Esthetician slips on wet paint, causing long-term pain to her left hand. $7,885. San Diego County.

Summary

Defense says injuries are exaggerated and plaintiff over-treated.

The Case

  • Case Name: Grace Sousa v. Sal Concha Painting
  • Court and Case Number: San Diego Superior Court / 37-2017-00004266
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, June 21, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, February 15, 2017
  • Type of Action: Premises Liability, Slip and Fall
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Katherine Bacal
  • Plaintiffs:
    Grace Sousa
  • Defendants:
    Sal Concha Painting, Inc.
    Juan Vasquez
    Eduardo Sabin
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $7,885
  • Settlement Amount: Plaintiff also sued FW CA-Point Loma Plaza, LLC who owns the plaza. They settled out for $3,750 before trial.
  • Economic Damages:

    $3,885

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $4,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 hours.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defendants will be filing their cost bill as a result of beating their CCP 998.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of Daniel J. Williams by Daniel J. Williams, San Diego.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Santa Cruz, Brownwood & Cannon by Sylvia S. Aceves, San Diego.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Richard Brown, M.D., orthopedic surgery, La Jolla.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    David G. Smith, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Diego.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff alleged that on or about February 4, 2015 she slipped and fell on wet paint outside the Point Loma Plaza shopping center located at 3689 Midway Drive in San Diego. The paint that caused plaintiff to slip was a red "fire-lane" stripe that had recently been applied by defendant Sal Concha Painting, Inc. There were no cones, signs or warnings in the area where the plaintiff fell.

    On February 4, 2015, plaintiff saw her primary care doctor who diagnosed her with a contusion to her left hand and left knee. About three weeks later she saw hand specialist Dr. Richard Brown, who gave her an injection to her left hand. She did not see Dr. Brown again until three years later. He ordered an MRI which was normal other than osteoarthritis in her left index finger near her fingernail. Her treatment for the fall consisted of no more than five doctor appointments.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendants were negligent in causing the accident which injured plaintiff.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants admitted liability for the accident but disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff's injuries. Defendant's expert opined that the plaintiff has sustained a soft-tissue injury to her left hand that should have resolved within 2-3 weeks of the fall. Defendants also disputed plaintiff's claimed past and future lost earnings. Defendants relied on plaintiff's testimony that she did an average of five facials a day prior to the fall, which was not supported by the documents she produced in discovery.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff is an esthetician and alleged injuries to her left hand and left knee as a result of the fall. Her left knee resolved.

    However, plaintiff alleged ongoing pain to her left hand which limited the number of facials she could do for the rest of her life. She claimed loss of earnings, loss of profits and future loss of earnings as a result of the fall. She further alleged that, according to Dr. Brown, she may need to undergo PRP injections, laser treatments and potentially surgery in the future. According to plaintiff's expert, Dr. Brown, there is small scar tissue in the plaintiff's knuckle on the left index finger which would not show up on an MRI.

  • Plaintiff also claimed past lost earnings, past lost profits, past economic damages (hiring of a housekeeper); future lost profits, future lost earnings, future medical expenses, and future economic damages (hiring a housekeeper until retirement age).

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: Plaintiff waived her past medical specials at trial.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $15,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $150,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $240,000

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $150,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $10,001

Additional Notes

Plaintiff's counsel asked the jury for nearly $500,000 in closing argument.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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