The first civil jury trial in San Francisco Superior Court in 2020 after the pandemic shutdown. Defense argues the need for treatment was exaggerated by attorney-referred doctors, and that there was a pre-existing condition.
- Case Name: Kelman Garcia v. Ting Lin
- Court and Case Number: San Francisco Superior Court / CGC-19-576555
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, November 23, 2020
- Date Action was Filed: Friday, June 07, 2019
- Type of Case: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto, Vehicles – rear-ender
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Russell Roeca
Plaintiffs: Kelman Garcia, 37, laborer.
Defendants: Ting Lin
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $100,000
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
Past medical expenses: $27,000
Future medical expenses: $38,000
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 9 days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 6 1/2 hours over 2 days.
- Jury Polls: 10-2
Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Law Office of John J. Roach by John Roach, San Francisco.
Martino & Rossi Law Firm, P.C. by Daniel Rossi, San Rafael.
Attorney for the Defendant:
Philip M. Andersen & Associates by Philip Andersen and Michael Daley, Pleasanton.
Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Kenneth Light, M.D., spine surgery/billing.
John Hau, M.D., pain management. (Treating physician.)
Rodney Sweet, D.C., chiropractics. (Treating physician.)
Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Dimitry Kondrashov, M.D., spine surgery/billing.
William Hoddick, M.D., radiology.
Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
Lawrence Nordhoff, D.C., accident reconstruction and biomechanics.
Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Benjamin Ewers, Ph.D., accident reconstruction and biomechanics.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
Defendant rear-ended plaintiff on June 4, 2018 at 9:20 a.m.on East Third Avenue in San Mateo. The speed at the point of impact was between 19 and 30 mph.
Plaintiff was referred to Rodney L. Sweet, D.C. on June 6, 2018 by his lawyer. He treated with the chiropractor for five months, for 30 sessions. The chiropractor did not diagnose lumbar radiculopathy, or make a note of any leg pain. An MRI was ordered showing degenerative changes and a small bulge at L5-S1. At discharge from the chiropractor, plaintiff stated he had no pain that week.
Plaintiff returned to work as a painter three weeks following the collision. A month after his discharge from the chiropractor, plaintiff was referred by his lawyer to pain management doctor John Hau, M.S., who diagnosed lumbar radiculopathy and recommended an epidural injection at L5-S1. This provided relief, and plaintiff had two subsequent epidural injections on a lien.
Plaintiff was then referred to Kenneth Light, M.D. for a consultation regarding surgery. Dr. Light recommended a disc replacement surgery at L5-S1.
That the collision contributed to his low back pain and leg pain, that the three epidural injections were reasonable and necessary, and that plaintiff would require a disc replacement surgery at L5-S1 in the future. Plaintiff also contended that the collision prevented him from playing soccer.
Liability was admitted by the defendant with no comparative fault on the plaintiff.
Plaintiff was able to continue working as a factory worker and no wage loss claim was made. The defense experts testified that the accident did not cause a permanent injury to the disc. Rather, the plaintiff had preexisting degenerative disc disease that was temporarily aggravated by the accident, justifying only a few months of chiropractic care.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Annular tear at L5-S1 causing chemical radiculopathy and the need for disc replacement surgery at L5-S1.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $27,000
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $200,000
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $0
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $0
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $199,000
- Defendant §998 Offer: $50,000