Meter Maid's Appeal Expires

Posted on Friday, 18 February 2011

Meter Maid's Appeal Expires Against Brake Parts Inc.;
Defendant's CCP Section 998 Zero Dollar Offer And
Trial Court's Award Of $172,546 In Costs And Expert Fees Upheld




At a mandatory settlement conference before trial, Brake Parts offered to resolve the case for $35,000. Plaintiff rejected the offer. The next day, after deposing plaintiff's expert metallurist, Brake Parts made a new section 998 settlement offer of zero dollars and a mutual waiver of costs. Plaintiff rejected this offer as well. Following the defense verdict in favor of Brake Parts, the trial court awarded it $172,546 in costs and expert fees pursuant to CCP section 998. Plaintiff appealed from the judgment, claiming that Brake Parts' "offer was merely a 'token offer' of no real value and was not made in good faith". The Court Of Appeal rejected plaintiff's argument and upheld the trial court's award of costs: "...there is no per se violation of the good faith requirement just because the offer does not tender a monetary sum... In a particular case, a waiver of costs may be of significant value... This seems to be such a case. The significant costs awarded to brake Parts- almost $175,000- confirms that the offer to waive costs in exchange for dismissal was far from 'token'.


Click Here To View The Entire Opinion




Mercy Zamora v. Textron Inc., et al.: San Francisco County
Superior Court, Case No. CGC-06-453285


Date of Trial: June 23, 2008 through July 18, 2008

Judge: Hon. Suzanne R. Bolanos, SFSC Dept. 602

Trial Counsel:

  • Thomas Brandi and Casey Kaufman of The Brandi Law Firm for Plaintiff Mercy Zamora
  • Edward R. Hugo of HUGO PARKER, LLP for Defendants Affinia Group Inc. and Brake Parts Inc. ("Affinia/BPI")
  • Jeffrey Healy and Peggy S. Doyle of Tucker Ellis & West for Defendants Textron Inc., Ransomes America Corp., and Cushman Inc. ("The Cushman Defendants")


Pre-Trial Demands:

Plaintiff served C.C.P. § 998 offers of $2,000,000 to Affinia/BPI and $2,500,000 to the Cushman defendants. Affinia/BPI served plaintiff with a 998 offer of $0 plus a waiver of costs the day after it's $35,000 offer at the mandatory settlement conference was rejected.



The jury deliberated for 2 days and returned a complete defense verdict for Affinia/BPI on July 18, 2008. As to the remaining defendants, the jury awarded plaintiff a total of $1,595,000.00 ($150,000 in past lost earnings, $295,000 in past medical expenses, $500,000 in future lost earnings, $150,000 in future medical expenses, $500,000 for past non-economic damages, and $0 for future non-economic damages.) The jury found the Cushman defendants 37.5% responsible, the City & County of San Francisco 57.5% responsible for plaintiff's injuries, and plaintiff herself 5% responsible. (Affinia/BPI was found 0% responsible.)


Jury verdict form is attached.

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