A survivor of an October 2016 triple-fatal collision on J-59 has pulled their $2.5 million wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Danny Anderson and his wife, Diane, while two other lawsuits are scheduled for a joint jury trial next June.
Dorothy Eisemann, a former Copperopolis resident, could not be reached for comment as to why she dropped the lawsuit.
She was driving a white Camry northbound on J-59 when her vehicle was passed by the Anderson’s 2015 Acura MDX. Moments later, her vehicle was struck head-on by a Lexus RX300 driven by Trista Hoffman, 16. Her husband, Rheinholt John Eisemann, died in the collision.
Her attorney in the civil matter, H. Steven Burnside of Palo Alto, said in an email he had reached out to Dorothy Eisemann regarding The Union Democrat inquiry and awaited her response, but did not offer additional comment.
Dorothy Eisemann told Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Kevin Siebert during the ongoing trial of Diane Anderson in the San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton that she had moved out of state.
The request for dismissal was filed on March 1, according to court documents. According to court employees, the case file was transferred to inactive archives in June.
Dorothy Eisemann’s lawsuit had called $2.5 million in damages to be awarded to her and to Rheinholt’s estate due to the Andersons acting with “malice, oppression and fraud” in the execution of what was called the “Anderson Pass” and causing the fatal crash.
Only Danny Anderson was identified in the wrongful death claim. Diane was accused of aiding and abetting both the negligence and wrongful death claims.
Dorothy Eisemann said in the lawsuit she was “deprived of the love, care, companionship, comfort, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support of, and sexual relations with Rheinholt.”
The Eisemann damages included medical expenses, transportation expenses, lost income, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering.
The Andersons face lawsuits from crash survivors Dillon Hoffman and Annie Johnson, two backseat occupants of the Lexus.
The Hoffman lawsuit does not specify the total damages requested by the plaintiffs. The document identifies the lawsuit as an unlimited civil case which “exceeds $25,000.” The lawsuit was also filed on behalf of Dalath Hoffman, Dillon and Trista’s father.
The lawsuit said plaintiffs incurred hospital and medical expenses, general damage, property damage and loss of earning capacity as a result of the collision.
According to court records, Hoffman and Anderson have both requested a jury trial.
The Eisemann and Hoffman lawsuits were filed on the same day, Oct. 11, 2018.
Another personal injury and property lawsuit was filed against the Andersons by crash survivor Annie Johnson on Oct. 19, 2019.
The lawsuit alleges Johnson “was injured in her health, strength, and activity, sustained injury to her body and shock and injury to her nervous system and person” as a result of the collision.
The injuries amounted to a “permanent disability,” the document said.
In testimony during the trial of Danny Anderson, Johnson was described as sustaining brain hemorrhages and trauma. Johnson was 17 and seated behind her friend and driver Trista Hoffman, 16, when the Lexus collided head-on with the Camry in the opposite lane. The collision occurred after Danny Anderson passed the Camry and a minivan in front of it over the double yellow lines.
The complaint alleges the lawsuit derives from an incident involving a motor vehicle and general negligence. It said Johnson suffered wage loss, hospital and medical expenses, general damage and loss of earning capacity.
Johnson is represented by David Walker of Modesto.
The Hoffman and Johnson lawsuits referenced each other in court filings. They share date for a mandatory settlement conference on May 1, 2020 and for a jury trial on June 24, 2020.
The Andersons are represented by Mark A. Bates of Roseville.
In an April 5 filing answering the complaint, the Andersons denied each of the claims.
The answer to the Hoffman lawsuit further alleges that Trista Hoffman was negligent in the matters described in the complaint. The defense filing is similar to a response filed in defense of the Johnson lawsuit.
According to court records, the defense made informal motion on April 19 to stay the case pending the outcome of Danny Anderson’s criminal appeal. The court said it will not accept an informal motion and defense said it may file a more formal document at a later date.
Danny Anderson was sentenced to serve five years, four months in state prison by Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Donald Segerstrom for crossing over the double yellow lines on La Grange Road and causing the accident between the Hoffman vehicle and the Eisemann vehicle.
He was found guilty of three counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, hit and run causing death or permanent serious injury and reckless driving causing injuries, and misdemeanor charge obstructing a police investigation.
Danny Anderson has been housed at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy since he was called to testify during his wife’s ongoing trial. He was transferred to the California Institution for Men in Chino following a short period at DVI while he was being processed into the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Diane Anderson is charged with being an accessory after the fact to vehicular manslaughter, failure to perform a duty after an accident, concealing evidence and obstructing police investigation.
Jury selection began in her trial on Aug. 14. The jury has heard testimony for seven days. The trial resumes at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in San Joaquin County Superior Court.
On Thursday, counsel is expected to make closing arguments.