An appellate court has ordered a partial re-trial of a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent motorcyclist and a defective road.
The new trial shouldn’t result in any less damages for the plaintiff, but it could alter how much each defendant has to pay. That’s because the issue of apportionment was decided with the help of an alternate juror, who was a replacement for another juror removed by the trial court. The juror who was removed later said she was leaning toward finding that the state had lesser liability than the defendant driver. Appellate court justices ruled that the trial judge erred in removing the juror, and the error was prejudicial because the juror was inclined to favor the state.
The facts of the case, recently before California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Six, are that two motorcyclists were involved in a crash on a two-lane highway. The speed limit on the road was 55 mph. The crash happened on a sharp, blind curve. The state installed a warning sign for motorists northbound to reduce their speed to 25 mph in order to safely negotiate the curve. However, there was no such sign for motorists traveling the other way. Defendant was traveling southbound. He did not reduce his speed. As a result, he lost control of his motorcycle as he turned the curve. He crossed over the center line, striking decedent head-on. Decedent died at the scene. Continue reading