Court of Appeal refuses to order new trial of multi-million dollar tort suit against GMSR’s utility client

A car crashed into the back of a laundromat, damaging the building’s structure and electrical panel.  GMSR’s client, Southern California Edison, sent a representative to inspect the panel and he decided to leave the electrical power turned on.  The next day, while repairing structural damage, the plaintiff touched the panel and was shocked.  He sued Edison for negligence, seeking $10 million in damages on the basis that he suffered permanent injuries that substantially reduced his future earning capacity.  The jury found $117,000 in damages.  The plaintiff appealed, claiming that trial court errors kept him from winning the millions he had claimed.  Among other arguments, he argued that the trial court erred by refusing to allow his lost-earning-capacity expert to testify about two of three potential careers that he could have pursued.  The Court of Appeal agreed with GMSR’s argument that the career-related evidence was too speculative.  The Court also agreed with GMSR that there could have been no prejudice from any error:  The low verdict was consistent with Edison’s experts’ testimony to the effect that the plaintiff’s injuries weren’t permanent.

Sullivan v. Southern California Edison Company (July 12, 2018, D073454) 2018 WL 3385302 [Fourth District, Division 1] [nonpublished]

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