Catastrophic Injuries In Sacramento Lake Boating Accident, Part 8 of 8

The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/boating accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)


Moving Defendant cites no authority, statistics, or evidence of any kind for its claim that it will be deprived of “fair and unbiased deliberations on the issue of liability” simply because the jury will learn of the Injuries. This argument is counter-intuitive, in that it assumes that every case Involving disputed liability and significant damages will result in a plaintiff’s verdict simply because of the damages. This is both contrary to everyday experience with these kinds of cases, and also insulting to the jury.

1. Moving Defendant does not explain what it is about this case, as opposed to any other brain damage case, or perhaps a spinal cord injury case, that will cause the jury to ignore its oath and decide liability purely out of sympathy. The jury will be instructed pursuant to CACI 5000 as follows: You must not let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence your decision. Plaintiffs respectfully submit it would be inappropriate to assume that a properly-instructed jury will not follow the law.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

2. Under moving Defendant’s world-view, bifurcation should exist in every disputed liability case where the damages are serious. Bifurcation would then be the rule, and not the exception. Moving Defendant presents no Judicial Council or other court statistics along these lines.

3. This Court has ultimate discretion on this bifurcation issue. (Grappo v. Coventry Financial Corp. (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 496, 504.) Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court consider its own experience in the trial of disputed liability cases, and whether the receipt of damages evidence by the jury can truly be said to regularly poison the process such that the jury ignores the liability evidence in favor of inappropriate sympathy.

4. Even if there Is bifurcation, the Plaintiffs herein will be sitting in the courtroom during the liability phase. The jury will not be able to form an Impression as to the severity of their injuries. To the extent that this fictional prejudice exists, the plain fact that if it is real, it will exist no matter what the Court does to sanitize the injuries by bifurcating the case.


Plaintiffs respectfully urge the Court to deny the motion for bifurcation. There will be substantial testimony on liability, whereas there will be much less dispute about the injuries and damages are much less contested. Given the presence of Defendant White in the case, Plaintiff will seek a judgment as to him that will involve a damages trial irrespective of what happens with the product liability defendants. This guarantees a second trial even if the Court bifurcates, and judicial economy will not be served. Further, the jury will not disregard its instructions and award damages without liability simply because Plaintiffs were grievously injured. The parties should give the jury credit for being able to follow its oath and instructions.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Contact Information