I was authorized to retain Paul Kayfetz, the
very best photographic reconstructionist available, to assist in the
defense of this dangerous case involving a brain damaged young girl. As a
personal favor to me, Mr. Kayfetz agreed to drop other matters and
schedule his work in advance of the final mediation session before
depositions of expert witnesses was to begin. The idea being that we could
avoid taking the depositions of a huge number of expert witnesses if the
case could be settled. Mr. Kayfetz scheduled the work as requested,
produced outstanding photographs of the visibility of the approaching van
from plaintiff's perspective, and we used those photographs effectively at
the mediations to get plaintiff's attorney to accept what we regarded as a
reasonable settlement figure. During an unguarded moment, plaintiff's
attorney conceded to me that his photographic reconstructionist was a poor
second to Mr. Kayfetz, both as a photographer and as a witness testifying
Weldon S. Wood, Esq. Robinson & Wood November 30,
Mr. Kayfetz is the engineering photographer who was
responsible for the staging and filming of the visibility study during the
night of September 22 and early morning of September 23. His crew was
responsible for obtaining the police support for the road closures,
setting the sensors on the roadway and sidewalks that allowed filming to
proceed at the vehicle and pedestrian speeds established in discovery, and
rigging the equipment necessary to produce the rainfall. In our opinion,
the visibility study ultimately led plaintiffs to settle this case at a
figure considerably below all of the demands pending in the month before
trial. All plaintiffs originally made a joint demand to resolve the case
for $10 million during the first week of September. In the course of the
mandatory settlement conference on September 16, plaintiffs originally
made a joint policy limits demand of $5 million, then raised their
individual demands to $3.25 million for the (orphan) plaintiffs and $3.5
million for (the brain-damaged pedestrian), for a total of $6.75 million.
That demand stood until the mediation on September 24, when the (orphan)
plaintiffs settled for $1.1 million and (the brain-damaged pedestrian)
settled for roughly $1,365,000.00.
John Koeppel, Esq. Ropers &
Majeski October 4, 1999
I always enjoy being
able to relay good news! In this case, the good news is that we received a
defense verdict at the jury trial in this matter. This was a case in which
we were not guaranteed a defense verdict. We hoped to show with your
motion picture that other drivers who were stopped in all lanes of
Westbound I-80 had some responsibility for this accident. After the trial,
I spoke with the jury foreperson who told me that the motion picture
showed him that if the other drivers had set out hazard triangles, the
triangles would have been visible to our driver. This confirmed for me
that the motion picture had the desired effect. Months prior to trial, we
made a Code of Civil Procedure 998 offer in the amount of $329,000. The
plaintiff rejected the offer and countered with her own offer of $600,000.
Since we received a better verdict at trial, we are now entitled to our
costs. This includes the complete cost of the motion picture.
A. Ching May 19, 1999
Thank you for your excellent work on the
crane accident video and animation. It was excellent, and was an
incontrovertible piece of demonstrative evidence showing that the accident
could not have occurred in accordance with plaintiff's theory. This was
invaluable in settling the case at a reasonable price ?from a $2.5 million
demand to a $450,000 settlement, or essentially plaintiff's wage loss.
While we likely would have prevailed at trial, a 1% finding of fault would
have made our client liable for 100% of these economic damages.
wish to thank your crew for their professionalism and attention to detail
throughout. You were all put "under the gun" as we approached trial, and
were able to put together a very effective production that a jury would
have much appreciated.
[See "Computer and Video" pages.]
Rice February 25, 1999
I provided copies, and, of course, explained
what the film and photographs showed. At that point the plaintiff's
counsel decided to fold up his tent and go home. This case was settled for
a total of $50,000, based on over $145,000 in medical specials alone. The
previous demand had been for $1.0 million, which was the full limit of the
insurance policy. I like to think that a lot of the credit for settling
the case at the amount we did goes to you and to Richard Stuart. Your
work, and the beautiful product that you and Richard developed, gave me
the confidence to approach this matter very aggressively and which
eventually resulted in what I consider to be an excellent
Thomas S. Brazier June 17, 1996
I want to thank you
for all of your efforts in the successful prosecution of this matter. The
jury verdict was due in no small part to your efforts in producing the
movie film shown to the jury. It is my belief that without the movie film
we would not have been able to successfully prove liability and rebut the
defense arguments regarding contributory negligence. Your willingness to
assist me during this matter and to help in the questioning of the adverse
witnesses was most appreciated. I very much enjoyed working with you and
look forward to doing so in future matters.
Michael R. Mordaunt; Diehl,
Steinheimer, Riggio, Haydel & Mordaunt; September 24, 1993
above-entitled case has settled. Without your input, Southern Pacific
Transportation Company would not have been in as good a position as it was
to resolve this lawsuit.
Vivian Raits Solomon; Lane, Powell, Spears
& Lubersky; June 2, 1993
Again, thank you for your hard work.
We obtained a gross judgment of 5.3 million dollars. We could not have
done it without the significant contributions by you.
Kerry M. Gough
May 28, 1993
The film demonstrated beyond argument
that the train crew had a clear view of the demonstrators on the tracks
ahead, had ample time and opportunity to stop, and did not do so
?completely debunking the defendants' claims to the contrary. Serious
settlement discussions began for the first time within a few weeks of the
film's first being provided to defendants. The case settled for nearly $1
Thomas Steel; February 3, 1992; [Writing to California Lawyer
magazine. See "Article" page.]
It is in large part due to your
excellent efforts as an expert in this case that we have been able to
resolve the matter out of court.
Kathryn Shubik Diemer January 3,
Thank you very much for your multi-faceted and expert
assistance in this matter. Your quality work has undoubtedly facilitated
an expeditious and equitable resolution. Additionally, it was a personal
and professional pleasure to work with you during the visibility video
tape created last June.
Lawrence R. Cohen March 21, 1990
to your great help in this case, we were able to get the matter settled
the day before the trial was scheduled to commence in the Napa County
Superior Court. We came out of the settlement extremely well and the
plaintiff's attorney got a little more than his costs out of the
settlement, which we consider a real victory.
Stuart M. Gordon; Gordon
& Rees; January 18, 1984
This is just a note to thank you for
your excellent help and thoroughly professional work in our recent trial.
Both the court and the jury were completely impressed. The jury was only
out a little over an hour before returning a complete defense
Thanks again, and I look forward to working with you on the
E. D. Bronson; Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon; December 7,
The State was found to be not negligent, so the State does not
need to pay any money to Plaintiff.
Thanks a lot for your help. The
film played a significant role in the jury's deliberation.
Fell, Deputy Attorney General October 1, 1982
We would like to take
this opportunity to thank you for your excellent efforts put forth in the
recently concluded captioned trial in Hilo. Your expertise and cooperation
were of the highest order, and we really appreciated your efforts. We have
no hesitancy in recommending your expertise in engineering photography to
any of our clients who may require such specialized services. In addition
we thank you for complying with the rather demanding trial schedule in
Wayne M. Sakai May 10, 1982
The verdict was most
satisfying, $728,000 ($3,000 above what I indicated would be a reasonable,
high verdict). Further, contributory negligence was kept down to a mere
15% and three jurors didn't want to hold "V" liable at all. I further
appreciate the considerations you have given in your fee for the days in
which we were not able to place you on the stand. Our check is enclosed
with this correspondence.
Salvador A. Liccardo; Caputo, Liccardo et
al.; March 1, 1982
Mr. Paul Kayfetz is an attorney who functions as
an engineering photographer. Besides dealing with issues such as
visibility line of sights and vehicle pathways as derived from photographs
of accident scenes, he makes unusually accurate movies and stills of scene
visibilities from the viewpoint of drivers involved for presentation at
trials. They truly make unique impacts on juries.
Ph.D. January 26, 1982
This case has settled, due in large part to
the excellent work done by you and Bill Blythe.
Peter Dixon April 2,
Thanks, Paul, for the truly Expert help.
James A. Thompson
July 29, 1981
Unquestionably, the nighttime filming of the S-curve
was the highlight of my endeavors in the field of forensic proofs. As soon
as I am more settled in my new office, I will decorate it with some of the
still photos that you had taken.
Leighton K. Oshima, Deputy Attorney
General, State of Hawaii; October 21, 1980
As you already know, the
Torres case has settled for $40,000. While I feel that this settlement is
a good one (considering that the decedent had a wife and two very young
children and his estate suffered an economic loss of approximately
$300,000 in the opinion of Robert Schultz), it would have been a pleasure
to work with you at the trial and to display our forensic proofs.
to your depositions, the Plaintiff's attorney was fairly cavalier about
the State's liability being easily established and offered to settle for
$200,000. Subsequent to the depositions, his disposition changed
drastically undoubtedly because of our preparation and work-up of the
Leighton Kim Oshima, Deputy Attorney General; August 28,
I am thankful for your valuable services and assistance in
this case. Your advice and analysis was extremely beneficial to us in
obtaining a favorable settlement offer from the City and County of San
Duane L. Nelson; Damrell, Damrell & Nelson; November 21,