Jury awards verdict of $7,200,000 in a multiple family death. The loss of Human Value of Life testimony, Loss of Enjoyment of Life testimony and LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR were admitted into evidence.
Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to (a) present non-economic testimony that would help the jury quantify the loss of love, care, comfort, society, consortium, etc. to the surviving family members; (b) present non-economic testimony that would help the jury quantify the loss of enjoyment of life to the brain-injured mother; and (c) prepare a LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR, admitted through lay testimony, that would graphically show totality of the loss.
Location: Stockton, California
Case: Ugalino, et al. v. Loux, et al.
Court: San Joaquin Superior Court No. 223247
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Rex T. Kearney, Jr., Sacramento, California.
Case Synopsis: Mr. Tacadena, a 44-year-old McDonnell Douglas accountant, was driving the family van with his wife, age 45, and two children, ages 11 and 6, when a dump truck, in the opposing lane of traffic, lost control and literally ran over the top of the van. Also in the van were a retired couple, Mr. & Mrs. Revives, and a working mother, Mrs. Ugalino. Only Mrs. Tacadena and her 6-year-old daughter survived. Mrs. Tacadena suffered a severe closed head injury that has prevented her from returning to work as a registered nurse. Special damages totaled more than $2,000,000.
Expert Testimony: Mr. Johnson testified that, based on federal government studies and accepted methods of economic analysis, the dollar-value-range for the human value or "noneconomic"
value of life is from $1,600,000 to $8,500,000. These numbers are both (a) life expectancy adjusted and applicable for both the father and son, and (b) are considered, according to a federal government document, to be appropriate
compensation for non-financial losses (love, care, comfort, society, consortium, etc.) to the survivors.
A color-coded LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR showing the fullness of the Tacadena's family-life before the accident, as compared to the emptiness caused by this accident, was admitted through lay witnesses.
Attorney Comments: "This was a damages case and your testimony was pivotal to establishing the value to the jury. This case was tried in a very conservative county. Your ability to explain and make the jury (and judge) comfortable with these economic concepts and numbers was exemplary. In fact, the defense was so shaken, cross examination turned into re-direct."
Results: The defense offered nothing pre-trial and asked the jury for a "reasonable" amount. The jury returned a verdict in excess of $7,200,000 for damages including the loss of love, care, comfort, society, consortium, for the death cases and pain and suffering for the surviving wife and child.