Fernandez v. JimenezAnnotate this Case
Defendants appealed a jury award to the deceased's four children for $11,250,000 each in noneconomic damages. Defendant Jimenez killed the children's mother while driving drunk and Defendant Rodriguez negligently entrusted her car to Jimenez.
The court affirmed and held that the verdict did not shock the conscience under the facts of the case where the deceased was a single mother who was individually close to each child and they were a tight-knit family unit. The court rejected defendants' contention that plaintiffs' trial counsel preconditioned the jury to award high damages where the jury awarded much less than the $50 million per plaintiff, the trial court instructed the jury that no specific amount was yet before it, and the jury was otherwise properly instructed on damages. The court held that evidence of Jimenez's prior DUI was not inflammatory in light of the other evidence. The court rejected Rodriguez's contention that plaintiffs improperly engaged the passions of the jury by setting a theme of punishment, and rejected defendants' claims regarding the apportionment of damages and the 998 offer and prejudgment interest.