Saiz v. Garcia

On April 16, 2024, the jury found in favor of the Defendant and against the Plaintiff in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit.

 Case Background

The motor vehicle accident lawsuit was filed on July 14, 2020, by Plaintiff Sharon Saiz. She filed a complaint against Jacqueline Garcia, Jaime Garcia, Hipolito Areli, and Does 1 to 100 in the Superior Court of California, County of Contra Costa (Case number: MSC20-01471). The case was presided over by Judges Jill C. Fannin and Terri Mockler.


On August 24, 2018, at approximately 9:36 am, Sharon Saiz was involved in a motor vehicle accident on eastbound Highway 24 in Pleasant Hill, California. The defendants, Jacqueline Garcia, Jaime Garcia, and Hipolito Areli, allegedly operated, owned, or were otherwise responsible for a vehicle that collided with Saiz’s vehicle. Saiz claimed that the defendants acted negligently in their use, ownership, steering, maintenance, sharing, lending, borrowing, and operation of the motor vehicle that caused the collision. The complaint suggested that the defendants failed to maintain proper control of their vehicle, did not keep a proper lookout for other vehicles, and generally failed to exercise due care while operating their vehicle on the highway. Saiz also alleged that some of the defendants might have entrusted the vehicle to others or employed the person operating the vehicle at the time of the accident.


As a direct and proximate result of the defendants’ alleged negligence, Sharon Saiz suffered injuries. While the specific injuries were not detailed in the complaint, it stated that Saiz experienced both general and special damages due to the collision. General damages typically refer to non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Special damages usually include quantifiable economic losses. The complaint implied that Saiz’s injuries were significant enough to require medical treatment and affect her ability to work and engage in normal daily activities.


Sharon Saiz claimed various types of damages resulting from the accident. These included wage loss, loss of use of property, hospital and medical expenses, general damages, property damage, and loss of earning capacity. The exact amount of damages was not specified in the complaint, with Saiz requesting compensation “according to proof.”

Key Arguments and Proceedings

Legal representation

  • Plaintiff(s):Sharon Saiz
    • Counsel for Plaintiff: Pete Clancy | Sanford M. Cipinko


  • Defendant(s):Jacqueline Garcia Gutierrez | Jaime Gutierrez
    • Counsel for Defendants: Edgar W. Hawkyard


The complaint included two causes of action:

1.Motor Vehicle Negligence: Saiz alleged that the defendants negligently operated, owned, maintained, or controlled the vehicle that caused the accident.

2.General Negligence: This broader claim encompassed any negligent actions by the defendants that led to the collision and subsequent injuries.

Saiz alleged that the defendants’ negligent actions were the legal and proximate cause of her injuries and damages. She sought compensatory damages to cover her economic and non-economic losses, as well as punitive damages, suggesting that the defendants’ conduct may have been particularly egregious or reckless. Saiz also claimed costs of the suit.

Additionally, Saiz alleged that some defendants may have been acting as agents or employees of other defendants at the time of the incident. This potentially extended liability to employers or principals under the doctrine of respondeat superior. The inclusion of Does 1 to 100 allowed for the possibility of adding other defendants as their identities and potential liability became known during the course of the litigation.


The defendants denied all allegations in the complaint and asserted that Saiz had not been injured or damaged as claimed. They presented eight affirmative defenses, arguing that Saiz’s own negligence contributed to the incident and any resulting damages. They claimed that other parties’ negligence might have caused or contributed to Saiz’s injuries, potentially reducing their liability. The defendants also stated that the complaint failed to present sufficient facts for a valid cause of action.

They contended that Saiz failed to mitigate her damages. They argued that, if found liable, they should only be responsible for non-economic damages proportional to their assessed fault. The defendants also raised the statute of limitations as a defense. Additionally, they argued that Saiz assumed the risks involved in the incident. Finally, they suggested that workers’ compensation laws might apply if Saiz was injured during her employment. The defendants requested that Saiz receive nothing from her complaint and that the court award them judgment for their legal costs.

Jury Verdict

On April 16, 2024, the jury delivered their verdict on the negligence claim against Defendant Jacqueline Garcia Gutierrez. They found that Jacqueline Garcia Gutierrez was not negligent.

Court Documents:

Available upon Request













Jury Verdict