Miller v. Ron Taylor Drilling (Aug. 31, 2011, B225621) 2011 WL 3841073 [nonpublished opinion]

The defendant’s vehicle, traveling at about 3 or 4 miles per hour, tapped the plaintiff’s car, which was waiting at a traffic light. The plaintiff later had two major back/neck operations, which that he attributed in his lawsuit to the accident, and his wife claimed also joined in the lawsuit, claiming loss of consortium. The jury rendered a defense verdict, issued a verdict for the defendant, finding that the plaintiff’s symptoms and injuries pre-dated the accident.

GMSR successfully defended the judgment on appeal. The Court of Appeal held that substantial evidence supported the verdict and that the jury could properly reject the plaintiff’s expert evidence; that the trial was fair even though the wife’s lawyer (the law partner of the husband’s lawyer) was not permitted to separately cross-examine witnesses; and that the $126,000 section 998 settlement offer made a month before trial justified the trial court’s award of expert witness costs to the defendant.

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