A jury came back with a defense win following a two and a half week trial in San Diego. Plaintiff is a victim of a vicious stabbing at the University Town Center mall in La Jolla. She claimed that with better security, it was more likely than not that the attack would not have occurred. Specifically, plaintiff claimed that had our client advised the mall to implement additional security measures such as better surveillance cameras and signs warning of security in or around the parking structure where plaintiff was attacked, her attacker (who was never caught) would have been deterred from attacking her. Although it was undisputed that plaintiff was attacked and suffered physical injury and emotional trauma, it was equally true that the security contractor performed the work which it contracted to perform for the mall and that it was speculative as to whether anything the security contractor did or failed to do played any role in causing plaintiff’s injuries. Plaintiff ‘black-boarded’ $2.4 million in special and general damages. The mall had already settled with plaintiff, paying her a substantial amount. We defensed the case with a 10-2 jury verdict and will now seek back costs and expert fees (pursuant to a statutory offer rejected by plaintiff).
In short, plaintiff’s counsel, from a respected firm in San Diego with a history of large awards, refused to discuss settlement on reasonable terms and they put too much weight in the hopes that a jury would be swayed by sympathy for this young woman. By focusing on the legal issues and not disputing that plaintiff was a victim of a terrible crime, we persuaded the jury that our client did nothing wrong and even if somehow they found that the security contractor could have done more, there was no credible evidence from which to find that any additional security would have stopped this attacker.