The trial team of Carl Amala and Jamie Usera successfully negotiated a highly disputed wrongful death case on behalf of the Estate of Karen Greenstein against the State of Oregon and others. Trial was scheduled to begin on August 13, 2019 in Medford. The case settled against the State of Oregon for $500,000, a store that sold beer to the drunk driver for $500,000, and $100,000 from the drunk driver’s insurance company. (The limit of insurance coverage.) Mrs. Greenstein, a highly acclaimed 911 operator, was killed in a head-on wrong-way I-5 automobile accident on March 27, 2014 when a drunk driver slammed into her vehicle, literally cutting it in half. The drunk driver had a blood alcohol level of .24%, three times Oregon’s legal limit.
Mrs. Greenstein is survived by her husband of 29 years and an adult daughter who was 23 years old at the time of the accident. Over 500 people attended her memorial service, including numerous public safety officers and law enforcement personnel.
“If Oregon DMV had of done their job, he would never have been on the road and Mrs. Greenstein would be here today,” said Jamie Usera, a partner in the law firm of Harris, Wyatt, Amala, LLC based in Salem. Records show the drunk driver had 5 prior drunk driving convictions in California and he had served two terms in prison for DUII. However, the State of Oregon failed to follow laws passed by the Oregon Legislature and its own rules concerning obtaining driving records from other states for individuals obtaining driver licenses in Oregon.
As part of its defense, the State of Oregon claimed “discretionary immunity” and also claimed that the drunk driver would have driven no matter what. The Mail Tribune, a southern Oregon newspaper, stated:
The state’s assertion in the lawsuit that Scott would have driven anyway was a lame excuse.
A major issue in the case was whether Oregon DMV should have followed Oregon law and obtained and utilized the drunk driver’s California driver record which would have revealed his prior history of DUII convictions and license suspensions. “DMV’s position was unfounded” stated Carl Amala, ” we found the information easily and, within hours after the accident, an Oregon State Trooper investigating the crash called the California DMV and was given the drunk driver’s driving information.” Amala is adamant that this is an accident that should never have taken place and that had the Oregon DMV done its job, Mrs. Greenstein would be alive today.
Carl Amala is a veteran trial lawyer in the law firm of Harris, Wyatt, Amala, LLC and has tried and obtained multiple multi-million dollar settlements for his clients.