Plaintiff claims neck and low back injuries, has back surgery. $136,000 verdict. San Bernardino County.


CalTrans worker's snow plow truck is hit on mountain road; liability admitted but defense says plaintiff's treatment was excessive and unnecessary.

The Case

  • Case Name: Laub v. Doucett
  • Court and Case Number: San Bernardino County Superior Court / CIVDS 1313972
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, July 27, 2015
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Donna Garza
  • Plaintiffs:
    Keith Alan Laub
  • Defendants:
    Bruce Wayne Doucett
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $136,000
  • Economic Damages:

    Past Medical Expenses: $60,000

    Past Loss Earnings: $16,000

    Future Medical Expense: $20,000

    Future Loss of Earnings: $5,000.00

    Total $101,000 awarded.

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $35,000 General Damages awarded.

  • Punitive Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 5 hours
  • Jury Polls: 9-3
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: None at this time.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Sanford Kassel, San Bernardino.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Klute & Newton by Duane A. Newton, Redlands.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Stuart Gold, M.D., orthopedics, Torrance.

    Alex Etemad, M.D., orthopedics, Lakewood.

    Barry Pressman, M.D., radiology, Los Angeles.


  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Gary Painter, M.D., orthopedics, Loma Linda.

    Richard Rhee, M.D., radiology, Newport Beach.

    Agnes Grogan R.N., medical billing, Huntington Beach.


  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):


  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):


Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Defendant, driving a truck, was going around a curve in the mountains, on a wet roadway surface when the rear of his truck slid into the opposing lane and hit plaintiff's snow-plow truck. Plaintiff was a CalTrans employee and was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident but treated outside the Workers Compensation system on a lien basis.  Liability was admitted.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the impact from defendant's truck caused physical injuries to plaintiff  as described below.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That medical treatment received by plaintiff was excessive and unnecessary. That there was no change seen in the cervical and lumbar films following the accident. That treatment for the first month after the accident was almost all to the mid back (not neck or low back). That there was no recorded radiculopathy into plaintiff's legs noted for almost 17 months. That the epidurals/facet injections and percutaneous diskectomy and future surgery were not warranted. That no instability was seen in lumbar spine to support the fusion. That medical charges were excessive.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff claimed severe neck and low back complaints from accident. He eventually had epidural/facet injections to his neck and low back and then had a percutaneous L4-5 diskectomy by Dr. Etemad from HealthPointe.

    At the time of trial, plaintiff stated that he was going to have an L5-S1 fusion in three weeks and that he would have a cervical fusion within the year. Dr. Etemad and Dr. Gold stated that the need for the treatment was from the motor vehicle accident. Submitted were medical bills in excess of $120,000 and future medical charges of $200,000.Plaintiff also claiming a past loss of earning and future loss of earnings.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: Approx $99,335
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $200,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $28,593
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $49,500

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $100,000 policy limit.

Additional Notes

Plaintiff asked for $2,377,428. Defendants suggested around $100,000. 

Per plaintiff's counsel: Defendant argued $40,000 in damages and submitted medical bills per defense billing expert Agnes Grogan for $47,000.