CVN screenshot of plaintiffs' attorney Paul Kiesel delivering his closing argument
San Diego, CA - A California state court lawsuit accusing a used tire dealership of responsibility for a rollover accident resulting in multiple fatalities settled during jury deliberations, and the full trial was webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.
Attorney Paul Kiesel of Kiesel Law LLP asked the San Diego County jury on November 21st to award roughly $14 million to the family members of three individuals who died in the 2014 accident. He blamed local business Chuy’s Tire Service for failing to swap out a supposedly dangerously worn tire on a 2001 Ford Expedition, which later experienced a tread separation.
While attorneys for the parties did not disclose the November 22nd settlement amount in court, defense attorney Dean Olson of Clark Hill told CVN after the trial the plaintiff’s demand dropped from $23 million to $3 million, however Kiesel stated he rejected the $3 million offer.
Opening statements in the trial took place on November 14th, and CVN recorded the full trial including all witness testimony. Monthly and annual subscribers to CVN’s online trial video library get unlimited on-demand access to the trial, along with hundreds more trials featuring many of the top plaintiff and defense civil trial attorneys in the United States.
Olson, who represented Chuy’s along with co-counsel Maryam Danishwar, told CVN that the settlement amount likely surpassed any potential jury verdict but was still the best outcome for his client.
“Interviews of the jurors revealed that the verdict could have been a defense verdict for Chuy’s Tire Service,” he said. “In the event that the jury decided against Chuy’s Tire Service, the settlement was multiples of any potential jury verdict. However, it was decided that the resolution was in the best interest of Chuy’s Tire Service.”
During the trial Olson and Danishwar argued Chuy’s had no legal obligation to replace the worn tire, and that the driver’s response to the tread separation could have caused the vehicle rollover more than the separation itself.
CVN screenshot of defense attorney Dean Olson delivering his closing argument
However Kiesel said after the trial jurors told him they were unswayed by arguments placing blame on the vehicle’s driver.
“I was pleased in speaking to the jurors that there wasn’t a juror who held the driver - who himself perished - accountable for any consequences of the de-tread,” he said.
Both the subject vehicle being nearly 14-years-old at the time of the accident and the potential for jurors to evaluate a standalone used tire shop by different standards than a well-known chain store posed challenges according to Kiesel, along with the trial taking place in a venue where securing plaintiff verdicts can be difficult.
Kiesel said northern San Diego is one of the more conservative venues he’s practiced in, and that he had to honor his clients’ wishes to accept a settlement rather than allow the jury deliberations to continue.
“The decision the family made was to resolve it rather than go to verdict, and I can’t second guess that decision on their part, but overall I don’t think the evidence could have come in better for us,” he said.
The trial took place before Judge Cynthia Freeland.
The case is captioned Garcia, et al. v. Chuy’s Tire Service, case number 37-2017-00024480-CU-PO-NC in San Diego County Superior Court.
E-mail David Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org