Rob Obtains Summary Adjudication on Punitive Damages Claim

Headshot of Robert F Bennett In this Santa Clara Superior Court case, Rob represented a 19 year old man involved in a car accident in rural Morgan Hill. During the accident Rob’s client passed a vehicle on the wrong of the road and entered an intersection without stopping for a stop sign. After entering, his vehicle collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle causing it to overturn. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff suffered soft-tissue injuries and sued alleging general negligence and seeking punitive damages. Plaintiff alleged Rob’s client was reckless in his driving. In discovery, a friend who was a passenger in the defendant’s car testified that he believed his friend was driving recklessly.

Rob moved for summary adjudication on the punitive damages claim asserting his client’s conduct did not meet the requirements of Civil Code section 3294 as it was not malicious, fraudulent or oppressive. While the motion was vigorously opposed by the plaintiff given the significant leverage possible with allegations of punitive damages, the court ultimately agree with Rob, granting the motion and dismissing the punitive damages from the action.

This file was transferred to Rob by one of his clients given the complexity of the allegations and exposure. Prior to the transfer, plaintiff demanded over $200,000 to resolve his case. Following the successful ruling, the matter resolved for under $90,000, saving Rob’s client significant money and guiding the case to a resolution for the young man involved.

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