The case of Trollen v. Koskinen and State Farm (Ramsey County District Court, 2014), was tried before a jury in August 2014. Mr. Trollen alleged that Mr. Koskinen was negligent in striking him and his parked motorcycle on the shoulder of the interstate highway and that State Farm was responsible for the negligence of a “phantom vehicle” that came over on Mr. Koskinen, causing him to move off the highway and onto the shoulder. Mr. Trollen alleged traumatic brain injury, broken ribs, neck, back and shoulder injuries, and past and future inability to work.Deborah Eckland and Scott Johnson defended Roger Koskinen. Koskinen’s argument was that Trollen should have never been on this narrow shoulder and certainly should not have stepped out into oncoming traffic to board his motorcycle. Trollen’s actions caused oncoming traffic to panic and Mr. Koskinen sough the safety of the left shoulder, not realizing Mr. Trollen was there. The jury placed 80% fault on Mr. Koskinen and 20% on Mr. Trollen. (State Farm had been dismissed because of the lack of evidence of fault on the phantom driver.)
The victory for Mr. Koskinen came on the issue of damages. Mr. Trollen asked the jury to award him between 1.5 and 2 million dollars. The jury’s net verdict was only 241K, apparently agreeing with the defense argument that—while Mr. Trollen was badly injured in the accident, he had made an excellent recovery.