$4.9 million Verdict entered including $225,000 in punitive damages, and a separate award of nearly $20,000 of “proof-costs” against Barron N. Hilton, III for glazing Fernando Tellez, a gas station attendant who the jury found was hit by the car that Mr. Hilton “borrowed” from a friend and drove drunk. At the time, Mr. Hilton was not licensed to drive and offered the arresting officers a fake driver’s license.
Three months before trial, Mr. Kar was hired and retained as first chair trial counsel. Mr. Hilton and other key witnesses had not been deposed and some unavailable entirely. In written discovery, Mr. Hilton had accused his female companion in the car of driving, and denied any recollection of driving because he was too intoxicated. Mr. Hilton did not offer any explanation as to the 2 to 3 foot hole in the front windshield of his vehicle nor could he explain being seen by third party witnesses driving the wrong way on Pacific Coast Hwy, prior to entering the gas station and colliding Mr. Tellez.
Mr. Tellez suffered multiple back related injuries and was no longer able to work in the same profession. Mr. Tellez also testified that he became estranged from his wife and was not able to even pick up his young daughter, and suffered diminution in his enjoyment of life as a result of this incident and accident.
Mr. Kar was able to totally eliminate and strike all the testimony offered by Mr. Hilton’s expert on biomechanical and kinesiology, after asking that expert only three questions on cross-examination. The trial court granted Mr. Kar’s motion to strike that expert’s testimony entirely. At trial, Mr. Kar skillfully presented photographic evidence to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Hilton’s vehicle’s bumper had red paint transferred on to it after colliding with a barrier at the 76 station.
“This wild night of reckless partying resulted in Mr. Tellez’s permanent disability, required him to undergo multiple surgeries and medical procedures and destroyed his family and his ability to provide for his family,” Kar said.
Kar said he was particularly troubled by the “unfair tactic” in which Hilton and his attorneys “refused to admit guilt for something he had already admitted to by pleading no contest in the earlier criminal DUI case.” – LA Times
Mr. Kar successfully overcame the defense post-trial motions for a new trial and notwithstanding the verdict, as well as secured a positive award of attorneys’ fees and costs proving Mr. Hilton answered requests for admissions untruthfully. The verdict in this case was recognized as one of the Top 50 verdicts in California by The Recorder’s in its annual report of verdicts in 2011.
Settlement after trial and appeal, by Hon. Charles Vogel, (Ret.)