Bower v. Glenwinkel was tried in Placer County. The case arose from a three car accident in which the rear-ended plaintiff was the driver of the lead car. The plaintiff only sued the driver of the car behind her, the second car. That driver filed a cross-complaint for indemnity against the driver of the third car, believing that a rear end collision between the third and second cars contributed to plaintiff’s injuries. The defense was led by Brian Powers.
In the underlying action, the plaintiff settled her complaint against the defendant – the second driver. However the defendant continued his cross-complaint against Brian’s client seeking partial indemnity for a portion of the settlement. The parties agreed to a court trial.
At the trial, the defendant’s car appraiser testified that defendant’s car was totaled in the accident, because repairing the vehicle would have cost over $5,000. During cross-examination, the appraiser admitted that the overwhelming majority of damage to defendant’s car was to the front end. In fact, he admitted that over 59 hours of labor would have been required to repair the front end of the car, while only about 3 hours would have been required to repair the back. He also admitted that he did not recall the specific damage to the rear, only that there was damage to the rear bumper.
The plaintiff testified that she felt three impacts, one from the rear, one from the front when her car was pushed into the vehicle ahead of her, and another impact from the rear. She said the third impact was the lightest. On cross-examination, the plaintiff agreed that she was stopped at the time of the accident, and that she watched in her rear view mirror as the defendant hit her from behind. She further admitted under cross-examination that she did not lose wages from her injuries, and that the only medical specials she knew about were her $15.00 co-payments and the cost for a neck collar.
On the second day of trial a motion for non-suit was made. The judge agreed that the defendant failed to establish that the impact involving the Powers Miller client, contributed in any way to plaintiff’s injuries. The motion for non-suit was granted, and the firm’s client was entitled to recover their costs.