DINKLE V. ATLANTIC RICHFIELD COMPANY
Premises Liability/Negligence. The plaintiff, an oversized bully, struck the back of another defendant’s bicycle in his haste to enter an AM/PM mini-mart to put gas in his car. While the cyclist was not injured, a verbal altercation began which carried into the mini-mart. The attendant allegedly told both parties to quiet down or take it outside. The plaintiff paid for his gas. The soon-to-be assailant purchased a bottle of Coca-Cola. The altercation again escalated when both parties were outside. Plaintiff picked-up the co-defendant’s bicycle and swung it at him. The defendant, with a great deal of precision, “rifled” the Coca-Cola bottle off the plaintiff’s forehead, fracturing several bones. Plaintiff required insertion of a metal plate and screws.
On the eve of the discovery cut-off, there was a substitution of attorney filed by one of the most high profile plaintiff lawyers in Los Angeles County. The substitution was accompanied by a supplemental discovery response now claiming closed-head injury and/or brain damage. The trial was continued. A discovery battle began. We were eventually successful in getting a discovery sanction excluding the admission of any brain damage contentions because of opposing counsel’s dilatory tactics. With a demand of $900,000 and an offer of $80,000, the jury came back with a 12-0 defense verdict after a day and a half of deliberations.