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Article published in Daily Journal on September 26, 2014

MOTOR VEHICLE


Intersection — Motor Vehicle — Driver/Passenger

Drivers in intersection collision each claimed right of way

Verdict (P) $190,707

Net $162,101

Case Kamal Barakat v. Johhny Hoe, Fog City Cab Incorporated, and Does 1 to 5 / Andrew Peterson v. Kamal Barakat, Johnny Hoe, Fog City Cab, Inc., and Does 1 to 25, No. CGC-11-512173; CGC-11-512053

Court Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco

Judge Lynn O'Malley Taylor

Date 4/11/2014

Plaintiff
Attorney(s)
Matthew Wertheim
, Law Office of Matthew Wertheim, San Francisco, CA (Kamal Barakat)

H. Nathan James, Seifer, Murken, Despina, James & Teichman, ALC, San Francisco, CA (Andrew Peterson)

Defense
Attorney(s)
Dale L. Allen, Jr., Allen, Glaessner, Hazelwood & Werth LLP, San Francisco, CA (Defendant Hoe/Fog City)
Brian Mclellan, Law Office of Brian McClellan, Oakland, CA (Cross-Defendant Barakat)

Facts & Allegations

On Feb. 6, 2011, at 2 a.m., plaintiff Kamal Barakat, 34, a limousine driver, was operating a limousine in downtown San Francisco with plaintiff Andrew Peterson as a passenger. Barakat was traveling on Sutter Street when he entered the intersection with Jones Street and collided with a taxicab operated by Johnny Hoe, who was traveling on Jones Street. Barakat claimed injuries to his head, neck and back. Peterson claimed facet joint injuries requiring significant past and future medical costs for his facet joint injections. Hoe was also taken by ambulance from the accident scene.

Barakat sued Hoe and the owner of the cab, Fog City Cab Inc. Barakat alleged that Hoe was negligent in the operation of the cab and that Fog City Cab was vicariously liable for Hoe's actions.

Peterson filed a separate action against Barakat, Hoe and Fog City Cab. Peterson's case was consolidated with Barakat's case, and Peterson settled with his defendants during trial for confidential amounts. Barakat and Hoe each claimed that they had a green light and that the other was negligent for failing to yield the right of way. Neither the police nor the insurers on the parties' property damage claims could determine who the "at fault" driver was. The insurers ultimately resolved the property damage claims by having Barakat and Hoe each assume 50/50 liability, which neither claimant was willing to accept.

Hoe claimed that he entered the intersection on a yellow light and, therefore, "owned" the intersection. Thus, he claimed that Barakat was responsible for the accident and his own injuries.

Injuries/Damages
head; neck; back; post-concussion syndrome; headaches; facet syndrome

After the significant impact from the incident, Barakat was taken to a hospital, where he claimed head, neck, and back injuries. He also claimed post-concussive headaches. Mr. Barakat suffered classic symptoms of post-concussive syndrome including excessive sleeping, forgetfulness, anger, and a desire to be isolated. He was without medical insurance so his medical treatment was limited, and his financial situation added to his emotional distress.

Counsel for Hoe and Fog City Cab argued that Barakat failed to meet his burden of proof and that the amount of Barakat's alleged damages was minimal.

Result

The jury found that Hoe was negligent and that his negligence was a substantial factor for Barakat's injuries. It also found that Barakat was negligent. The jury apportioned 15 percent liability to Barakat and 85 percent liability to Hoe. The jury determined that Barakat's damages totaled $190,707.28. After a comparative liability offset, Barakat's recovery will be $162,101.19.

Plaintiff(s)

Kamal Barakat
          $15,707 past medical cost
          $20,000 future medical cost
          $5,000 past lost earnings
          $50,000 past pain and suffering
          $100,000 future pain and suffering
          $190,707 plaintiff's total award
Andrew Peterson
          Confidential Settlement Amount.

Demand $150,000

Offer $25,000

Insurer(s)

     Scottsdale Insurance Co. for Kamal Barakat
     Tower Group Cos. for Johnny Hoe

Trial Details

Trial Length: 10 Days
Jury Deliberations: 2.5 Days
Jury Poll: Waived
Jury Composition: 10 male, 2 female

Plaintiff
Expert(s)

Daniel V. Shalom, M.D., neurology, San Francisco, CA (Matthew Wertheim)

Defense
Expert(s)

Michael J. Mahoney, P.I., accident reconstruction, Walnut Creek, CA (Dale L. Allen, Jr.)
C. Arthur Sciaroni, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Francisco, CA (Dale L. Allen, Jr.)

Post-Trial
None reported

Plaintiff(s)
Demographics

Kamal Barakat
          Age: 34 Years
          Occupation: limousine driver
          Gender: Male
          Married: Yes
          Children: Yes
          Description: injured party

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