Housekeeper with fractures, chronic pain syndrome awarded $5.1 million. Imperial County.


Housekeeper, 59, suffers hip, back and ankle fractures after collision with truck, causing multiple surgeries and leaving her with chronic pain syndrome.

The Case

  • Case Name: Gonzalez v. Joe Heger Farms LLC; Jose Maneses
  • Court and Case Number: Imperial County Superior Court / ECU 08139
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, October 19, 2015
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, March 14, 2014
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Left Turn
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. L. Brooks Anderholt
  • Plaintiffs:
    Elvia Gomez Gonzalez, 59, housekeeper.
  • Defendants:
    Joe Heger Farms LLC
    Jose Maneses
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $5,138,359
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Joint & several

  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Punitive Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 hours.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Tax costs

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Panish Shea & Boyle, LLP by Thomas Schultz, Brian Panish and Spencer Lucas, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Borton Petrini LLP by Paul Kissel and Jonathan P. Geen, San Diego.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Pablo Pazmino, MD
    Brad Cohen, MD
    Sanjog Pangarkar, MD
    David Duffner, MD
    Michael Bell, MD
    Matthew Kozloff, MD
    R. Khaezani, MD
    Jan Roughan, RN. Life Care Planning.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Jerome Stenehjem, MD
    Amy Sutton, Ph.D., RN
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    John Brault, Biomechanical
    Peter Formuzis, Economic
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Richard Holstrom, CPA

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On the morning of December 6, 2013, plaintiff was proceeding in her car straight on Ferrell Road in Imperial County when a truck being driven by Jose Maneses made a left turn in front of her, resulting in a collision. Defendant Maneses was in the course and scope of employment for Joe Heger Farms LLC at the time of the accident.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant was negligent and the cause of plaintiff's injuries.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Admitted liability, but the nature and extent of future injuries and care were disputed.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Fractured left ankle; dislocated right ankle; fractured left hip requiring replacement; low back disc requiring fusion; multiple soft tissue injuries; future left knee replacement; possible future back surgery; possible future shoulder surgery. Chronic pain syndrome.

  • Inability to return to work as a housekeeper.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $422,255 stipulated.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $2,400,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $18,200 stipulated.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $85,327; Family services $1,000,000.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $6,000,000

Additional Notes

Defense admitted past economic damages as well as injuries caused by the accident. Plaintiff's counsel asked for jury award of $19,500,000. Defenses recommended jury award of $3,000,000. Plaintiff did not beat her CCP section 998 offer.