Settle the Claim, Try the Case, and Save the Company

Settle the Claim, Try the Case, and Save the Company:
What went right with a $22.6 million dollar Plaintiffs’ verdict

In a case spanning two years, eight Plaintiffs, over 120 depositions, and more than 60 expert witnesses, Lorber Greenfield and Polito was able to effect a result that saved our client from potential exposure in excess of $50 million.

On August 28, 2012, our courier company’s employee encountered the dangerous pavement edge drop, in his struggle to regain control of his vehicle at 60 mph.  The pavement edge drop caused him to swerve across the center line and collide with a vehicle containing eight women and children.  The collision resulted in four fatalities and catastrophic life changing injuries to the others.  The dangerous pavement edge drop resulted from a failure by Caltrans to “shoulder back” the roadway.

Nelse T. Miller of Lorber Greenfield & Polito, LLP represented the company in a seven-week jury trial in San Diego. On September 30, 2014, a San Diego jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiffs for $22.6 million dollars. The company’s driver was found 50% at fault, and the Caltrans was found 50% at fault on the $22.6 million dollar verdict.

So why would we post this result?  Because prior to trial, the company settled within policy limits, obtained a good faith determination of the settlement, thereby blocking claims by other defendants, and tried the case to pursue equitable indemnity and property damage claims against Caltrans.  The settlement also prevented the company from becoming the scapegoat “empty chair” of Caltrans. Ultimately, the company was spared liability for 50% of the $22.6 million dollar verdict which would have resulted in financial ruin.  It recovered on its property damage claim, allowing for litigation cost recovery, exclusive of attorneys’ fees, of in excess of $250,000.00 which was used as leverage to settle the case when Caltrans appealed the verdict.

For more information, please contact Nelse Miller at 800-659-8821 or email her at