(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury case and its proceedings.)
B. Economy and Efficiency
The above discussion highlights the fact that far from promoting economy and efficiency, bifurcation would add significantly to the time and expense of litigating this case and would add significantly to the logistical difficulties of scheduling and re-scheduling witnesses, including experts, some of whom will have to testify twice.
In terms of economy, there is little question that a second trial will occur in this matter, particularly given the fact that comparative fault will apply. Given the number of procedures and training guidelines violated by Officer Doe and the extreme amount of force he applied to Mr. Santoro under very benign circumstances, it is most unlikely that a jury would not assign some percentage of fault to Officer Doe, if not a substantial percentage.
Not only would a second trial require several witnesses to testify twice, second opening statements, closing arguments, jury instructions and jury deliberations would be necessary. This would extend this trial well beyond the time necessary to conduct a single trial. This would not serve the goal of judicial economy at all. A single trial will not be much longer than a bifurcated liability phase, particularly since there is very little dispute among the experts about Mr. Santoro’s damages. Indeed, the defense neuropsychologist has recently testified that Mr. Santoro has greater deficits and will need more care during his life than plaintiffs expert.
In addition, as mentioned above, plaintiffs counsel (and presumably defense counsel as well) has prepared this case and the scheduling of witnesses for a single trial. Given the late filing of defendant’s motion, the parties must prepare for the trial on June 6, 2008 assuming it will be a single trial. Plaintiff has spent significant time and money scheduling witnesses accordingly. It would be unfair and inconsistent with economy and efficiency to order bifurcation at this late date, as well as contrary to the intent of CCP § 598 that bifurcation motions be decided well in advance of the trial date. (See Part 8 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.