Summary Judgment Granted for Defendants in Auto v. Motorized Bicycle Case Seeking Damages in Excess of $600K+

David Nguyen v. Sherman Lewis Wright et al., Case No. CGC-19-576056 was pending in San Francisco Superior Court.  Also Published in the Daily Journal’s Verdicts & Settlements section on November 5, 2021.

The collision giving rise to this lawsuit occurred on October 5, 2018 at approximately 3:40 p.m. at the intersection of Alemany Boulevard and Silver Avenue in San Francisco, California.  On this part of Alemany Boulevard, there are two Northbound lanes and two Southbound lanes which intersect with Silver Avenue.  Both Northbound and Southbound Alemany Boulevard also have one designated bicycle lane.   At the intersection, Northbound and Southbound Alemany traffic is controlled by three-phase traffic lights.  Defendant, Sherman Lewis Wright, was driving Southbound on Alemany Boulevard in the #1 (far left) lane with the intention of making a left turn onto Eastbound Silver Avenue.  He entered the intersection just as the light turned from green to yellow, and waited in the intersection for oncoming traffic to clear.  When the light turned from yellow to red, the vehicles in the #1 and #2 lanes on Northbound Alemany Boulevard slowed to a stop and did not enter the intersection.  At this time, the intersection was clear and Mr. Wright initiated his left turn.  Suddenly, Plaintiff, who was driving a motorized bicycle, approached the intersection from the bicycle lane on Northbound Alemany Boulevard.  Plaintiff passed the two stopped vehicles to his left and, without slowing, entered the intersection on a solid red light.  At deposition, Plaintiff testified that he entered the intersection on a green light.

Plaintiff fractured his right tibia and fibia with ORIF, fractured seven ribs, underwent two surgeries, complained of back injuries, and developed an infection at the site of the surgery.  Plaintiff also complained of pain in his neck, radiating pain down to his right hand pinky and ring finger, mid back pain, low back pain, radiating sharp pain down his right leg, right knee pain, stomach pain from having his spleen removed, right ankle pain, headaches, depression and forgetfulness, sleep disruption, left foot pain, and electric shocks down right leg to ankle.

Plaintiff’s medical damages were $390,000, his past lost earnings claim was $100,000, and he was making a loss of future earnings of $100,000 per year.  His future care was uncertain because we had not gone into expert discovery.

Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that defendants did not breach a duty of care to the plaintiff because plaintiff ran a red light and struck Mr. Wright’s vehicle.  Plaintiff contends that Defendants were negligent because Mr. Wright attempted to make a left turn directly in plaintiff’s lane of travel as plaintiff proceeded through the intersection on a green light. Plaintiff admitted during his deposition, however, that if the evidence shows that he entered the intersection on a red light, (a) Mr. Wright would have had the right-of-way, and (b) the accident would have been Plaintiff’s fault. Plaintiff alleged that Mr. Wright breached his duty of care and caused plaintiff’s injuries.  The Court considered a dashcam video of the accident, which showed plaintiff entering the intersection on a red light.  Based on the Court’s review of the dashcam video, the Court agrees with defendants that no reasonable trier of fact could find that Mr. Wright breached his duty of care. The video shows that Mr. Wright entered the intersection while the light was yellow, executed the left turn when the light was red and the oncoming cars had stopped, and plaintiff ran the red light and collided with defendants’ vehicle.  Under these circumstances, the court found that defendants cannot be liable as a matter of law and plaintiff essentially concedes the same.

The ourt entered summary judgment on August 24, 2021 disposing of the entire case in favor of all defendants.  The complaint was filed by the plaintiff on May 16, 2019.

August 24, 2021