SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following a four-day trial, the Honorable Larry H. Burns, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of California, has rendered a $5.4 million verdict against the United States Government [Case No. 11cv1746-LAB-NLS] in favor of motorcyclist John B. Hendrickson, whose severe injuries due to a collision with an on-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent resulted in a leg amputation.
Attorneys Robert J. Francavilla and Angela Jae Chun of San Diego-based CaseyGerry represented Hendrickson, a 50-year-old recording engineer, in a personal injury action under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for a collision caused by Border Patrol agent Ryan Moore on Otay Mountain Truck Trail (OMTT) in August 2009. “During the five years of litigation leading up to the trial, the government denied responsibility for Hendrickson’s injuries and refused to engage in settlement negotiations,” Francavilla said. “This was a zero offer case heading into trial – the verdict acknowledges the responsibility the government has to do its job safely and protect the public.”
According to Francavilla, the crash happened on OMTT, an unpaved mountain road with multiple blind turns and unprotected drop offs. Border patrol agent Moore – who worked out of the Chula Vista station – was driving a government issued Chevy Silverado westbound on the OMTT toward Hendrickson, who was riding his motorcycle in the opposite direction. Moore sped through a 90-degree blind turn on a narrow road and collided with Hendrickson, who was approaching the curve on the other side, causing him to fall off his motorcycle and suffer debilitating injuries. “As a result of the collision, my client’s severely broken leg ultimately had to be amputated,” Francavilla said.
“Based on the evidence, the Judge determined that Moore was the major cause of the collision, as he was operating his vehicle at a speed too fast for the conditions and failed to yield the right of way,” Francavilla explained.
In addition to his left leg amputation, Hendrickson also suffers from ongoing migraine headaches, stump pain, phantom pain, difficulty using his prosthesis and lack of concentration – requiring extended therapy.
Hendrickson, a longtime motorcyclist, is eager to raise awareness about motorcycle safety, especially as increasing numbers of people ride motorcycles. “Motorists should always look out for motorcyclists and give them plenty of extra room – as even a minor collision with a motorcycle can have devastating consequence,” he said.