On September 12, 2012, Hunter March operated a Honda 929 motorcycle. He headed northbound on Route 31 in the right hand of two lanes. Meanwhile, Gayle Vandenbergh headed likewise northbound north of Mr. Marsh. Mr. Marsh contended that Ms. Vandenbergh was initially in the left hand land positioned to turn left onto Cedar and as he began to pass her, she suddenly changed lanes from the left to the right trying to turn into a parking lot cutting him off. Ms. Vandenbergh denied ever being in the left hand lane and contended that she was at all times in the right lane and had slowed to turn into the parking lot to her right and that Mr. Marsh tried to pass her on the sidewalk hitting her passenger side. The responding Geneva Police Officer issued Ms. Vandenbergh a ticket for improper lane usage. Ms. Vandenbergh appeared in traffic court without an attorney and agreed to take driving school not realizing such constituted a guilty plea. A passenger testified corroborating Ms. Vandenbergh’s testimony. One eyewitness in another car testified she wasnt sure what happened. Another eyewitness testified corroborating Ms. Vandenbergh’s testimony. Mr. Marsh suffered a neck injury resulting in a c5-c6 fusion of his neck. He had medical bills of $126k and lost his job as a cook.
Ms. Vandenbergh was covered by a policy of insurance with a $100k limit. Mr. Marsh’s counsel demanded the policy limits threatening bad faith if the limits were not offered. On the advice of Mr. DiPino, the insurance company proposed a binding arbitration with the limits as the high and $20k as the low. Plaintiff’s counsel agreed to the proceeding.
At arbitration the parties and evidence were put to the arbitrator. Plaintiff’s counsel also provided the arbitration with an affidavit from a former attorney who claimed that the passenger in Ms. Vandenbergh gave him an oral statement saying Ms. Vandenbergh was in the left lane. After hearing all the evidence and the testimony of the witness together with their demeanor, the arbitrator awarded Mr. Marsh only $60k. The arbitration was binding and final.