Freeway rear-ender injures plaintiff, age 50, with long history of back pain complaints. Liability admitted but causation and extent of injuries disputed.
- Case Name: Juvenal Hernandez v. Juan Pacheco
- Court and Case Number: San Diego Superior Court /37-2011-00102264
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
- Date Action was Filed: Friday, December 09, 2011
- Type of Case: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto, Vehicles - Freeway
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Ronald L. Styn
Plaintiffs: Juvenal Hernandez, 50
Defendants: Juan Pacheco
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: Defense verdict, no causation.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 30 minutes
- Jury Polls: 11-1 no causation
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defendant will seek expert fees and costs for beating the CCP 998 offer. That judgment will be partially offset by Plaintiff's stipulated award of $11,335 which arose out of negotiations for reduction of medical specials under Howell v. Hamilton Meats.
Attorney for the Plaintiff: Law Office of Michael E Moore by Michael E. Moore, San Diego.Law Office of Frank De Santis by Frank De Santis and Thomas De Santis, Chula Vista.
Attorney for the Defendant: Law Offices of Scott D. Schabacker by Scott D. Schabacker, San Diego.
Plaintiff’s Medical Experts: John Finkenberg, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Diego
Defendant's Medical Experts: Howard Tung, M.D., neurosurgery, San Diego
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
Plaintiff and defendant were involved in an automobile collision on Interstate 8 in San Diego on April 29, 2011. The defendant's Nissan rear-ended the plaintiff's Oldsmobile (Delta V estimated at 12-14mph). The defense admitted liability but contested causation and damages.
Plaintiff, a Hispanic male with a second grade education who testifed through an interpreter, had been on SSI Disability since 2001. He was obese and had been seen repeatedly, for years before the accident, by health-care providers for complaints of chronic back pain.
That the accident aggravated his pre-existing chronic spinal pain and necessitated two spine surgeries and forced him to incur medical bills of $170,000.
That the plaintiff asserted pre-existing symptoms and a prior injury from a protracted 2000-2005 worker's compensation claim, and that plaintiff's chronic pain pattern before the accident was the same as the symptoms reported after the accident. That as a result of the accident, plaintiff should not have required anything more then non-surgical treatment for a sprain or strain.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Plaintiff claimed neck and back injuries and two spine operations. He had a cervical fusion at C4-5 and a lumbar laminectomy at L4-5. He also had extensive medical treatment, chiropractic care, injections and four MRI studies.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $170,000 reduced to $61,000 under Howell v. Hamilton Meats.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $175,000.
- Defendant §998 Offer: $50,000 policy limit.