and Personal Injury
The average business plaintiff’s verdict was $8,493,498, with a median
of $220,670. Such cases included
breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, trademark and
patent infringement, insurance bad
faith, employment, condemnation,
and property damage. Of all of the
business cases tried in 2015, plaintiffs won 64 percent of them.
The average plaintiffs’ personal
injury verdict was $2,163,338.
The median was $42,661. The cases in this category had one or more
person who was physically injured.
They included motor vehicle accident injury, product liability, medical malpractice, premises liability, elder abuse, and wrongful death
cases. These kinds of cases made up 66 percent of all the cases tried
to verdict in 2015. Of all of the personal injury cases tried in 2015,
plaintiffs won 55 percent of them.
SIGNIFICANT DEFENSE VERDICTS
We highlight noteworthy defense verdicts in the interest of equal
time and coverage. These are from a variety of different types of
cases in which the claimed damages at trial were high. Here are a
few of 2015’s significant Arizona defense verdicts:
Veronica Ochoa-Valenzuela v. Ford Motor Company,
United States District Court for the District of Arizona,
This was an automobile product liability case. Veronica
Ochoa-Valenzuela was the right-front passenger of a 2000 Ford Focus when the non-party driver swerved to avoid a deer. The driver
lost control of the vehicle and it left the roadway, rolling over multiple times. Ochoa was paralyzed from the neck down. She claimed
the Focus’s roof was defective and unreasonably dangerous because
it was too weak, that Ford had not conducted proper testing, and
the welds on the passenger side were faulty. Ochoa asked the jury
for $18 million for past and future medical expenses plus $34 million for pain and suffering. Ford showed that the Focus’ roof was
safely designed and manufactured, was stronger than those in most
other cars on the market, and exceeded safety requirements. Ford
proved that the roof performed safely and as designed under the
extreme crash conditions, and that there was no weld defect. Ford
also established that Ochoa’s spinal fracture was not caused by deformation of the car’s roof.
Shannon Foust et al. v.
Shawn Wilson et al.,
United States District
Court for the District of Arizona,
This was an excessive force by police
officer and wrongful death case. Officer Shawn Wilson was dispatched
to a business on a domestic violence
911 call. Upon arrival, Officer
Wilson interviewed the caller, Toni
Foust, who reported that William
Foust had been verbally abusive,
shoved a table at her, and made
threatening comments. Mr. Foust
entered the business during the interview and told Officer Wilson to
leave. Officer Wilson refused and
told Mr. Foust to wait outside. He
got into his truck and put it in reverse as if to leave. Officer Wilson ordered Foust out the truck. Mr.
Foust complied, but then got back in the truck. Wilson tried to
open the door and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, Wilson
discharged his TASER but missed. Wilson subsequently shot Foust
with a gun twice, killing him. Foust’s daughters alleged Wilson used
unlawful deadly force and asked the jury for $3.9 million. Wilson
denied liability, and defended that his actions were justified.
Jennifer Quintiliani v. Concentric Healthcare et al.,
Maricopa County Superior Court, CV2010-09929715
Jennifer Quintiliani, a senior staffing coordinator, sued
Concentric Healthcare Solutions LLC and her supervisor Andrew
Jacobs for wrongful termination and violation of the Family Medical
Leave Act. Quintiliani alleged Jacobs interfered with her rights under FMLA when he denied her leave, and that he failed to give her
proper notice and wrongfully terminated her employment. Quintiliani sought $1.3 million in past and future lost wages. Concentric
and Jacobs argued Quintiliani was notified of her FMLA rights and
that she did not request unpaid leave. Quintiliani was terminated
when she failed to appear for work.
Antonio Castillo v. Haydon Building Corporation,
Maricopa County Superior Court, CV2012-00400216
Antonio Castillo fell from a 22-foot ladder while working
at a construction site. Castillo sustained fractures to the legs, knees,
and facial structure, and he injured his shoulder. Castillo alleged
Haydon Building Corporation violated OSHA regulations and
failed to provide a safe workplace environment because Castillo was
unable to safely access the ladder. Castillo asked the jury to award
him $9 million based on lost wages, medical expenses, and a future
life care plan. Haydon Building Corporation denied liability because
it complied with OSHA regulations and because Castillo did not
follow safety rules.
The number of verdicts
Just over the past year,
continues to decline,
and the number
tried all the way to
verdict has been steadily
declining since 2009.
the number of trials
dropped 17 percent.