November 9, 2018

Motorcycle crash plaintiff had sought $17 million in damages

Polsinelli Industry Litigation Division Chair Cary Hall and Trial Attorney Mat Groseclose brought U-Haul to a victory Wednesday in the case Joseph Haas v. Jared Mitchell & U-Haul Co. of California (No. CV-178079).

U-Haul faced accusations in a Santa Cruz County courtroom in which Plaintiff Joseph Haas’ lawyers told the Jury in opening statements that they wanted them to award Haas $17 million. Plaintiff Haas blamed an employee of a California U-Haul dealership for a motorcycle accident that occurred in October 2014. The employee was making a left turn into the dealership when the accident occurred, as the Plaintiff on his motorcycle attempted to pass the U-Haul truck on the left side on a two-lane street. The Jury returned a defense verdict that determined the dealer employee/driver of the U-Haul truck was in fact not negligent or responsible for the accident.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with this outcome and I congratulate our client, U-Haul, for their dedication and unwavering support of their dealer’s employee. But most importantly, I am happy for the employee/driver of the U-Haul truck, whose actions on the day of this accident the Jury has vindicated with a finding of no negligence,” Hall said. “This was an extremely hard fought case from the outset. This verdict exemplifies our shared commitment and demonstrates our firm’s ability to integrate a deep understanding of industry and legal trends, real courtroom experience and a keen awareness of how legal outcomes can impact businesses’ bottom lines.”

The trial lasted for six days. The jury then deliberated for one day before returning a verdict in favor of U-Haul.

“This verdict shows we are willing to take to trial and stand behind our members of the U-Haul system who are wrongly accused of a negligent act,” said General Counsel of U-Haul International, Inc. Larry De Respino.

Polsinelli’s Litigation Department provides practical, industry-specific litigation strategies informed by substantive legal and procedural knowledge. The practice was named one of 2017’s “Powerhouses” nationwide in Complex Commercial Litigation – one of only six firms nationwide – and a Standout in Everyday Commercial Litigation by BTI Consulting.  In addition to many state and individual rankings by Chambers USA, the practice is also currently ranked nationally as a Tier 1 firm for Commercial Litigation (U.S. News and World Report's "Best Law Firms", 2019).

Polsinelli’ trial team lawyers for this case included Cary Hall (Phoenix office) and Mat Groseclose (Los Angeles office). Paralegal: Teresa Romero (Phoenix office). Others who assisted include attorneys John Barwell and Maria Hubbard (Phoenix).


About Polsinelli

Polsinelli is an Am Law 100 firm with more than 825 attorneys in 21 offices.  Ranked #24 for Client Service Excellence1 and #10 for best client relationships2 among 650 U.S. law firms, Polsinelli is also named among the top 30 best-known firms in the nationfor the second consecutive year. The firm’s attorneys provide value through practical legal counsel infused with business insight and a focus on health care, financial services, real estate, intellectual property, mid-market corporate, labor and employment, and business litigation.  |  Polsinelli PC | In California, Polsinelli LLP


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