Defense says gaps in treatment show unnecessary treatment after crash. $1.3M. Los Angeles County.

Summary

Defense admits liability after crash at intersection. Defendant's 998 offer was $249,999.

The Case

  • Case Name: Nathaniel Lee Sherman v. Annette Maxine Rubin
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / 19STCV28416
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, November 06, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, August 12, 2019
  • Type of Case: Highlighted Verdicts, Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto, Vehicles - Intersection
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michelle Fleur
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,378,441.21
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical: $461,441.26

    Future medical: $300,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $77,000

    Future: $540,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 7 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 hours
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for new trial and remittitur in progress.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Abron Law, P.C. by Byron (B.J.) Abron, Beverly Hills.

    Wilshire Law Firm, PLC of Hazel Chang, Los Angeles. 

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Ford, Walker, Haggerty & Behar, LLP by Jennifer Russell, Long Beach. 

    Ford, Walker, Haggerty & Behar, LLP by Andrew Leal, Corona.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Andrew Fox, M.D., neurosurgery.

    Jan Roughan, life care planning.

    Todd Gravori, M.D., neurosurgery. (Treating physician.)

    Simon Lavi, M.D., orthopedic surgery. (Treating physician.)

    Josephy Enyati, M.D., pain management. (Treating physician.)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Srinath Samudrala, M.D., neurosurgery.

    Allen Chen, M.D., pain management.

    Lawrence Harter, M.D., radiology.

    Mary Jesko, life care planning.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On September 30, 2017, plaintiff (25 years old at the time), was traveling westbound in his Toyota Corolla on Carmelita at the intersection of Rodeo in the city of Beverly Hills. After stopping at the stop sign, he proceeded forward and was struck by the defendant, who was driving a Range Rover. The force of the crash caused airbag deployment and caused his vehicle to spin and rotate onto the northwest corner of the intersection and go up the curb. Prior to trial defendant admitted negligence.

    Plaintiff went to the hospital the night of the collision with complaints of shoulder pain. He sought treatment two weeks later with a chiropractor with complaints of pain in his shoulder, lower back and neck. He underwent chiropractic treatment, several rounds of physical therapy, and then pain management which included facet PRP injections and medical branch block in his cervical and lumbar spine. Due to continued pain, in April of 2021, he ultimately had a right L3/L4, L4/L5 micro decompression surgery by Dr. Todd Gravori, but the surgery failed and plaintiff was still in pain.

    Plaintiff had several gaps in treatment, which he argued was related to relief from some of the treatment he received. The biggest issue was he did not report back pain in the ER and for several months when treating with Dr. Enayati, the pain-management specialist. Also, he did not report radiculopathy until he saw Dr. Gravori on January 6, 20221. Dr. Gravori opined plaintiff will need fusion in the next 5 -10 years.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That all the injuries and treatment were a result of the collision. That plaintiff will need future medical treatment and lumbar fusion surgery.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That Plaintiff did not require surgery on his lumbar spine, and that his treatment after six months was not related to the subject collision. That plaintiff had a two-week gap in treatment from the day after the subject collision until his first chiropractic visit and he also had a 19-month gap in treatment during the course of his treatment.  

    Further, that plaintiff did not report low-back pain the day of the collision and for several months when treating with pain management physicians. That he never reported radiculopathy until over three years after the subject collision. Video of plaintiff performing in a band before the surgery showed he was not in pain, however plaintiff claimed he could no longer pursue his modeling and acting dreams.  Defense further contended that because surgeries were unnecessary and unrelated to the subject collision, plaintiff requires no future care. 

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Shoulder, cervical and lumbar injuries with multiple PRP and facet injections and rhizotomy.  Also lumbar decompression surgery L3/L4, L4/L5,  and future injections, rhizotomies and most likely surgical fusion.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $275,000 prior to surgery
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $249,999

Additional Notes

Insurer: AAA