1. DOCKET NO.:
2. COURT/BRANCH: SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA - COUNTY OF SAN MATEO
3. CASE NAME: SONG K. HONG and SANGHEE HONG vs.JOHN JOSEPH HARDIMAN, et al.
4. TRIAL TYPE: N/A
5. JUDGE N/A
6. SETTLEMENT DATE:
7. TYPE OF CASE: Auto Accident with Drunk Driver– Wrongful Death
8. SETTLEMENT AMOUNT: $2,030,000.00
9. COUNSEL A. Plaintiff:
Omar I. Habbas, Esq.
Edward W. Heffner, Jr.
Habbas, Nasseri & Associates
675 N. First Street, Suite 100
San Jose, CA 95112
Party Represented: Song Hong & Sanghee Hong
B. Defense: Richard R. Pedersen, Esq.
Joanne B. Gilliam, Esq.
Pedersen & Siehl
1 Almaden Boulevard, Suite 400
San Jose, CA 95113
Office: (408) 271-5300
Fax: (408) 271-5301
Parties Represented: John Joseph Hardiman
Defense: Jeffrey M. Vucinich, Esq.
Joshua Rose, Esq.
Clapp, Moroney, Bellagamba
1111 Bayhill Dr., Suite 300
San Brunu, CA 94066
Office: (650) 989-5400
Fax: (650) 989-5499
Parties Represented: KJ Woods Construction, Inc.
Defense: Robin Y Trembath, Esq.
Law Offices of Robin Y. Trembath
7020 Koll Center Pkwy, Suite 101
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Office: (925) 600-0900
Fax: (925) 600-0061
Parties Represented: Woo Sik Han & Jae Min Kim
10. PARTIES: Plaintiffs: Song Hong & Sanghee Hong
The father and mother of the decedent, Jayeon Hong, the couple's only daughter who was only twenty-five years of age at the time of her untimely death.
Defendant: John Joseph Hardiman
The intoxicated driver who veered of the roadway with his Ford 350 truck and struck the rear of the small Honda Civic in which the decedent was a passenger. Mr. Hardiman admits to being an employee with supervisory responsibilities as a foreman for K.J. Woods Construction, Inc. Mr. Hardiman has pled guilty to felony driving under the influence causing great bodily harm and felony vehicular manslaughter charges. Mr. Hardiman is curently serving his sentence an a California State Prison.
Defendant: K.J. Woods Construction, Inc.
The employer of John Hardiman who alleges Hardiman was an independent contractor, contrary to Hardiman. Every indicia supports that Hardiman was not only an employee, but a manger/foreman for K.J. Woods, with the exception of the 1099 Hardiman was given. K.J. Woods admits that Hardiman had authority of its own employees and ran the entire job which he was working.
Defendants: Woo Sik Han and Jae Min Kim
The driver and owner respectively of the Honda Civic in which the decedent was a passenger which had pulled completely off the freeway due to a flat tire.
11. FACTS: During the early morning of May 28, 2005, defendant John
Joseph Hardiman, after a night of heavy drinking with friends, drove his Ford F350 truck to defendant K.J. Woods' yard, in Brisbane, for the purposes of meeting a subordinate employee of K.J. Woods, and to hitch Hardiman's Ford 350 truck to a Toman trailer owned by K.J. Woods. Hardiman was authorized by K.J. Woods to attach the Toman trailer to his Ford 350 and take the trailer onto public roadways. After hitching the K.J. Woods' trailer, the plan was to have Hardiman lead the way, with the subordinate employee following in a second vehicle, to a K.J. Woods' job site in Santa Cruz. At approximately 6:30 a.m. on May 28, 2005, defendant Woo Sik Han was operating a Honda Civic on and along Interstate 280 when he experienced a front passenger side flat tire. In response, the Honda had pulled so far off the freeway, that half of the vehicle was straddling the asphalt shoulder and the other half was in the gravel completely off the paved shoulder surface. The emergency flashers were on and the trunk lid open.
At a speed of approximately 60 mph, Hardiman went off the freeway and smashed into the rear of the Honda which had been stopped on the side of the freeway for approximately 15 minutes. The forces of the truck striking the small Honda at this speed demolished the car in which the decedent Jayeon Hong was a rear seat passenger. Ms. Hong was later pronounced dead at the scene.
In a later criminal proceeding Hardiman has pled guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury. Mr. Hardiman was sentenced to a term of years in a California State Penitentiary.
Defendant K.J. Woods claimed that Mr. Hardiman was an independent contractor. During discovery, overwhelming evidence was obtained proving that Mr. Hardima was an employee of K.J. Woods and, at the time of the subject collision, was acting in the course and scope of said employment.
12. CLAIMED INJURIES: Plaintiffs Song Hong & Sanghee Hong's daughter, who was 25 years of age at the time of the collision, was pronounced dead at the scene. The coroner's report certified the cause of death as
"multiple blunt injuries." An autopsy revealed a right femur fracture, heart lacerations, right lung laceration and liver laceration, among multiple other injuries.
13: CLAIMED DAMAGES: In addition to the loss of their only daughter,
Plaintiffs incurred approximately in funeral expenses.
14: INSURANCE CARRIER:
Farmers Insurance Group
Defendant K.J. Woods Construction, Inc.:
Defendant Woo Sik Han:
Defendant Jae Min Kim:
15: COMMENTS: Plaintiffs settled with defendants Woo Sik Han and Jae Min Kim for each of their respective policy limits for a total of $30,000.00 prior to a first mediation.
Plaintiffs settled with defendants Hardiman and
K. J. Woods at a second mediation for a total of $2,000,000.00.
16: TOTAL SETTLEMENT: $ 2,030,000.00