By: Joe Marchelewski
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Yolo Jury Awards $10.5 Million to Man Whose Leg Was Amputated in Forklift Accident
Yolo County, CA – July 06, 2020 – In one of the first civil jury trials to reach a verdict since the lockdown of courthouses across California began in March, a jury in Yolo County awarded $10.5 million to a former truck driver who had his leg amputated after a forklift accident at a warehouse in Capay, CA.
Several media outlets, including the Los Angeles Daily Journal and Law360, covered the verdict, see those links below:
Bhupinder Singh was a 37-year-old truck driver in 2017 when he was picking up tomatoes at a warehouse owned by Capay Inc. As his truck was being loaded with pallets of tomatoes, Mr. Singh was run over by a forklift operator who failed to use proper caution in operating his vehicle. The injury to Mr. Singh was so severe that it resulted in the amputation of his right leg below the knee.
“Bhupinder was going about doing his job like any other normal day when this catastrophic and life-altering accident happened,” said attorney Ricardo Echeverria, lead trial counsel for the plaintiff.
Co-counsel for plaintiff, Stuart Chandler, said “Since that terrible day in July of 2017, he has been unable to enjoy activities we all take for granted such as taking walks with his wife, playing with his children, and helping around the home.”
Mr. Singh is currently 40-years-old and will have to live the rest of his life as an amputee requiring extensive medical care and prosthetics to hopefully return him to as close to normal as possible. He can no longer work as a truck driver and is severely limited from several other professions due to his injury. The jury awarded a $10.5 million gross verdict with a finding of 25% comparative fault on the plaintiff, the net verdict is $7.9 million. The highest offer from the defense was $3 million and the plaintiff’s last demand was $8 million.
The trial originally began on March 2, 2020. It proceeded through two-weeks of trial and was suddenly halted on March 16, 2020 because of the lockdown of courthouses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The jurors were originally willing to come back and resume trial on May 11 only to have the trial further postponed until June 29. When the case resumed trial, two of the jurors were excused because of COVID-19 concerns and the remaining 12 jurors proceeded to hear the balance of the case, rendering their verdict on July 6, 2020. During the resumed proceedings, court, staff, lawyers, and jurors maintained safe practices including social distancing and everyone wore a mask and/or face shield during all proceedings.
The case is Bhupinder Singh, Reena Rani v. Capay Inc., Yolo County Superior Court, Case No. P017-2105.