Surgeon injures vertebral artery, causing stroke. Permanent neurological damage. $628,497 award. San Diego County.


64-year-old business owner underwent cervical revision surgery, suffered bleeding and stroke.

The Case

  • Case Name: David Dominy, et al. v. Neville Alleyne, M.D., et al.
  • Court and Case Number: San Diego Superior Court / A177803-27
  • Date of Arbitration Award : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, March 04, 2011
  • Type of Case: Medical Malpractice
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Jay Cordell Horton, T. Michael Reed, Jeffrey Doggett
  • Plaintiffs:
    David Dominy, 64, self-employed product designer and manufacturer of wind surfing equipment and home renovator
    Constance Dominy, wife of David Dominy
  • Defendants:
    Neville Alleyne, M.D.
    Tri-City Orthopaedic Surgery Medical Group
  • Type of Result: Arbitration Award

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $503,497 and $125,000 to plaintiff wife for loss of consortium
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


    Constance Dominy was awarded $125,000 for loss of consortium.

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Claimant's Motion for Expert Witness Fees and Costs

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Cynthia Chihak & Associates by Cynthia Chihak and Amy Martel, San Diego.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Schmid & Voiles by Kyle A. Cruse, La Jolla.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Bill Mastrodimos, M.D., neurosurgery, San Diego.
    Anthony Bruno, M.D., neuroradiology, Reno, NV.
    Irinel Chiriac, M.D., psychiatry, San Diego.
    Mark Stern, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Newport Beach.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Howard Tung, M.D., neurosurgery, San Diego.
    John Johnson, M.D., radiology, La Jolla. 
    Dominick Addario, M.D., psychiatry, San Diego.
    Michael Gordon, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Newport Beach.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Tony Yip, MBA CPA/ABV, forensic accounting, San Diego.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Laura Dolan, MBA, economics, San Diego.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Claimant underwent a revision cervical surgery on December 8, 2009 performed by respondent, Neville Alleyne, MD.  His left vertebral artery was injured, causing severe bleeding and an ischemic stroke resulting in permanent tremor, loss of balance and depression. His wife's claims were for loss of consortium.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That respondent lacerated the vertebral artery during the decompression of the C4-C3 disc space by straying from the operative field and cutting the artery with the rongeur, a surgical instrument.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That a screw from the earlier surgery exceeded the C4 vertebral body and injured the artery. After the screw was removed by Dr. Alleyne the artery ruptured, causing the bleed.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    As a consequence of the bleed, claimant suffered an ischemic stroke, involving bilateral hemispheres of the cerebellum.  His residual damages were balance issues, left upper extremity tremor and loss of dexterity and depression.

  • Loss of household services: $253,000

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $15,801.69
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $27,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $110,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $60,965

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $450,000 for Claimant and $150,000 for Claimant's Wife
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $0
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $0

Additional Notes

Two of the three arbitrators found that the injury to the vertebral artery was caused by respondent and not by an abrading screw with a delayed rupture.