Ventura County Superior Court jury reached a $125 million verdict in a drunken-driving case represented by trial attorney Gary Dordick. The victim Francisco Briones, 24, became a quadriplegic after a vehicle operated by a drunken driver crashed into his vehicle at Rice Avenue and Channel Islands Boulevard in Oxnard.
Reportedly Christopher Zink ran a red light in the March 2013 accident and is serving a seven-year prison sentence for felony driving under the influence causing injury. Court documents show that Zink’s blood alcohol level was found to be 0.14 percent after the crash. Under state law, a driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent is considered drunk.
“The jury wanted to send a clear message that people in Ventura County don’t tolerate drunk driving,” Dordick said. The insurance company is responsible to compensate half of the award, while Zink is expected to be responsible for the other half, which is considered punitive damages. Dordick said Zink is not likely able to pay his share and therefore the punitive damages are largely symbolic. The jury based its decision on lifetime medical expenses, lost wages and suffering.
“Since being discharged from the hospital, (Briones’) mother and younger brother have shared responsibility in taking care of him,” Dordick said. “They’ve had tremendous difficulty.” Briones was 21 at the time of the accident, on his way to working a 5 a.m. shift at a nearby warehouse.
Gary Dordick, Esq. of Law Offices of Gary Dordick retained MotionLit video crew to prepare a Day-in-the-Life video which captured the quality of life that is now lost. Former Oxnard College student had left school to support his family, which includes his mother and four siblings. Now he requires around-the-clock care. He’s only capable of some movement involving his head and left hand. To make matters worse, Briones’ family was recently evicted from their Oxnard home because they couldn’t make ends meet. They are staying in a hotel paid for by Dordick. “When someone needs 24-hour care, the family doesn’t have the same options,” Dordick said. “They fell behind on the rent, and now they’re evicted.” Dordick said he expects the verdict to go through an appeals process that could take two years. “Right now, they’ve got a piece of paper and no money,” Dordick said. “Justice doesn’t always come fast.”
During trial prep stages and in trial MotionLit’s designers and trial technicians provided the graphic design, Powerpoint slide presentation and the technology, that was used to playback Gary’s presentation and closing argument in the courtroom. “The video, demonstrative graphics, and trial presentation was very effective and made a huge difference in the trial” Dordick said. “The video and professional graphic design was great it really helped the jury understand the damages”_