the Court of Appeal to uphold the trial court’s decision that a bus driver did not cause a multi-vehicle accident.
Plaintiff was injured when a police vehicle running a red light during a high speed chase hit a bus being driven by an employee of defendant Empire Transportation, Inc., propelling the bus into plaintiff’s car. Plaintiff alleged that the bus driver was negligent for failing to yield to the police vehicle. Following a bench trial, the trial court entered judgment for Empire, concluding that the bus driver had not caused the accident: despite failing to look right in the direction of the police vehicle before proceeding through the intersection on a green light, the bus driver neither perceived nor should have perceived the speeding police vehicle until it was too late to avoid a collision. Plaintiff appealed and Empire retained Horvitz & Levy to respond.
Horvitz & Levy convinced the Court of Appeal to affirm the judgment. The court held that the plaintiff had failed to adequately challenge the evidence supporting the trial court’s causation finding, and that in any event, substantial evidence supported the trial court’s decision. The court also held that the plaintiff had failed to establish prejudice from the trial court’s alleged errors in applying the burden of proof on plaintiff’s negligence per se claim and in refusing to apply claim or issue preclusion based on a grant of summary judgment to other defendants.