Defendant disputes need for knee replacements after rear-ender. $3M. Los Angeles County.


Jury awarded over $2.5 million in non-economic damages.

The Case

  • Case Name: Robbye Sanders v. Damian O'Hara
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / 20STCV12040
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, February 22, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
  • Type of Case: Negligence, Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto, Vehicles – rear-ender
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Gregory Alarcon
  • Plaintiffs:
    Robbye Sanders, 56
  • Defendants:
    Damian O'Hara
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $3,076,000.01
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical: $262,000.01

    Past lost earnings: $45,000

    Future medical: $200,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $1,819,000

    Future: $750,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 1/2 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: Approx. 6 hours

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Kramer Trial Lawyers APC by Daniel K. Kramer, Teresa A. Johnson and Brandon Salumbides, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Cullins & Grandy by Douglas Cullins and Chanel Araujo, Laguna Hills.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Rajan Patel, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Eric Millstein, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

    Brian King, M.D., radiology.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Rami Hashish, biomechanics.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Isaac Ikram, biomechanics.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On June 21, 2019, plaintiff was working as a pharmacy delivery driver when she was rear-ended on Sunset Boulevard by Mr. O’Hara. At the time of the crash, plaintiff was driving a Nissan Versa Note and defendant was driving a BMW SUV. The parties stipulated to a delta-V of 14-15 mph.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff alleged that she hit her knees on the dashboard in the collision, which caused her pre-existing osteoarthritis to become symptomatic. Prior to the crash, plaintiff had reported knee issues when she had hit her knee going up a staircase, which she reported to her chiropractor.

    Following the incident, plaintiff did return to work the day after the crash and kept working for approximately four months before she was let go due to slow times at work. Over the year following the crash, plaintiff’s condition steadily declined as she went through chiropractic care and injections, and ultimately she underwent bilateral total knee replacements in late 2021.

    Plaintiff was advised by her treating surgeon that she would need revision surgery in the next 15-20 years as the implants wore down. As a result of the crash, plaintiff now walks with a cane and can no longer participate in the activities she once enjoyed, such as dancing, walking, or playing with her grandson, without great difficulty.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability for the crash but disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries. Defendant argued that plaintiff’s condition pre-crash was bad enough that she would have needed the total knee replacements regardless of the crash, as plaintiff was already overweight and had “bone-on-bone” end stage osteoarthritis.

    Defendant’s medical experts opined that it was extremely likely that plaintiff had pain before the crash, given her condition. Defendant’s biomechanics expert opined that the forces involved in the collision were no more substantial than walking down a flight of stairs, and that there was no way plaintiff’s knees could have impacted the dashboard. Defendant also disputed plaintiff’s lost earnings, as the testimony from her former boss was that she was let go because business was slow and she was the most junior employee.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Aggravation of pre-existing osteoarthritis; onset of pain in knees that led to bilateral total knee replacements. Plaintiff's surgeon advised that she would need future revision surgeries as the implants wore down with time. The parties stipulated to the amount of past medical bills, but defendant disputed the reasonableness and necessity of the treatment received by plaintiff.

  • Plaintiff lost her job approximately four months post-crash and has not worked since.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $262,000.01
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $200,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $300,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: n/a

Additional Notes

Multiple CCP 998 offers/demands:

9/17/20 Plf CCP 998 demand of $499,999.99 (revoked)

4/19/21 Plf CCP 998 demand of $999,999.99

6/24/21 Def CCP 998 offer of $52,456.56

9/19/22 Def CCP 998 offer of $85,000

1/4/23 Def CCP 998 offer of $600,000

Defense counsel asked the jury to award approximately $8,000 in past medical expenses, which covered the emergency room visit, chiropractic care, one round of injections, and imaging. Defendant also asked that the jury award $0 in future medical costs, and only $25,000 in past non-economic damages.

The jury awarded the full value of the past and future medical expenses, and $45,000 of the claimed past lost earnings. In addition, the jury awarded $1,819,000 in past non-economic damages and $750,000 in future non-economic damages.

Insurer: State Farm