California Gas Company Agrees to Pay Motorcyclist $46M for 2017 Crash
LOS ANGELES, CA. – October 22, 2018 (macon.com) A gas company in California has agreed to pay a motorcyclist and his family $46 million in connection with a 2017 vehicle crash. The details of the case are reported online at macon.com.*
On February 13, 2017, U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason Lo, then 30 years old, of Los Angeles, was riding his motorcycle and was stopped at a red light in Hawthorne, California. A truck owned by Southern California Gas Co. (SoCal Gas) suddenly slammed into the back of Lo’s motorcycle, catching Lo and his bike underneath the truck and dragging Lo more than 430 feet. Drivers witnessing the incident surrounded the truck to force the driver to stop before he headed onto a freeway ramp.
Lo suffered severe injuries, including near loss of his right leg and extreme blood loss. He has undergone numerous surgeries and faces more in the future. The driver of the truck, 50-year-old Dominick Consolazio, of Hawthorne, California, was an employee of SoCal Gas with a history of epileptic seizures. His driver’s license was temporarily suspended in 2012, and his doctor had warned him not to drive.
At the time of the accident, Consolazio was prone to seizures without warning, and had experienced at least one prior seizure at work. It appears he suffered a seizure right before crashing into Lo, though he pleaded guilty to criminal charges of hit-and-run.
Lo and his wife, whom Lo had married only six months before the accident, filed a lawsuit against SoCal Gas for damages related to the company’s knowledge of Consolazio’s medical history and failure to prevent the employee from causing injury to others. The case went to trial, and the parties presented evidence for almost a month. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Lo in the amount of $41.9 million in compensatory damages. Before the jury could deliberate on punitive damages, SoCal offered to settle the case for $46 million. Lo and his wife agreed to the settlement.
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