In November 2018, insurance defense litigator Jim Perkins of Colman Law Group earned a unanimous defense verdict in Orange County Superior Court.
Our defendant, a young woman studying to be an optometrist, had rear-ended the plaintiff’s car on Highway 57.
Our client admitted fault for the collision at the outset, which caused $2,300 in damage to her car and $1,100 to plaintiff’s car.
No police or ambulance were called to the scene.
We presented the plaintiff with a $7,500 Offer to Compromise which was rejected.
The 25-year-old plaintiff, a restaurant server, complained of ongoing severe back pain. He claimed it kept him from working, as well as curtailing his regular running and surfing activities.
The plaintiff submitted past bills of $7,192 and asserted that he would need $25,000 for future spinal epidural injections.
The demand ballooned
By the time we went to trial, the plaintiff was requesting that the jury award him $108,000.
We urged the jury to see that the plaintiff was simply not injured and to return a defense verdict.
When the plaintiff testified, he was composed and stoic. He maintained that continuous back pain had changed his life, preventing him from working at the restaurant job he loves.
Although the young man had been an avid runner, he stated he can no longer run more than a mile because of pain. And due to a digestive disorder, he was afraid of taking pain medication, including Tylenol.
Irony in testimony
In cross examination, Jim asked if the plaintiff consulted his doctor about getting pain relief. Plaintiff said he hadn’t asked whether Tylenol would be safe to take, even though he asserted moderate to severe ongoing pain.
Although the young man had seen an orthopedist twice and a chiropractor 29 times in five months, in response to whether he had sought care in the last year, he answered “I’m not the kind of guy who likes to go to the doctor.”
Other evidence that made the jury sit up and take note—photos showing minimal damage to the cars, and plaintiff’s admission that the collision only pushed his car forward between three inches and a foot.
In fact, at this point, the jury was clearly angry that their time was being wasted.
A verdict in less time than a Law and Order episode
The judge instructed the jury and they deliberated 55 minutes, taking a lunch break in between.
The verdict was a slam dunk, a unanimous decision for the defense.
We are compiling our Memorandum of Costs to recover expenses from the plaintiff.
Counsel – James Perkins and Dennis Newitt, Colman Law Group
Utilization expert – Henry Lubow, M.D.
Counsel – Jake Cohen of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley (second 2018 case Colman has won against this firm)
Chiropractor – California Chiropractic ($3,298 for 29 sessions)
MRI facility – Precise Imaging ($2,200 lumbar MRI, showed a 3 mm bulge, fairly common in 25 year olds)
Orthopedist – Moshe Wilker, M.D. ($1,694 for two exams, reports, etc.)