Rear-ender causes ongoing neck and back pain. $12,500. Orange County.

Summary

Active-duty serviceman claims ongoing pain (four years) from rear-ender. All specials paid by military.

The Case

  • Case Name: Dante Calvo v. Patricia Tuqan
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Superior Court, Limited Jurisdiction / 30-2016-00874301
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, August 02, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, September 12, 2014
  • Type of Action: Vehicles - Freeway, Vehicles – rear-ender
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Frederick P. Horn
  • Plaintiffs:
    Dante Calvo
  • Defendants:
    Patricia Tuqan
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $12,500
  • Net Verdict or Award: $12,500
  • Economic Damages:

    $0

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $12,500

  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 hour.
  • Jury Polls: 8-0
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Memo of costs for $12,260.13; Prejudgment interest under CCP 3291 of $1,250.00+ Motion to tax costs pending.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Danielson Kim Law Group, P.C. by Anthony I. Danielson, Sacramento.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Offices of Steven Levine by Jessica E. Carranza and Theodore Martin Endres, Torrance.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff Dante Calvo, active-duty Senior Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, was visiting relatives on leave in Orange County. On September 13, 2014, plaintiff was driving westbound on Highway 91 and was approaching the Highway 55 interchange, when traffic slowed ahead. Plaintiff braked to a stop, and defendant's four-door sedan suddenly collided with the left-rear quarterpanel of plaintiff's four-door sedan.

    Defendant's car was towed from the scene, while plaintiff's car (a rental) was driven to the nearest Hertz location and returned. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant's speed at impact was 20-30 mph.

    Plaintiff admitted to pre-existing, but manageable lower back pain and traumatic injury to his spine many years prior to the collision. Plaintiff testified that he was cleared for full duty and served in a forward-operating-base combat zone in Afghanistan (where he was often required to carry out extremely physical maneuvers and regularly donned a heavy helmet and military gear weighing in excess of 50 pounds) in 2013, a year before the collision.

    Plaintiff contended that the collision gave rise to new upper back and cervical pain and radiating symptoms that did not materially improve over the four years from collision to trial, despite increasingly aggressive pain management treatment, chiropractic care, physical/occupational therapy, and facet injections. Plaintiff testified that his pain symptoms were so severe that he was not physically able to share a bed with his spouse given that he awoke regularly every 90 minutes on average from sleep-interrupting pain in order to reposition his body. He further testified that his acute back and neck pain negatively affected his personal life, his interactions with his family, spousal intimacy, and prevented him from engaging in many of his favorite physical activities that he used to enjoy prior to the collision.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability, but disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff's claimed injuries.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Migraines which resolved four months post-collision; constant, radiating cervical and upper back pain. As an active-duty serviceman, plaintiff's medical treatment was fully paid for by the Military Health System, which issued a lien claim of approximately $3,600 for nearly four years of neck and back treatments, physical therapy, surgical evaluations, occupational therapy, and chiropractic care.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $12,500
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $5,000

Additional Notes

Defendant's insurer: Allstate, with defendant represented by Allstate's in-house counsel.

Per Plaintiff's counsel:

Trial was by Expedited Jury Trial. Trial initially set for March 2018, but no courtroom availability, so parties re-set for July 30, 2018. Pre-litigation, Allstate refused to offer more than $5,000, citing no medical specials (all medicals were paid by the military).

 

Disclaimer

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