JSH Reporter JSH Reporter - Fall 2017 - Page 9

CASES OF NOTE 09 Specifically, although the surgery was deemed a success, Plaintiff continued to have ongoing pain and limitations, and his primary doctor opined that he could expect complications in the future as a result. Consequently, prior to trial, Plaintiff demanded Defendant’s insurance policy limit of $1 million. Gabriel Armendariz v. Manuel Padilla, et al March 21, 2017 Arizona District Court Donald Myles & Michele Molinario The case was filed in Sacramento, California, and Mike was asked to enter an appearance pro hac vice for purposes of trying the case. Shortly before trial, the Defendant admitted fault for the accident and filed a CCP §998 Offer for $250,000. Mike also filed several motions to limit Plaintiff’s damages, which successfully resulted in the withdrawal of Plaintiff’s past lost wage and future economic loss claims. During the 8-day trial, the Defendant neither disputed that Plaintiff suffered from a herniated disk, nor that the surgery was unnecessary or unreasonable. Through cross-examinations of Plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon and biomechanical engineering/accident reconstruction expert, Mike argued that the circumstantial evidence more strongly suggested the herniation preexisted the accident, and the accident simply exacerbated Plaintiff’s condition for a period of approximately four months. Defendant argued that Plaintiff was entitled to his medical expenses for the conservative care he received during these four months, along with compensation for his pain and suffering, which Mike suggested amounted to a total damage award of $40,777.19. Plaintiff asked the jury to award a total of $1,432,318, which included his medical expenses, scar disfigurement, disability, and chronic pain and suffering. After two days of deliberation, the jury awarded Plaintiff $40,777.19. Because Defendant filed a CCP §998 Offer for $250,000, Defendant was able to recoup his $32,127.68 in costs leaving a net judgment amount of $8,649.51. Don Myles and Michele Molinario prevailed on summary judgment in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action for false arrest against a City of Yuma Police Sergeant. The case involved whether there was probable cause to arrest Plaintiff, a former border patrol agent. U.S. Border Patrol had revoked Plaintiff’s enforcement authority and requested he return the government-issued property in his possession. City of Yuma police officers sought to assist border patrol in retrieving the government-issued firearm, badge and credentials, but Plaintiff refused and gave various conflicting statements about the location of the property. Plaintiff was then arrested for theft and false reporting. Plaintiff filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. The central issue in the Motion for Summary Judgment was whether the Police Sergeant had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for either theft or false reporting. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton denied Plaintiff’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and found that there was probable cause to arrest for false reporting. Plaintiff’s own testimony confirmed that law enforcement officers are trained to know the location of their service weapons and credentials. Based on this understanding, and Plaintiff’s inconsistent statements about the whereabouts of the property, a reasonable officer would have suffi cient grounds to believe that Plaintiff was knowingly providing false statements. As such, there was no genuine issue for trial. Alternatively, Judge Bolton found that the Police Sergeant was entitled to qualified immunity since it could be reasonably debated whether clearly established law was violated. Judgment was entered in favor of the Yuma Police Sergeant. READ THE REPORTER ONLINE AT: JSHFIRM.COM