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Driver responds to lawsuit over Menlo Park crash that injured 6-year-old twins

Original post made on Dec 31, 2013

The 90-year-old driver of a car that reportedly pinned 6-year-old twin brothers against a wall on Santa Cruz Avenue has denied all responsibility for the resulting injuries, claiming the children were engaged in behavior that was reckless, careless and negligent.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 31, 2013, 2:26 PM

Comments (73)

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Posted by please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm

There ought to be punitive damages for his aggressive and harmful behavior through this lawsuit. It's a despicable tactic to try to use the legal process to further injure people who have been so hurt already by his negligence. People have a right to defend themselves, but that shouldn't be confused with abusing the law to avoid justice. I hope court allows punitive damages. I actually felt sorry for all parties including the driver until hearing this.

I hope the boys continue to heal and that the driver and the legal system don't continue the damage. There ought to be some kind of damage against people who try to use the legal system to avoid responsibility when they clearly are in the wrong.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Boys will be boys, but whatever it was that they were doing or not doing at the time of the accident, the driver hit them on the sidewalk where he should not have been. There is no way on earth that he should have hit those boys on the sidewalk.

I hope the boys continue to heal well and that the driver is no longer on the road.


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Posted by janet
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm

This man makes me want to vomit!!!!! HOW DARE HE BLAME 6 YEAR OLD BOYS for HIS horrible driving! He should be thrown in jail on top of paying huge fines!!!Let him rot the rest of his life there!!! I hope the twin boys family throws the book at him, cuz that is what he deserves!


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Posted by Amazed
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 31, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Wow, even if the boys were standing in the parking space, it's still unacceptable to hit them with the car. It seems the only excuse this 90-year old has to protect his $$$ is to blame the children. Not worried about the decision here, it's obvious.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Disgusting Lawyer Speak. The Boys on the sidewalk weren't paying attention as the driver jumped the curb and pinned them to the wall. I hope the civil lawsuit bankrupts the Mercedes driver.


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Posted by UC Davis Grad
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 31, 2013 at 3:46 pm

So kids walking along a sidewalk are "(placing) themselves in a position of danger"? Seriously? Is this guy for real?


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Posted by liberty
a resident of University South
on Dec 31, 2013 at 3:57 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:03 pm

@please, you've made it sound like the driver filed the lawsuit.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:18 pm

A graduate of Stanford Law School.
I am sickened by this person's actions, then and now.
I hope the police report and witness statements are that he did jump the sidewalk (as we have been told in media reports); if so, I hope he is sued to the hilt.


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Posted by please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:34 pm

@musical,
"you've made it sound like the driver filed the lawsuit."

I don't think I did, I thought I made it pretty clear that it sounds like the driver is an [portion removed.]

The claims he made also make it pretty clear why the family had to sue in the first place. The driver and his insurance company should have just taken responsibility for the damage they did.

It's possible it's just the guy's insurance company that is full of [portion removed], which is often the case -- the insurance doesn't pay for the damages (in this case, sounds like fairly steep medical bills and possible future disability), and under California law, people are not allowed to sue 3rd party insurers if they commit bad faith. If someone hits you, and their insurer won't pay, you have to sue them, not their insurance company. If you collect anything that causes financial damage to the person you sue that their insurance company should have covered, then they can sue the insurer for bad faith. Insurance companies have the whole game rigged, because they are usually controlling the legal strategy yet can't even legally be mentioned in the court cases.

The family should not have had to file suit. Shame on all the [portion removed] here.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:42 pm

This guy must have some big huevos to even think of this defense. Doing a nice job of continuing the negative perception of the legal profession.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:48 pm

@please, yes you were clear on your thoughts about the driver. I'm still a little unclear on where actual damages end and punitive damages begin. Maybe a 90-year old driver is an accident waiting to happen, same as a brand new teenage driver (though abilities will evolve in opposite directions). In any case, I can't see here where intent to harm can be proved.


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Posted by please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2013 at 5:14 pm

@ musical,
Take a look at the photo above of the SUV on the sidewalk and then read, "Mr. Nelson states in his response to the lawsuit that the plaintiffs "carelessly, recklessly and negligently conducted and maintained themselves" in a way that contributed to the accident. Furthermore, "knowing the probable consequences thereof, (they) placed themselves in a position of danger and voluntarily participated in all the activities," and so assumed any related risks. Finally, the plaintiffs failed to "reasonably mitigate" any damages they sustained."

[Portion removed.] I wonder if the punitive damages could come from how he conducted himself afterwards. That happens with insurance companies when they try to damage people further after a loss in order to wear them down and avoid paying what they owe people. I wonder if it happened here. Wouldn't surprise me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lia
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Dec 31, 2013 at 7:28 pm

What is a 90-year doing on the road? He shouldn't have a license to drive.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 31, 2013 at 9:05 pm

> Mr. Nelson graduated from Stanford Law School and was licensed to practice law from 1957 to 2001

> plaintiffs "carelessly, recklessly and negligently conducted and maintained themselves" in a way that contributed to the accident.

In other words, they knew a car was going to jump the curb and hit them. I really hope this sleazy legal maneuvering backfires on this guy. They could just as well say that he contributed more to the accident since he knew he was old and senile and did not give up his driving license in a responsible way.

Lawyers .... gotta hate'em.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by the watcher
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 31, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I wonder if this is just a ploy to contaminate any future jury selection process for a civil trial. Everybody is reading this sensationalistic claim of innocence and will remember. This creates a predisposed opinion.

Dismissed for cause.... No chance for a "fair" trial in San Mateo County....

Very ugly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pal
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 1, 2014 at 6:14 am

Now, THAT 90 year old driver has chutzpah. Shame on him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Alexander
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jan 1, 2014 at 7:26 am

That's just mean.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patrick Muffler
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 1, 2014 at 10:01 am

Objectively looking beyond the understandable emotions surrounding this incident, I recommend reading the comment made by "the watcher". He/she appears to be insightful.


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Posted by I Wonder...
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 1, 2014 at 11:40 am

There are a lot of unanswered questions so far.

First, what's the status of Edward Nelson's drivers license? How can it be that an accident resulting in serious injuries doesn't involve the potential for strong DMV actions? Is there a legal difference between a mistake that results in property damage and one that results in major injuries? Why haven't we heard more about these issues?

Second, how to explain this apparently flagrantly anti-social and totally unsympathetic response to the suit filed by the parents of the injured child? Edward Nelson is a former lawyer, and has more than one attorney representing him. Why such an extreme response? Is he just figuring he can tell people to go to hell? Has he hidden his assets so no judgment will be collected regardless of what he says or does? Are there legal twists here that lay people can't comprehend? Are his lawyers going to argue diminished capacity or some such judgment? Is he so well-connected that he's pretty much protected by the powers that be?

It would be great if we could get some legal analysis of this case and the issues involved.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2014 at 2:25 pm

@I Wonder,
I don't know about this case, but the insurance companies are often at the heart of legal actions in such circumstances. For example -- and I'm not saying this is the case here, it's more likely the guy is a jerk -- what if the guy's insurance would have to pay if it was negligence but not if the victim was at fault (presumably then their insurer would be on the hook). Maybe his insurance company lawyers are recommending that defense. It's really part of the whole insurance adjustment ethos for many companies to cause more damage to people as a way of avoiding responsibility. In other words, a lot of the time, the ordinary folk end up being pawns and the insurers driving the decisions,


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jan 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Interesting that the accident was October 17th and his residence listed for sale on October 18th.

I would use this awful story to remind ourselves about why we need to have the difficult conversation of driving independence with our parents. I wonder if his children had ever addressed the issue.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm

@the watcher - the perp is a lawyer. That fact is already going to give him a hard time with potential jurors. I bet he is just making threats to gain leverage in settlement negotiations. Threatening to drag the victims into a courtroom is a great way to get them to settle out-of-court.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vain Vanity
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 1, 2014 at 8:06 pm

A lawyer w/vanity plates driving onto a downtown community sidewalk blaming 6 year olds for behaving like kids equals BIG problem for his defense team(s)!!

Cadigans, don't let them bully you into marginal settlement. Kids will be incredibly resilient on the stand simply because they'll speak the truth and be incredibly sympathetic to any juror!!!

Feels like an 8-digit settlement by this narcissistic lawyer giving our justice system a bad name.

PS. Isn't there a good joke about a lawyer with vanity plates?


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Over 500 years ago Shakespeare advised us on what to do with lawyers.

Well, we didn't take his advise.

This is but a small example; our congress and executive branch a much more destructive example.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:46 am

1. 90 years old people should not be allowed to drive, period.

2.People, be it children or adults, should always feel safe when on sidewalks. A driver who end up on a sidewalk is always guilty, no excuses.


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Posted by Jason
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2014 at 8:49 am

"claiming the children were engaged in behavior that was reckless, careless and negligent"..... Lawyers, how low low can they go? Even if their job is to minimize the impact of the damages that the driver is going to suffer, there should be some limits - shame on you, the driver's lawyer!!!!


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Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 2, 2014 at 10:39 am

If I were this guy, I DEFINITELY WOULD NOT REQUEST A JURY TRIAL.
ALL OF THE EXPERTS HERE HAVE ALREADY TRIED HIM, WITH OUT EVEN HEARING A SCRATCH OF EVIDENCE..... PITIFUL


 +   Like this comment
Posted by helene
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

No amount of evidence is going to prove that the driver was innocent of causing this accident and injuries. The truth is the person who causes injuries and deaths, unless they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or run from the scene rarely are punished. I am starting a movement to have the law changed. Would you like to join me so that guilty parties are held responsible?


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Posted by innocentuntil-youknow
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 2, 2014 at 11:05 am

You can like or despise lawyers, take your pick. And maybe it was just an accident; or maybe not. But please, let's wait for the trial and the evidence before convicting the driver, kids, City, or anyone else. Please!


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

This is disgusting!! Just looking at the photo it is clear that the driver lost control of his car.
Shame on him and his attorney for trying to manipulate the legal system to add to the families trauma.

Makes me wonder what kind of world we live in!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2014 at 11:21 am

Dear Lia and all you that seem to think 90 year olds should not be on the road. My parents are over 85 and in far better shape than many over 40. Age is just a number. Perhaps a test to see if one can drive at any age would be a good idea. I would much rather have my parents at the wheel at 90 than many of the people I see carelessly driving for example the young guy that hit my dad as he was biking in November or the young gal that hit my friend in October. Generalizations about a person's ability at an age is just insensitive and ignorant. Mr Nelson screwed up- that is what an accident is. Now his and his lawyer's character has been unveiled.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 2, 2014 at 11:55 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Age isn't just a number. That's why there are various laws pertaining to age. Brain development - and atrophy - are tied to age. That's why old people more often have to stop driving than younger people.

Everyone has to be retested to maintain their driver's license. For the elderly, this should be every year. ]

Menlo chronically has problems w/elderly drivers - it always has. It's been a local joke for decades. Los Altos is also a joke. There's a reason these two places are called Heaven's Waiting Room.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 2, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I hate jury duty, but I will gladly volunteer when this case goes to trial.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Ouch.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nancy Jensen
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm

As the wife of a 90 year old careful driver, I was at first very sorry for the 90 year old who obviously made a very bad mistake as we elders can do. But after hearing this ridiculous as well as uncaring response to his own behavior and blaming children instead, I am appalled and hope he is never allowed to drive again as well as paying this family for all the harm he has inflicted.


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Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

Disgraceful!
Only the driver is at fault and its 100% his fault. It makes absolutely no difference what the children were doing! This is just a callous attempt to evade responsibility. Its depressing that a 90 year old man cannot take responsibility for what was an accident and needs to find a way to weasel out of it by blaming the children.
His lawyer is just a lawyer, they will do and say anything, but the driver should be ashamed of himself.
I hope he has the decency to stop this immediately.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by former resident
a resident of Mayfield
on Jan 2, 2014 at 12:50 pm

I guess he moral of the story is, if you don't like the way I drive, stay off of the sidewalk.


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Posted by Understand the legal process
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 2, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I have to fault the Weekly for causing the diatribe in this thread. The language they have quoted is the standard language which is used in any answer filed by any defendant in a negligence claim. California law follows a system of contributory negligence, and if you don't raise it in answer to the complaint you have waived it. The attorneys who represent Mr, Nelson, almost certainly hired by his insurance company, would be guilty of malpractice if they did not include this language, and it is always included.

We have no way of knowing why this case has not been settled, or who, if anyone, is being unreasonable in the process. The author of this article should learn a little more about the legal process, however, and not make standard legal language, found in every form and legal process book in California, into a scandal. Shame on the press, in this situation.


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Posted by P.A. Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm

This guy should have been named earlier than today by the press. He should be ashamed, and his family should make sure he never drives again. And he should be sued to the hilt, and made to pay a heck of a lot to the family.


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Posted by guest
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jan 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm

There has got to be some explanation in that response of how the negligent and reckless blah-blah behavior of the kids made the driver jump out onto the sidewalk. If there is none, that should not be even taken seriously.

Once a lawyer always a lawyer, no matter how old. But I'd like to hear how this goes on.


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Posted by Cat Mom Leonorilda
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I witnessed the aftermath of this accident. This 90-year-old with such an inflated ego needs to have his head examined. He isn't capable of driving safely... the boys were on the SIDEWALK. Stupid, stupid defense... I hope it gets thrown out and goes down the drain.


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Posted by Dorothy blach
a resident of another community
on Jan 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm

I live across the Bay now and at age 90 I am still driving. Traffic is difficult in Palo Alto when I come to see my financial planner in this city. I realize the risk to me as well as anyone else driving a car in traffic, and eternal vigilance is the key. Just because I am 90 is not enough to forbid me getting behind the wheel of my car. Maybe during the trial we will learn more of what caused this guy to end up on the sidewalk. Dorothy Black, OaklandDWKY3


 +   Like this comment
Posted by katie
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:17 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Too Old to Drive
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:35 pm

I hope the parents of the injured children take the old man to the cleaners!!!


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm

The people who are not good drivers are the people who are not good drivers ... that is why it is hard to weed them out, they are not just the very young, or the very old, or even the very drunk or the people on cell phones, or the people who smoke or the people who so any particular thing or are any particular thing.

The one thing that bad drivers have in common as best as I can determine is bad judgement. They do not know when they are a danger to someone else - they do not care enough to pay attention and be considerate to other people.

In the interests of honesty I have been all of these things, except very old (and it will be too soon indeed before I can add that to my list). I have eaten, drank, smoked, dressed, undressed, fooling around, made phone calls, taken pictures, driven under the influence on several occasions (in my foolish youth, never blind drunk, never really been blind drunk), hotrodded, speeded and just about everything else, but I never have had an accident and believe I have never and hope I would never put someone else's live or safety in danger. I know my limits ... and then the other part of that is to know what kind of crazy stuff to expect from other people. It's really simple. There are indeed real accidents, but most of what we call accidents, including I bet this situation, result from inattention or bad judgement.

Today's style, media and movies seem to push against moderation and sensibility but there's a lot to be said for it.

If we could figure out a test for good judgement that it would be great, but until we do, to say ban any group is unfair and discriminatory, not to mention rude, Katie.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I say if you don't mind people behind you honking because you drive a little slow, don't worry and keep on trucking' Dorothy Blach! ;-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I say if you don't mind people behind you honking because you drive a little slow, don't worry and keep on trucking' Dorothy Blach! ;-)


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jan 2, 2014 at 7:57 pm

If only the "driving test" were an actual "driving test" we would be free of incidents like this, and free of congestion on our highways.

If we could only get the worst 10% off the road, the effect would be synergistic, eliminating almost all congestion.

We could learn something from others on this issue. In Japan and several European countries a California drivers license is not honored. Why? Because the qualifications for it do not meet the standards they set for drivers in their countries. Indeed, this is one issue where we might actually benefit from following Europe.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Midtown
8 hours ago
Dear Lia and all you that seem to think 90 year olds should not be on the road. My parents are over 85 and in far better shape than many over 40. Age is just a number. Perhaps a test to see if one can drive at any age would be a good idea. I would much rather have my parents at the wheel at 90 than many of the people I see carelessly driving for example the young guy that hit my dad as he was biking in November or the young gal that hit my friend in October. Generalizations about a person's ability at an age is just insensitive and ignorant. Mr Nelson screwed up- that is what an accident is. Now his and his lawyer's character has been unveiled.
__________
Well said, Elizabeth.


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Posted by Oh please
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 2, 2014 at 8:59 pm

There are at least a dozen other ways to raise those issues in a response without blaming the kids and still preserving your legal rights. He and his lawyers absolutely did not have to phrase things in such an inflammatory manner.


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Posted by Very sad
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2014 at 9:44 pm

I actually feel sorry for the 90 year old. What a.sad sorry man to blame young innocent children to protect his wealth. One can only hope that Jacob Marley pays him a visit before this selfish act becomes his legacy.


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Posted by please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Actually, California DMV studies show that if you look at the risk per miles driven, seniors are basically as risky as teenagers:
"For combined sexes, mileage-adjusted fatal accident rates decline from the teenage years, reaching a low point that is sustained from ages 30-34 through ages 65-69. They rise after that, with the male rate at ages 85 and above exceeding, and that for combined sexes equaling, the rate for teenagers." Your average 85-year-old grandpa is a bigger risk than your 18-year-old high school student.

This doesn't tell the whole story, since seniors are more likely to be hurt in a crash than others, but mileage-adjusted rates are considered a better indicator of judgment on the road, and seniors are literally starting to lose it around age 85. And it also doesn't tell us much about who is more likely to hit pedestrians or cyclists in an auto accident.

For what' it's worth, the DMV doesn't recommend an age limit, it recommends more frequent testing for the elderly.


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Posted by Thanks
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 3, 2014 at 7:14 am

Thanks to "Understand the legal process" for shedding light, not heat, on this matter.
Of course the language sounds despicable but your explanation is far more plausible than the alternative.


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Posted by LOCAL Guy
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

So if you want to make an impact, boycott the law firms involved and boycot the companies they litigate for.
Money is the common denominator and the force that will change this.

CREAM!!!

Cash
Rules
Everything
Around
Me


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dark Knight
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

This guy is such a disgrace to the community and other senior citizens.


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Posted by Mitchell Zimmerman
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

What ever happened to reserving judgment?

I am astonished at the level of vitriol displayed in these comments, and even more, at the need to offer judgment on this case. If the case does not settle, Mr. Nelson will have a trial. A jury of people will be assembled to hear the evidence, and hopefully the jury won't include anyone like Michael, above, who appears to be ready to render a verdict right now based on the newspaper story. The jury will hear what evidence the plaintiff has to offer (not newspaper reports) in support of their side of the dispute, and Mr. Nelson will have a chance to respond with evidence. As "Understand the legal process" has pointed out, Mr. Nelson has so far responded with legal formalities that are not evidence, necessary to preserve his rights.

I hope that after there is a verdict, readers who are not fully satisfied by whatever the outcome may be will stop for a moment and think, 'The jury heard all the evidence, and I didn't.' But given the need to get involved which we see here, notwithstanding ignorance, I'm not too hopeful.


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Posted by midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm


My observation has been that a vast majority of BMW drivers (and fancy cars in general) are Jerks and there is some data to prove it. That's not to say that drivers of other cars are not but Beemers seem to attract the kind of people that I would not want near me.

Web Link

He is also a lawyer? Nice. Keep away from him.

Those 2 kids are EXTREMELY negligent for not knowing these facts and for jumping between the car and the wall, at exactly the same time that he chose to drive it onto the sidewalk and nudge the wall.


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Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

The last comment reminds me of one of the oldest car sayings:

What the difference between a BMW and a cactus?

page down





On a BMV, the pricks are on the inside.


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Posted by Christopher Sidewalken
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Is the DA asleep on this one, or in the bag?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 4, 2014 at 11:54 am

@ Palo Parent, I never heard that one, but hey it is right on the mark. Thx for sharing.


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Posted by I Wonder...
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm

According to the legal folks I've talked to, that list of defenses is absolutely standard, and even the inflated language is quite common. Furthermore, despite the outrage by commenters on this thread, a 90 year old defendant is not likely to want a jury trial, so public opinion may not matter. Another comment--punitive damages would be unlikely. Settlement will probably be upcoming.

As to whether Edward Nelson has found, is finding, or will find a place to hide or protect his assets, that may be likely, but who can tell? Or will tell, once the news gets old.

Interesting to learn more about the legal system, while reading a number of outraged comments with widely varying levels of logic and reason.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

The DA's hands are tied on this one. The only charges that can be filed are for driving on the sidewalk, which carries a miniscule penalty.


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Posted by Oh please
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 4, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Standard language? Perhaps, but should it be? Compare:

First affirmative defense:

"Doctrine of Comparative Negligence: Defendant asks the court and jury to consider the relative damages and conduct of all parties, including the plaintiffs... and reduce damages based on relative fault"

Versus, in this suit:

"... the Plaintiffs so carelessly, recklessly and negligently conducted and maintained themselves so as to cause and contribute in some degree...under the doctrine of comparative negligence."

Same affirmative defense. See the difference?

You have to raise the issue. You don't have to be a jerk about it. The attorneys and defendant in this case chose the scorched earth approach; they had other options.

That point aside, there are hundreds of affirmative defenses and whether it was a wise choice to raise those specific defenses opposed to others in these circumstances is a separate matter.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Christopher Sidewalken - have you read about the controversies involving our county's DA? Wowza :-( He was supportive when the sheriff & undersheriff were busted at an illegal bordello. You know - "boys will be boys" & such.


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Posted by I Wonder...
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2014 at 11:18 am

Yes, Oh please, the language was clearly intemperate and didn't need to be. Interesting to speculate why--just the lawyers being nasty? Instructions from the client--they want to sue me, sock it to them? Simple arrogance?

No way to know, of course.

Another thing I don't get--what's the factual basis for these defenses? The kids just lay around after they got hit, so we're in the clear? You walk the sidewalk, you need to expect to get jammed into a wall by an automobile?

Final question--why aren't we getting any background on Edward Nelson? Are there no records of his work as an attorney? Or is the lid being put on by local officials, press, some influential friends, or all three?




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Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 6, 2014 at 9:21 am

Oh, what righteousness! Everyone hates the lawyers... That is until you need one. Then you'll scream like a stuck pig and say it wasn't your fault!


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2014 at 10:16 am

@AllYouCanEat

This is probably the case, I imagine most of the folks commenting here would do the exact same thing, blaming the kid for being hit. Also, I wonder how they plan on getting around when they're 90, since they've done such a good job at fighting off improvements to public transportation.


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Posted by Arrrggghhhh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

@ Robert,
Not the case. I once had to file a suit against a guy because his employee was at fault for totaling my car with a company vehicle, his insurance company was being horrible, and I had to file at the end of the year or lose all rights (and any leverage to get his insurer to do the right thing). He didn't understand that I couldn't legally sue his insurance company, which IMO shouldn't be in business given their stunning dishonesty and bad faith. But I knew he wouldn't understand the suit and would be stressed by it, and would incur legal costs, so I held off even serving him and the driver as long as possible, especially so it wouldn't ruin his Christmas and New Year's season. The judge was sympathetic because he could see the guy's insurer was just being horrible, but he was pressuring me to serve them. In the meantime, between my own better insurer being willing to cover things that weren't even a part of my policy and to go after the other company themselves, and the fact of the suit filing spurring his insurer to act (however insufficiently), I was able to get my medical and other expenses covered and drop the suit.

Even though the driver in our case was at fault and admitted fault, the suit was in no way anything like the above! How egregious, blaming kids on a sidewalk for being hit! But I can see anyone who would make such claims would equally find it easy to excuse themselves morally by thinking anyone else would do it.

Harvard Medical Practice Studies found that even when clear malpractice results in death or injury, lawsuits only result about 0.2% of the time. Most people do not sue, and those who do, are mostly NOT going to behave like that jerk.

No, anyone else would not do exactly the same thing.


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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 8, 2014 at 9:14 am

SteveU is a registered user.

Why not also sue the city for installing a Sidewalk (with curb) that implied that pedestrians should walk there?

Why not also sue the Cars manufacturer for negligence because they did not equip their car with anti-curb hopping or self driving technology?


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Posted by Longtime Cyclist
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm

This guy's a real piece of work - and of COURSE he's a lawyer (and a Stanford lawyer at that)!

His reaction is beyond belief. This major a-hole jerk should be prostrate before the family and judge begging for forgiveness and offering unending apologies. He loses control of his vehicle, severely injures a little boy, then has the repulsive audacity to blame the children on the sidewalk. This makes my blood boil!

Is there nothing our legal system can do to make this guy "reconsider" his stance? I mean come on, the judge should have some leeway to toss this guy in the slammer for his response.

I hope they fry his arse to the wall and leave him penniless. He obviously has no concern for the lives and well being of children. Rake him over the coals!

So, who's showing up for his hearing? I'm thinking I should be there to help publicly shame this major a-hole!


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2014 at 10:08 pm

@Longtime Cyclist,

"Is there nothing our legal system can do to make this guy "reconsider" his stance?"

This guy and his stance are a product of our "legal" system. Frying his "arse" will do nothing. Eradicating the system that creates this kind of abomination is the only fix.


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