ROGERS V. MCNEIL
It was a sunny and warm spring morning – Nikki and her 11-year-old daughter, Lilly, were on their way to the mountains when suddenly everything went wrong. Nikki ’s 2006 Nissan sedan was violently rear-ended by a large tow truck. The impact was so severe that it smashed the entire rear-end of the vehicle, causing the vehicle to go airborne and flip over several times. Nikki sustained serious injuries, and her daughter Lilly was nowhere to be found. Lilly had in fact been ejected from the car and ended up on the side of the freeway. She sustained serious and permanent injuries which required substantial hospitalization and follow-up care.
As can be expected, Nikki was completely distraught. What happened next was in some ways even more distressing and unexplainable to her. After Lilly had sued the tow truck driver and his company, they in turn filed a cross-complaint against Nikki claiming that the injuries to her daughter Lilly were her fault because she failed to secure Lilly in the vehicle with a seatbelt. The tow truck driver and his company claimed that Lilly would have never been ejected from the vehicle and would not have sustained as serious injuries if she had been belted in.
Both Nikki and Lilly were adamant that Lilly was in fact seat-belted in the car. It was a long-time practice of Nikki to demand that her children were belted, and she made it a practice for them to do that every time she got in the car. The tow truck driver’s expert testified there was no way she could have been ejected if she had been wearing a seatbelt.
The trial lasted eight days but after closing arguments it took the jury only one-and-a-half hours to return a unanimous verdict, 12-0. Their verdict was in favor of the defendant and client of the firm, Nikki . The case was tried by managing partner, AJ Pyka.