On April 22nd, 2010, Samantha Schultz, an active Marine, lost control of her vehicle on a flooded section of Camino del Rey in Bonsall, where the road travels alongside a golf course. Her car struck a utility pole, causing catastrophic injuries to Samantha. She died the next day as a result of her injuries.
Not long after the crash, Samantha’s parents, Keith Schultz and Tobie Deala, retained our firm to represent them in a wrongful death lawsuit. After an investigation, Booth & Koskoff filed suit against the County of San Diego, the utility company responsible for placing the telephone poll adjacent to the road, and the owner of the golf course. During discovery, we learned that the county of San Diego had been aware of flooding on that section of Camino del Rey for several years prior to the crash and had been arguing with the owner of the golf course over who was responsible for fixing the road.
During the trial, lawyers representing the county argued that there were several contributing factors, including Samantha’s excessive speed (60 MPH in a 50 MPH zone) and her emotional turmoil resulting from a recent breakup and medical procedure earlier that day. They used five experts to support their defense: a traffic engineer, accident reconstructionist, hydroplaning expert, a hydrologist, and a psychiatrist.
After nine days of trial and two days of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of $4,000,000 in favor of Samantha’s parents. They determined that responsibility was split between the county of San Diego (80%), the golf course owner (10%), and Samantha (10%). The award was for non-economic damages for “loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support.”