$1,340,000: Newpaper Delivery Person Causes Death Of Motorcyclist

CASE DESCRIPTION:  The defendant turned directly in front of the John M. causing an accident resulting in John M’s death.  Linda M. brought suit against the driver, his employer and the State of California in order to determine the ultimate cause of the accident.

RESULT:  $1,340,000.00 total settlement

On January 24, 2003, John M. was killed when a vehicle driven by Los Angeles Times news distributor Timothy C. made a left turn onto Carbon Canyon Road from the Hollydale Mobile Home Park.  John M. was traveling eastbound on Carbon Canyon Road, and Timothy C. turned directly in front of him, causing the fatal collision.  At the scene, Timothy C. stated he never saw John M. approaching before the collision.

Defendant Timothy C’s negligence was primary cause of collision.  Defendant Timothy C., a news carrier, was an agent of Defendant Tribune Company.  A contributing factor in the collision was the poor sight distance and unsafe traffic conditions along this State controlled highway.

Defendant Timothy C. contended that this incident was due, in part, to Decedent’s unsafe speed and inattention to defendant Timothy C’s vehicle.  Defendant Tribune contended that defendant Timothy C. was an independent contractor and that the Tribune Company was therefore not responsible for his acts.  The Tribune Company brought a motion for summary judgment on this issue which was defeated.  Defendant CalTrans contended that it studied this roadway several times prior to this incident at the City of Brea’s request.  These studies did not reveal a dangerous condition and the accident rate in this area was below the State average.  Therefore, no dangerous condition of public property existed.  Defendant CalTrans further contended that the cause of this incident was solely due to the negligence of defendant Timothy C. and/or Decedent.

TYPE OF CASE:  Wrongful Death; Auto vs. Motorcycle; Issues of Agency; Dangerous Condition of Public Property

INJURIES:  As a result of the accident plaintiff John M. was killed.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: On 1/24/03 on Carbon Canyon Road (SR-142) at the intersection of Hollydale Mobile Home Park, in the vicinity of Olinda Place, within the City of Brea, California.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE:  John M. – 58 at time of the accident.


Darren O. Aitken & Wylie A. Aitken
For Plaintiffs – Linda & Steven M. Lori S.

Steven G. Schier

For Defendant – Timothy C.
Seth W. Whitaker

For Defendant – Los Angeles Times Communication d/b/a Los Angeles Times
Also for above defendant
Norman F. Boxley

Christopher J. Welsh
For Defendant – California Department of Transportation Inc.

Aitken * Aitken * Cohn

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