Personal Injury Court. This is the matter of
Taylor v. Martin.It’s my understanding
from looking at the documents that you all filed
with the court that, Mr. Taylor, you filed
this lawsuit for injuries
that you sustained when Ms. Martin
struck you with her car when you were
trying to cross the street. Uh, you are seeking $5,000
in medical costs, $15,000 in lost wages, and $50,000
for pain and suffering, for a total recovery
of $70,000. Is that correct? Yes, Your Honor. And, Ms. Martin,
your position in this case
is that you didn’t see him, and you hit him, you didn’t really
have a choice,
but it’s not your fault. -Is that correct?
-Yes, Your Honor. Now you know
what’s odd about this case is that there’s a 911 tape
in the file. I think we ought to
hear it now. [female operator] 911,
what’s the emergency? [man speaking] [female operator speaking] [man speaking] Now, Mr. Taylor,
you were that
butt-naked guy, right? Yes, Your Honor, I was. Okay, well, let’s get into
the legal sauce. Tell me how
this thing happened. Your Honor,
it’s honestly a crazy story. I love the beach,
I love the water. I love to unwind
after a stressful work week. Okay, so on this day
you’re trying to
go to the beach? -[Taylor] Yes, Your Honor.
-So, what happened? I got to the beach,
I was swimming,
it was a beautiful day out. All of a sudden,
a riptide came up,
sucked me right under, my swimming trunks
ripped right off. [Judge Brogdon] Okay, okay,
now things got interesting,
-[Judge Brogdon] Okay. It was
a full-blown panic. So then what do you do? Once I got out of the water, I stepped foot
on that shore, I had one thing in mind,
and that only thing was
I need to get home. Now, how far away
from home are you now that you’re standing
on the beach
with the family assets? Two blocks away. [Judge Brogdon]
And Ms. Martin,
you remember this day that your car struck Mr. Taylor? Uh, yes, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon] And what were
you doing that day that put you out on the road? Your Honor,
I was going to choir practice. For 25 years, I’ve been
going to choir practice. -I know the roads…
-Taking this same route? Every day, Your Honor. -You know the route
like the back of your hand.
-Back of my hand. Nothing different. So, Mr. Taylor,
you were standing on the beach, you’re trying to figure out how do I get
from point A to home butt-naked? Yes, Your Honor.
I’m a firefighter.
I have to be held up to -a certain standard.
-[Judge Brogdon] Yes, sir. I can’t let
people see me like that. So the first thing
that crossed my mind was, “I have to
get out of here fast.” I was running,
took the alleyway, thank goodness
there was a garbage can there. I looked inside
that garbage can, and thank God,
there was a paper plate. -[audience laughs]
-[Martin sighs] A wise person once said that the mother
of creativity is necessity. -So this was necessary, right?
-This was necessary. In all seriousness,
I was… I was scared, I just wanted to get home. So I proceed
to take that plate, and I put it
over my private areas. -Okay, and then
what did you do?
-[Taylor] I ran. Now, Ms. Martin, you can
understand that kind of panic,
trying to get home, right? I understand, Your Honor. -When you’re butt-naked, right?
-I understand the urgency. But he just running
in the middle of the street, he didn’t look left,
he didn’t look right. -You know…
that’s a good point. Mr. Taylor,
tell me this. You get the plate,
you start running,
now what happens? I’m running butt-naked.
People should see me, right? [Judge Brogdon] Okay. -It’s a two-lane spot.
-Yes, sir. The first lane, I have my hand up,
so the rest of
the traffic slows down. That’s when
I proceed to go in front. And you’re this way
with the plate on the spot? -Okay, all right. Good deal.
-Yes, Your Honor. She came speeding. I didn’t even
have time to see her. -I couldn’t
hurdle over or nothing.
-I was not speeding. Bam, that hit me. Sent me 20 feet in the air.
I came crashing down, landed right on my tailbone. I broke my coccyx. Now, Ms. Martin, you see that
this young man was hurt. [Martin] Yes, Your Honor. I imagine some little
piece of your heart
goes out to him. Yes, Your Honor.
Again, it’s not my fault. I didn’t have
enough time to react. -Because she was speeding.
-[Martin] I was not speeding. Mr. Taylor,
you submitted a diagram. -Right?
-Yes, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon]
Could you come over
here to the monitor and explain how this happened? [Taylor] Yes, Your Honor. [Taylor groaning] [audience murmuring] Okay, now, what…
but what’s you? This man holding
the plate is me, Your Honor. Describe what happens. Back here would be
where the beach is, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon] Okay. This green area down here would be where freedom is.
That is my house down there. [Judge Brogdon] Okay. Now the only thing
stopping me from getting
to my destination
was this road. So this is a little bit
like a human game
ofFrogger,right? If you wanna
put it that way. Okay, you were the frog. -[Taylor] Yes, Your Honor.
-Butt-naked frog. -[Taylor] Unfortunately.
-Okay. Let’s take a peek at it. This is me,
I wave my hand, car stops, next car, boom! Twenty feet in the air. -And it knocked
the plate right off the screen.
-It knocked the plate. -See, Your Honor, he just
jumps out in front of me.
-[Taylor] I was vulnerable. Ms. Martin,
that red car is you, right? That’s correct, Your Honor. And, Mr. Taylor,
that blue car is the one
that saw you and stopped? Yes, Your Honor.
She was a godsend. Okay, and, Ms. Martin,
you didn’t see him
until you hit him. I did not.
I didn’t have
time to react. He came out like
a bat out of hell from nowhere. What were you looking at? He had things
jingling and tingling. And I was like…
I was surprised. And I was like…
I was surprised. Well, you saw
something, right? I was going to choir practice.
I’m a church-faring woman,
and this man, he just… I was just in shock. I almost…
I almost had a heart attack. So you didn’t see him
until you hit him, right? Until it was too late
to do anything. [Judge Brogdon] Now, he said
you were going too fast. Do you know
how fast you were going? I was obeying the speed limit.
It was 25 miles an hour. -And you know that?
-[Martin] And I know that. -And you’re sure?
-[Martin] I never had a… I’ve been driving for 40 years.
A clean record, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon]
What’s always the case
is somebody’s wrong. You may return
to the podium. Thank you, Your Honor. So, Mr. Taylor,
tell me specifically
what your injuries were. I, uh, busted my coccyx, which, for people
who don’t know,
is my tailbone. And how has that
affected you? Let’s just start off
by saying, [sighs] three months
out of work. Um, excruciating pain, medicine that doesn’t help, loss of wages, and the biggest part
for me was not being able
to physically, you know,
pick up my child, play with my daughter. This takes me back.And that was…
I cherish that
most in the world.[Judge Brogdon] This…
This takes me back. I hurt my coccyx
when I was playing
football in college. [Taylor] So,
you understand the pain. -It hurt standing, sneezing…
-[Taylor] Yes. I got hit, and it kind of
shut my legs down. -It was so bad.
-Yes. But it wasn’t over that day.
Is that how it’s been for you? Just constant pain.
Since she struck me
with her vehicle, it’s been so miserable that I have to sit on this. It’s like a donut.
You’ve to put your butt in it. Listen, that’s
an old friend of mine.
Believe me. I even have to
take it to the bathroom. Can you imagine
taking this to the bathroom? Oh, I don’t have
to imagine. I did. -Yeah, so you understand.
-[Judge Brogdon] Yes, sir. How has this affected you
in terms of how you feel? Your head, your mind. Well, I’m gonna be honest,
and that is… The depression,
it really started to sink in. Um, it’s affected me
in every aspect of my life. Wherever I go,
put your butt in it. Miserable. Why isn’t this your fault?
Your car hit him. Well, first of all,
Your Honor, he was not in the crosswalk, and Ms. Martin,
that’s a good point. Mr. Taylor,
tell me this. I see on this diagram
that you prepared,
this animation, uh, you’re not
in the crosswalk. -Yes, your Honor.
-You could have gone down
to the crosswalk, right? I just wanted to get home
as quickly as possible. And you know
lawyers call the crosswalk “the zone of safety.” -That’s right.
-[Judge Brogdon] Right? Yes, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon] Was there
anything that prevented you
from going into the crosswalk? Even running with a plate
over your jewels. [Taylor]I was very embarrassed
and I just wanted to
get home as quick as possible.And, Ms. Martin,
your car struck him. I mean,
that’s undisputed, right? What were you looking at? I was listening
to my Christian music,
Jesus, Take the Wheel,-and he did, because,
-[audience chuckling] I know Jesus had your ears.
Who had your eyes? Your Honor, I had my eyes
glued to the road. As I said,
it was on impact. He just jumped
like a deer out of nowhere. He should have
been in a crosswalk. Ms. Martin, you know
what I want you to do for me? I want you to go
over to the plasma screen, and we’re gonna
restart this animation. I want you to tell me
what’s happening here
from your perspective. Now we’re gonna slowly roll it.
Now tell me how this happened. [Martin] Well, I was driving,
I wasn’t speeding,but when he came out,it was just too late.
I had no time to react.You didn’t know
he was there until his bare behind
hit your car. Till I saw things.
Yes, Your Honor. She’s been driving
this road 20 years,
like she said. -She knows the…
-I know the road
back and front. -You should be
driving five miles…
-For 25 years… -Y’all doing it again.
-You should have been… I wish I was that talented
to hear both of you. -Mr. Taylor…
-Yes, Your Honor. Now, you keep saying
that she should have
watched out, she should have
watched out. Shouldn’t you have been
looking out for her, too? Yes, Your Honor,
but at that time… [Judge Brogdon]
The crosswalk is just
ten feet away now. -It’s right there. Right there.
-[Taylor] You are completely
right, Your Honor. Different conversation if
you’re in the crosswalk, right? Yes, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon] So,
Ms. Martin, you may
go back to your podium. Mr. Taylor, I wanna
understand the extent
of your injuries from a medical perspective,
so this court is going to call
Dr. Samantha Brown-Parks. -Sheriff Matt, could you please
escort the doctor in?
-Yes, sir. Hello, Doctor. -Hi, Judge.
-For the record,
would you state your name. Uh, Dr. Samantha Brown-Parks. Doctor, I need to understand
the extent and nature
of this tailbone injury. -Could you
explain that to me?
-Absolutely. So when the defendant
hit Mr. Taylor, the force of the impact
drove him up into the air, and when he fell
onto the ground, all of that force was felt
at the bottom of his spine, in his tailbone
or his coccyx. And where exactly
is the coccyx? So, the coccyx is this
triangular bony portion
at the bottom of the spine, right below the sacrum. We need this as
the center-point for walking, for sitting, for standing,
for bowel movements, for sexual function. So by cracking it,
you can have pain
with all of those normal activities
that we take for granted. How do you treat it? So unfortunately,
pain of the coccyx, unless it is broken
all the way off,
we don’t normally do surgery. It’s left to repair on its own
over a long period of time. -Thank you, Doctor.
-[Brown-Parks] You’re welcome. You may be excused.
Thank you so much. Mr. Taylor, I see
on the list that you have
brought a witness. Yes, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon] And I’d like to
hear from your witness. Yes, Your Honor. Sir, step up
to the podium, please. For the record,
tell me your name. My name is Jeremiah Graves. And, Mr. Graves,
what’s your role in all this? My role is I saw
everything happen, Your Honor. Well, how were you
in a position to see it? Uh, I’m a hot dog vendor
on the street
that the accident occurred. [Judge Brogdon] Okay,
so the diagram
that had a little umbrella. [Graves] Yes, sir, that’s me. Okay, so
you’re standing there.
What do you see? Um, it’s just
a normal day on the job, serving hot dogs
right off the beach,
and I really noticed a really fast red car coming. And I thought
that was strange because being so close to the beach, people usually don’t
drive very fast. Lot of kids. Is that the red car
you’re talking about
that was going fast? [Graves] Yes, Your Honor,
that is the red car. Did you get
a clear look at the driver? -Absolutely, yes, sir.
-And what did you see? I saw this woman right here. And what was she doing? It was strange because
when she got close enough
for me to see her face, I noticed that
she was locked eyes with me. -She’s looking at you?
-I was not looking
at him, Your Honor. [Judge Brogdon] Ms. Martin,
you understand that
if you were looking at him, there’s no way you could
see Mr. Taylor, right? -Correct.
-[Judge Brogdon] If
you were looking at him. But you say
she was looking at you? -[Graves] Absolutely.
Clear as day.
-And then what happened? So I look to my right to see
if maybe anyone’s walking, tell them,
“Yo, get out of the way,” when I see
Mr. Taylor running naked. Other cars stopped for him,
but she did not. Mr. Graves, do you think
in the way this happened, that that blue car
blocked her view
at least for a while? Uh, that’s possible, sir,
but like I said,
she was looking at me for at least
two to three seconds, directly in the eyes
while she way driving, so. So, Mr. Graves,
thank you. You may
return to your seat. I never hit a human being
before, Your Honor. Ms. Martin, if this is
not your fault, why do you think
he filed this case? Because
he’s a freeloading scammer. -Your Honor…
-Now that’s strong.
Why do you think that? That he’s
a freeloading scammer. Because, Your Honor,
this is not
his first lawsuit. I want to present
this to the court. I have evidence
he had filed… Two years ago he had filed
cases in the court. He claimed
he got hit by a car. [Judge Brogdon] You got
a folder in your hand. He’s a scamming
freeloader, Your Honor. -Your Honor…
-[Martin] He has
done this before. [Judge Brogdon] Sheriff Matt,
will you retrieve that folder? [Martin] …intended
to rip off his…
Yes, go ahead. Your Honor… Mr. Taylor, uh, you’ve been
suing folks in the past? I was having
some bad luck, Your Honor. [audience gasps] -[Taylor] Those cases are…
-Bad luck at winning. Those cases are irrelevant. They shouldn’t even
be brought up. Ms. Martin, I wanna give you
a legal lesson. I allowed you to put in
these prior lawsuits,
to present these to me, but the law doesn’t really
allow me to consider these because it does not
matter on this day. While interesting, it does not tend
on my decision, and thus, it’s just
is not really relevant. -[audience murmuring]
-It’s not really relevant. So I’m not gonna
take it into consideration. But I do appreciate you
supplying it to me. Mr. Taylor,
Ms. Martin, I’ve heard everything
I need to hear. I’m ready
to make my decision. In every personal injury case,
there are three elements. Mr. Taylor, you’ve got to prove
that Ms. Martin was wrong, and that her wrong
caused your injuries. Here, you weren’t
using the crosswalk. You had an opportunity
to use the crosswalk. And, Ms. Martin, you were driving distracted.
It’s difficult for me when you’re not able to explain
what you were looking at, if you weren’t
looking at the road. So, Mr. Taylor, you came
into this court suing for
$5,000 for your medical costs, $15,000 for your lost wages, and $50,000
for pain and suffering, for a total
of $70,000. The law requires that
I compare your responsibility. That’s comparative negligence. You were wrong,
but you were also wrong. Here, I find that
you are 25% responsible. I find in your favor
in the amount of $52,500 -and against Ms. Martin.
-[audience exclaiming] -That is my final decision.
-[Martin] Wow. -[bangs gavel]
-And this court is adjourned. [audience applauding] [man]Our Attorneys
Across Americajust viewed this case
for the first time.Let’s hear what
Leonard Lundy has to say.The defendant lost this case because she violated one of
the major rules of the road. She failed to keep her eyes
on the road ahead. She may have been distracted by
the crosswalk streaker, but it did not excuse
her obligation to focus on
the road ahead and drive at a safe speed
to stop her car in a timely fashion. Distracted driving
is dangerous driving.