Ehrlich Law Firm wins affirmance of record $15 million non-economic damage award in wrongful-death case
Ricardo Echeverria of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria Bentley LLP and Scott Howry of Young Woolrich obtained a wrongful-death verdict on behalf of the minor children of Tiffany Paregien, who was run over by a large truck while she was crossing a street in Bakersfield. The accident was recorded on security video at the accident site. Ms. Paregien’s children were 11 years old and 4 months old at the time of her death. Because she had no work history, Mr. Echeverria sought only non-economic damages, and was awarded $7.5 million for each child. The defense appealed, arguing that the trial court had improperly excluded evidence that Ms. Paragein was high on methamphetamine at the time she was killed, and that the verdict was excessive. In an unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeal affirmed the verdict in its entirety, finding that the video of the accident confirmed that Ms. Paragien’s intoxication was irrelevant since she was run over from behind while walking normally in the crosswalk, and that the verdict – which the defense claimed was the highest award of non-economic damages in a wrongful-death action in California – was not excessive as a matter of law. Paregien v. Perez (Cal. Ct. App., Mar. 5, 2015, F067517) 2015 WL 1014194.