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Wrongful Death from Motorcycle Accident

Practice Area: Wrongful Death, Motor Vehicle Accident, Brain/Head Injury, Bodily Injury

Wiegand and Schreiber v. Norcal Portable Services, et al.

In May, 2010, German citizens Ulrich Wiegand and Annette Schreiber came to California for a two week motorcycle tour of the Western United States. They were part of a tour group of mostly German citizens organized and led by a gentleman named Jurgen Mayer, a German citizen living in the United States. For the tour Mayer arranged for the rental of 21 motorcycles from a Harley-Davidson dealership in Florida called HD American Road. Mayer advertised the tour with the slogan: “Ride the USA with Harley Davidson.” Throughout the tour Annette Schreiber was a passenger on the back of the motorcycle rented by Ulrich Wiegand.

Toward the end of the tour, the group stayed overnight in Hayward, California on its way back to southern California. The following day, Mayer led the group onto Southbound Interstate 880, but then inexplicably sped ahead of the group leaving the rest of the group to catch up with him on the busy freeway. In the process, one of the group participants, Herbert Nitzgen, passed a truck owned by Norcal Portable Services. When Nitzgen merged back into the center lane ahead of the Norcal truck he startled the Norcal driver who slammed on the brakes and momentarily lost control of the truck. In the process, the truck struck the motorcycle being ridden by Mr. Wiegand and Ms. Schreiber. They were both ejected. Mr. Wiegand suffered serious injuries. Ms. Schreiber struck the guardrail and was killed instantly from a massive head injury.

Mr. Wiegand sued for his own injuries and Annette Schreiber’s adult daughter, Isabella Schreiber sued for the wrongful death of her mother. In the months leading up to trial, plaintiffs settled their claims against Nitzgen and Norcal for negligence in the events immediately before the collision. However, plaintiffs also sued Jurgen Mayer claiming that he was negligent in racing ahead of the group requiring them to pass other vehicles to catch up with him. They also sued HD American Road on the grounds that Mayer was the ostensible agent of the Harley dealership. Plaintiffs settled with HD American Road shortly before trial. After the trial had commenced and jury selection was completed Jurgen Mayer agreed to a settlement.

Resolution: $4.95 Million

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