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Michael Eyerly
Michael Eyerly
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Jury Awards $23.4 Million to Orange County Boy Severely Brain-Damaged in Auto Accident

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Orange County jury awards large personal injury verdict to severely brain-damaged boy.

The day after his thirteenth birthday, Cade Feitler was riding home from school when the car in which he was riding was broadsided by Peter Infranca. Mr. Infranca, on his way to a personal doctor’s appointment, ran a red light and crashed into Feitler’s side of the car. The boy suffered a fractured skull and traumatic injury to his brain. After extensive therapy, the boy still cannot speak or walk and needs round-the-clock care.

Today, a Santa Ana jury awarded $23.4 million to the boy and his family for past and future medical expenses, lost future earnings and pain and suffering. And, because the jury found that Mr. Infraca was acting “within the course and scope of his employment,” Mr. Infraca’s employer is also liable for the damages.

In California, a company or other employer is responsible for the harm caused by the wrongful conduct of its employees while acting within the course and scope of their employment. Further, even if an employee combines his or her personal business with the business of the employer’s business, then the employee’s conduct is within the scope of employment. However, if it clearly appears at the time the conduct occurs that the employee was not performing work for his or her employer, either directly or indirectly, but was acting only for his or her own personal reasons, then the conduct was not within the scope of employment.

Here, even though Mr. Infranca was on his way to a personal doctor’s appointment at the time of the accident, the jury still found he was acting within the scope of his employment. Evidence was presented showing that Mr. Infranca was, at the very least, combining his personal business with the business of his employer. For example, Mr. Infranca was on the way to pick up a medical release form from his doctor stating he could resume working. Further, Mr. Infranca’s employer’s “return to work” program required ill employees to keep their medical appointments. Lastly, Mr. Infranca was employed as a sales manager and often conducted business on his cell phone from his car.

By finding that Mr. Infranca was acting within the course and scope of his employment, the jury has made it far more likely that Cade Feitler will receive the damages awarded to him.