MIST case: plaintiff w/ pre-existing conditions receives verdict for $1 million. Los Angeles County.


65-year-old student, an "eggshell" plaintiff, is rear-ended.

The Case

  • Case Name: William Deloney v. Esmeralda Fabian Martinez; La Opinion LP
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court, BC508736
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, August 04, 2016
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, May 13, 2013
  • Type of Case: MIST (Minor impact, soft tissue), Vehicles – rear-ender
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. C. Edward Simpson
  • Plaintiffs:
    William Deloney, 65, unemployed, student.
  • Defendants:
    Esmerelda Fabian Martinez; La Opinion LP
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,041,697
  • Economic Damages:

    Past Medicals: $41,524

    Future Medicals: $37,173


    Total: $78,697


  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past Pain and Suffering: $195,000

    Future Pain and Suffering: $768,697


    Total: $963,697

  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 1/2 hours.
  • Jury Polls: 11-1

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Carpenter Zuckerman & Rowley by Pejman Ben-Cohen, Beverly Hills.

    Srourian Law Firm by Daniel Srourian, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Offices of Steven Levine by Mike Herzog, Torrance.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Fardad Mobin, M.D., neurosurgery, Beverly Hills.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Geoffrey Miller, M.D., orthopedic surgery, El Segundo.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On February 16, 2012, plaintiff was driving his Chrysler 300C in the number one lane on the 110 Southbound Harbor Freeway, when he was rear-ended by defendant Martinez, who was in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident.. Plaintiff's car sustained minor property damage. Plaintiff denied injuries at the scene to the investigating officers and refused transport by emergency personnel.

    He went from the accident scene to school where he took a final exam. Four days later he went to a chiropractor, continued for 30 visits and was discharged on May 26, 2012 without any referral for additional treatment. Prior to discharge from chiropractic care, on May 5, 2012, plaintiff had MRIs of his neck and low back.

    His neck MRI showed a 3 mm degenerative disc herniation at C5-6 and C6-7 with no cord compression. His lumbar MRI showed a 3mm disc herniation at L5-S1.

    On June 5, 2012, plaintiff went to Roy Simon, M.D. Two lumbar epidurals were performed on 11/12/12 and 12/12/12 which provided minimal relief. Plaintiff had no treatment from 12/12/12 to the time of trial although his pain continued.

    He had gone to Dr. Fardad Mobin who recommended PT, pain management, acupuncture and follow-up visits to a pain management doctor because any surgery such as a "decompression surgery" could not be performed since plaintiff had a pre-existing heart condition and diabetic neuropathy.

    Past medical expenses were $41,524 and it was all on a lien. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the forces in the accident combined with his susceptibility to injury resulted in his injuries and ongoing pain; that his activities have been restricted and he will require future medical treatment.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    The defense doctor was Geoffrey Miller, M.D., who testified that the chiropractic treatment was reasonable and that plaintiff's soft-tissue injuries should have resolved 6-8 weeks after the crash. He also testified that all of plaintiff's complaints were due to his diabetic neuropathy and long-standing chronic back pain.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $41,524.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $60,000 - served 3 months before trial.
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $20,000