We are proud to announce yet another in a string of victories for Sims, Lawrence & Arruti. Bobby Dale Sims, Jr. received a defense award after an almost four week of trial in Butte County Superior Court.
This matter involved a General Engineering Contractor that allegedly destabilized property resulting in a landslide. Our client was hired by Butte County to remove unpermitted culverts installed plaintiff and then install erosion controls prior to the rainy season. The location of the site was right next to Butte Creek and endangered Chinook salmon spawning beds near Chico, California.
Plaintiff complaint plead one cause of action for Private Nuisance. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that our client either created the condition that caused the landslide or did not ascertain that the condition existed and warn the landowner.
Mr. Sims argued, with the help of expert, Tom Blackburn of Blackburn Consulting, that there was no landslide. Mr. Blackburn was well received by the Jury and explained that the conditions were a combination of settling and erosion.
Going into trial, the lowest demand was S985,000; the highest offer was a CCP § 9988 for S50,001. During closing, plaintiff’s counsel asked the Jury to award between 5900,000 and SI.6 million. Mr. Sims requested a defense award. Alternatively, he asked that if the Jury found fault that they apportion most of the liability to others.
The Jury was out for a veiy short period of time before rending their defense verdict. The Jury indicated that they did not believe that the condition existed thus completely exonerating our client of all liability.