In Excess of $60 Million in Claims Filed by Tom Girardi Against Caltrans in Cajon Pass Dumptruck Crash

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Attorney who convinced the Stow jury to compel the Dodgers to pay millions last month, this month has filed In Excess of $60 Million in Claims in a Crash case against Caltrans.

Family photo of crash victim John Cabrera

John Cabrera died in a Dump Truck crash in Cajon Pass

"Something needs to be done before it happens again"

The GIRARDI | KEESE Law firm filed claims against the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) following California Victim Compensation and Government Claims (VCGCB) protocols. According to Government Claim 619539, five people under the age of twenty-one were in the PT Cruiser demolished by a dump truck after it ran a stop sign. John Anthony Cabrera Jr, 16, was one of two fatalities; the other was the driver, Nicole Brittney Lyle, 18. The GIRARDI | KEESE Law firm filed claims not only for Cabrera,16, but the Cabrera family—whose claims total in excess of forty million dollars—and also claims for two of the survivors. Among other things, the claim alleges that the dump truck traveled down an interstate off-ramp and ran a stop sign. The PT Cruiser was knocked down an embankment and the dump truck fell atop it. In an NBC Interview John's father said, "I feel it could have been prevented. Something needs to be done before it happens again."

Court documents say that when she allegedly ran the stop sign, the truck driver, Sonja A. Meeks (AKA Sonja Aida Morris Meeks) was driving a vehicle owned by Samms Enterprises, Inc.. At the time of the accident, she was employed at a local CALTRANS construction project as an agent of the California Department of Transportation.

The claim calls for a redesign of the "too steep", "too short" ramp, with specific improvements to add measures to "disperse the kinetic energy of an out-of-control vehicle" and add safety features including "appropriate signage, guard rails, roadside recovery areas, wider lanes" and other features to help prevent reoccurrence because the existing dangerous conditions are not alleviated by protective safety measures such as "arrestor beds, gravity escape ramps, sand pile escape ramps, or mechanical arrestor escape ramps."

Injuries of surviving passengers Michael Patrick Baker, 20, are listed in his claim as "sustained severe and disabling injuries including, but not limited to…orthopedic and neurological injuries,…crushing-type injuries, compartment syndrome; development of rhabdomyolysis; abrasions… lacerations; back pain and injuries; ulnar nerve injuries; radial nerve palsy; post-traumatic stress disorder…and severe emotional distress in witnessing the deaths of his friends;" and the injuries of Shayne Gretzner, 20, are listed in claim 619544 as "severe and disabling injuries… orthopedic and neurological injuries; contusions and sprains to the sternum, rib cage, and knee; spinal injuries; post-traumatic stress disorder and …emotional distress in witnessing the deaths of his friends." Although the Bakers and the Gretzners claims total 20 million dollars, additional family claims are pending. Baker and Gretzner are represented by GIRARDI | KEESE.

The families believe this accident is a wake-up call to fix the intersection of the southbound I-15 off-ramp at State Route 138 in Phelan, San Bernardino County, California, which has been the site of prior accidents. GIRARDI | KEESE's David R. Lira said, "This tragedy could have been prevented." Lira was also part of the team that won millions in the Bryan Stow case, Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles Case number BC462127, Bryan Michael Stow, et al. v. Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC et al.

Justice and safety are important goals for GIRARDI | KEESE attorneys. In fact, Tom Girardi has said that he is most proud of "…the work we do for our clients. No doubt about it. We have put together the greatest group of lawyers I’ve ever seen. And we all work our tails off to ensure everyone gets the justice they deserve." The law firm of Girardi | Keese has successfully recovered in excess of three billion dollars on behalf of their clients. Thomas V. Girardi has been proclaimed "The Billion Dollar Gentleman" by the Los Angeles Daily Journal for having achieved over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements over a two-year period.

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George Hatcher
Air Crash Consultants, Inc.
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