LaPray v. Jackson was tried to jury verdict in Placer County. Brian’s client, Melinda Jackson, dropped off plaintiff Keri LaPray’s older daughter at the LaPray home. The older daughter had been playing with one of the defendant’s children. Jackson parked in the plaintiff’s driveway which declined toward the street. Jackson turned the ignition to the off position and placed the transmission in park, but left the keys in the ignition and did not engage the parking brake. Jackson and LaPray ended up standing on the passenger side of Jackson’s Dodge Durango. The front passenger door was open and both women were standing inside the door as was LaPray’s 18-month-old daughter Katelyn. Jackson’s two-year-old son, Jacob, was in the Durango. He climbed into the front seat and both women saw him “pretending to drive” the vehicle. Jacob apparently moved the ignition into an accessory position and then pulled the shift lever out of park. The Durango rolled backwards and the open door knocked down Katelyn. LaPray testified that she saw the front tire roll over her daughter’s entire body, “from her toes to her head.”
Ambulance personnel arrived at the scene. The Roseville fire captain testified that when he arrived at the scene everything was relatively calm and it did not appear to him that the vehicle had rolled over Katelyn’s entire body. It turned out that Katelyn’s injuries were a minor torus fracture of the right tibia, laceration of her lip and various bruises and abrasions.
Keri LaPray alleged negligent infliction of emotional distress. She testified that as a result of witnessing the accident, she suffered from nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, panic attacks, withdrawal from her family in social situations, and a significant decrease in the general quality of her life.
After a 5½ day trial, the jury was out for 3½ hours and returned a verdict in favor of Brian’s client.