$522,689 verdict in low-speed, admitted-liability intersection accident. Sacramento County.


In a low-speed collision with undisputed liability, defendant turns right into plaintiff's car.  Back injury results in years of treatment for back pain and then disc surgery.

The Case

  • Case Name: Lillie Moore v. Richard Mercer
  • Court and Case Number: Sacramento County Sup. Court/ CMS 00081045
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, June 23, 2010
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Right Turn
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. David De Alba
  • Plaintiffs:
    Lillie Moore, 29, restaurant hostess
  • Defendants:
    Richard Mercer
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $522,689
  • Economic Damages:

    Past Medical: $122,689

    Future Medical:  $45,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $185,000

    Future: $175,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 & 1/2 days
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for new trial denied

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Piering Law Firm by Robert Piering and John Beals, Sacramento
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Nageley Meredith & Miller by Lawrence Hensley and Andrea Miller, Sacramento

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Phillip Orisek, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Folsom.
    Mark Diaz, M.D., rehabilitation, Saramento.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Vicki Schweitzer, RN, health care management, Redding.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    In September, 2008, plaintiff and defendant were stopped at a red light, side by side. The light phased green and defendant attempted to turn right, hitting plaintiff’s car. Both testified that the collision was at 5-10 mph. Property damage to plaintiff's car was $1200. Property damage to defendant’s car, $800. Plaintiff was a belted front seat passenger. No injuries or complaints of pain were reported by anyone at the scene.


  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That plaintiff suffered from ongoing back pain due to injury during the accident.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Admitted liability and disputed extent and causation of injuries. That Dr. Orisek charged excessive fees for his services.

    That plaintiff's ultimate disc surgery was unrelated to the accident.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff developed back pain a few days after the accident and was seen by Mark Diaz, M.D. a few days thereafter. Plaintiff was referred to physical therapy and she also saw a chiropractor.

    A few months later, she was referred to Phillip Orisek, M.D. for low back pain. Dr. Orisek recommended conservative care of more physical therapy, which plaintiff underwent at various times for the next 3 ½ yrs. One physical therapist said when he finished with her she was pain free, and able to engage in all activities, so surgery was avoided. Ultimately plaintiff returned to Dr. Orisek for single level disc surgery (L5/S1 disc) in February, 2012.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $191,000

Additional Notes

Plaintiff's pre-surgical settlement demand was $149,000.

Defense initially offered $90,000, then increased to $300,000 ten days before trial.