CV A523236 10-day trial
Causes of Action: Negligence, loss of Consortium.
Facts: Nov. 8, 2005 Defendants Truline unloaded 30,000 lb tractor trailer driven by Calkins slammed into rear of Plaintiffs Acura ejecting driver through rear passenger window, and passenger to hit her head. Plaintiff was in UMC hospital and rehab for 11 days. Plaintiff suffered nearly 334 medical visits over past 4 years.
Ed Johnson- Plaintiff age 57, married, retired US Navy, reemployed US Military Sea Lift Command, Department of Defense.
Nimfa Johnson-Plaintiff age 45, homemaker
Theresa Johnson- 23-year-old daughter
Monte Calkins-Defendant Driver-testified he did not see the Plaintiffs vehicle
3 Eyewitnesses testified turn signal was on; truck did not slow down.
Plaintiffs Experts Called:
Mary Ann Shannon, MD Othorpod: Testified the scapular injuries and necessary rotator cuff repairs were causally related to the accident, and he was unable to return to work.
Eli Fishe, MD., Physiatrist UCLA, testified all the treatment was reasonable and necessary.
Hans Jorg Rosler, MD Pain Management: Testified the cervical symptoms were related and necessitated injection therapy.
Russel Shaw, MD, Neurology: Testified the Plaintiff suffered brain and neurological deficits.
Vanessa Godin, MD, Neurologist: Testified Plaintiff suffered frontal lobe damage.
William Orrison, MD Radiologist: testified the brain damage was caused by the trauma and read 3 T MRI
Louis Mortillario, PhD: testified to Plaintiffs Depression and emotional damages, Cognitive abilities were intact, but suffered neuro psychological problems. Plaintiff was a heavy social drinker, which did not interfere with his family or health. His 10 months at sea per year did not allow alcohol consumption.
Col. John Smith, P.E.: Engineer Accident reconstruction and Biomechanics: Testified forces were extreme, that evidence showed clear lack of due care.
Terrance Dinneen, Forensic Economist & Vocational rehabilitation: Could not perform at previous levels and could not return to specialized job involving handling of nuclear weapons systems and high stress performance issues. $160K salary would be impossible to get back. May be able to get a lower paying job.
Herr, MD, testified Defendant passenger was injured but her neck injuries were not related, and she failed to treat for shoulder injury and that MRI for shoulder should have been performed.
Lipson, PhD, Psychologist: Testified Plaintiffs marriage was doomed, and that Plaintiffs alcohol consumption was reason for his emotional problems.
Smith, MD, Psychiatrist & Addiction specialist: Testified uncertain that brain damage was caused by this trauma; Plaintiff was an alcoholic.
Olson, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon: Opined Plaintiff’s neck injury was preexisting; shoulder rotator cuff surgery was unnecessary.
Lew Grill, Trucking Expert: Defendant was driving appropriately given the circumstances.
William Heffner, Accident Reconstruction, testified the perception reaction time was adequate; given the sudden stop caused the accident.
Defendants’ Theory of Liability: Plaintiff caused a sudden emergency when his vehicle his vehicle drifted to the right before making a legal stop.
Defendants’ Theory of Damages: Defendant drank too much causing a hindrance to his recovery and caused his marital problems post impact. Brain damages were manipulated.
IME showed Plaintiff could lift 50 lbs and could return to work
Plaintiffs’ Theory of Liability: Tractor Trailer did not brake until accident was too late, failed to give adequate distance and was tailgating car in between truck and Plaintiff that swerved out of the way of plaintiff’s stopped vehicle that was legally making a left turn off highway on single road highway.
Plaintiff Johnson Damages: Frontal lobe brain deficit causing bubbles in his thought processes, inability to return to work in same capacity as 2nd Mate on Cargo ship with US Military Sea Lift Command which requires heavy lifting and full brain function to fulfill necessary duties aboard ship. Mr. Johnson incurred brain damage to the frontal lobes, 18 fractured ribs, 2 fractured shoulder blades, multiple contusions, two rotator cuff tears, cervical bulging, and collapsed lungs. The brain damages/confusion/ depression contributed to marital discord. Total medical $334,000.
Plaintiff Mrs. Johnson Damages: Mrs. Johnson suffered a head laceration, fractured skull, a subarachnoid hemmorage, and neck and back injuries. Nimfa’s medical damages $34,000
Award: Driver Ed, awarded $334,000 in medical specials, $500,000 past wage loss, $700,000 future wage loss. $1,808,000 reduced by 36% comparative negligence equating to award of $1,157,000. Passenger Nimfa awarded $100,000 past pain and suffering, $50,000 future and medical expenses of $34,000.
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