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This case involved a 30-year-old physician who was rendered a quadriplegic. Dr. Rogers was traveling northbound on the 110 Freeway when the left rear wheel and tire of a 1969 VW, which was being driven southbound on the 110 Freeway, detached from the VW. The wheel and tire bounced over the concrete center divider, striking and collapsing the roof of Dr. Rogers’ Acura. Plaintiff claimed that the VW wheel retention system was defectively designed and manufactured. Plaintiff’s past and future loss of income and medical specials were in excess of $20,000,000. The State of California and Honda were also defendants. Honda settled before the trial. The case proceeded to trial against VW and the State of California.

Dr. Rogers was represented by David M. Harney, Steven Solomon and Thomas Flanagan (an engineer and attorney). Mr. Winterman, who defended VW, was successful in having the liability trial bifurcated from the damages phase. After a two-month trial a Compton jury returned a unanimous defense verdict for VW.

The same jury awarded plaintiff $35,000,000 against the State of California. This was the seventh largest verdict rendered that year in California.