Jury accesses significant economic damages based on testimony of economist.
Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to present the economic and non-economic losses to the mother of a 12-year-old boy killed in a bicycle accident.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Case: Cristanta Martinez v. Coast Transportation Systems Inc.
Court: Los Angeles Superior Court; Case No. KC 011563
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Bruce M. Brusavich, Agnew & Brusavich, Torrance, California.
Case Synopsis: On March 10, 1992, 12-year-old Daniel Martinez, the only son of 38-year-old Crisanta Martinez, forgot to take his baseball shoes to school for practice after classes. After taking the bus home to retrieve his baseball cleats, Daniel rode back to school on a friend’s bicycle. On the way back, defendant’s truck made a left turn in front of Daniel causing him to collide with the right front side of the tractor and trailer. Daniel fell from the bicycle and was crushed to death by the rear tires of the tractor.
Robert Johnson and Associates testified to the loss of future economic support the child could have provided to his mother, $173,000 over her life span. The child’s future income was estimated to be as that of a Junior College Graduate. Mr. Johnson, a prominent forensic economist, also testified that the $173,000 did not include “in kind” services of the 12-year-old such as household chores and errands. Consequently, the jury awarded $350,000 in economic damages by a 12-0 vote. In addition to these special damages, the jury awarded non-economic damages of $1,850,000 for a total of 2,200,000.
Attorney Comments: “The jurors told me afterwards that they accepted Mr. Johnson’s testimony with respect to the economic losses. In particular they responded to his indication that the maximum figure of $173,000 for loss of future economic support would be higher if the jurors concluded that Daniel could be expected to have done better in the education or labor market. They also considered the fact that his figures did not include the economic losses for “in kind” services. Thus the jurors approximately doubled the figure in his testimony.”
Results: The jury awarded $350,000 in economic damages for the loss of potential parental support and the loss of “in kind” services, and $1,850,000 for non-economic damages.