Case Conclusion Date: September 7, 2007
Practice Area: Personal Injury
Outcome: $55,184,288 verdict for plaintiffs
Description: On May 12, 2002, June Gutierrez was driving her vehicle southbound on Newport Boulevard. Leilani Gutierrez, her four-year-old daughter, was a passenger in this vehicle, and she was properly secured in her car seat. The Gutierrez vehicle entered the intersection with Wilson Street on a green light. While in this intersection, the Gutierrez vehicle was struck on the right passenger side by a vehicle driven by Michael Leinert, who was traveling east on Wilson and entered the intersection against a red light in contravention of California Vehicle Code § 21453(a). Mr. Leinert's vehicle hit the right side of the Gutierrez vehicle causing it to lose control. The Gutierrez vehicle left the roadway and struck a utility pole on the passenger side, and then fell onto the driver's side. Both vehicles were extensively damaged. At the time of this collision, Mr. Leinert was acting within the course and scope of his employment by the United States and the Department of Defense as a computer specialist. Leilani Gutierrez, now nine years old, is a ventilator-dependant quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. Her paralysis is at the C2 level. Since the incident, Leilani Gutierrez has endured 25 surgeries and medical procedures, and spent approximately 250 days in the hospital. June Gutierrez developed a severe case of Post-Traumatic Disorder (PTSD) as a result of seeing her daughter injured.