Meter Maid's Appeal Expires

Posted on Friday, 18 February 2011

Meter Maid's Appeal Expires Against Brake Parts Inc.;
Defendant's CCP Section 998 Zero Dollar Offer And
Trial Court's Award Of $172,546 In Costs And Expert Fees Upheld

 

APPEAL SUMMARY

 

At a mandatory settlement conference before trial, Brake Parts offered to resolve the case for $35,000. Plaintiff rejected the offer. The next day, after deposing plaintiff's expert metallurist, Brake Parts made a new section 998 settlement offer of zero dollars and a mutual waiver of costs. Plaintiff rejected this offer as well. Following the defense verdict in favor of Brake Parts, the trial court awarded it $172,546 in costs and expert fees pursuant to CCP section 998. Plaintiff appealed from the judgment, claiming that Brake Parts' "offer was merely a 'token offer' of no real value and was not made in good faith". The Court Of Appeal rejected plaintiff's argument and upheld the trial court's award of costs: "...there is no per se violation of the good faith requirement just because the offer does not tender a monetary sum... In a particular case, a waiver of costs may be of significant value... This seems to be such a case. The significant costs awarded to brake Parts- almost $175,000- confirms that the offer to waive costs in exchange for dismissal was far from 'token'.

 

Click Here To View The Entire Opinion

 

TRIAL SUMMARY

 

Mercy Zamora v. Textron Inc., et al.: San Francisco County
Superior Court, Case No. CGC-06-453285

 

Date of Trial: June 23, 2008 through July 18, 2008

Judge: Hon. Suzanne R. Bolanos, SFSC Dept. 602

Trial Counsel:

  • Thomas Brandi and Casey Kaufman of The Brandi Law Firm for Plaintiff Mercy Zamora
  • Edward R. Hugo of HUGO PARKER, LLP for Defendants Affinia Group Inc. and Brake Parts Inc. ("Affinia/BPI")
  • Jeffrey Healy and Peggy S. Doyle of Tucker Ellis & West for Defendants Textron Inc., Ransomes America Corp., and Cushman Inc. ("The Cushman Defendants")

 

Pre-Trial Demands:

Plaintiff served C.C.P. § 998 offers of $2,000,000 to Affinia/BPI and $2,500,000 to the Cushman defendants. Affinia/BPI served plaintiff with a 998 offer of $0 plus a waiver of costs the day after it's $35,000 offer at the mandatory settlement conference was rejected.

 

Verdict:

The jury deliberated for 2 days and returned a complete defense verdict for Affinia/BPI on July 18, 2008. As to the remaining defendants, the jury awarded plaintiff a total of $1,595,000.00 ($150,000 in past lost earnings, $295,000 in past medical expenses, $500,000 in future lost earnings, $150,000 in future medical expenses, $500,000 for past non-economic damages, and $0 for future non-economic damages.) The jury found the Cushman defendants 37.5% responsible, the City & County of San Francisco 57.5% responsible for plaintiff's injuries, and plaintiff herself 5% responsible. (Affinia/BPI was found 0% responsible.)

 

Jury verdict form is attached.

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