MIST case flagged SIU by State Farm. $260K verdict. Los Angeles County.

Summary

Plaintiff says defendant rear-ended him; she says he reversed into her.

The Case

  • Case Name: Carlos Perez, Sr. v. Kailey Gullett, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC665825
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, June 21, 2017
  • Type of Action: MIST (Minor impact, soft tissue), Negligence
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michele Flurer
  • Plaintiffs:
    Carlos Perez, Sr.
  • Defendants:
    Kailey Gullett
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $260,995
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical expenses: $75,995

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $110,000

    Future: $75,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 90 minutes.
  • Jury Polls: Unanimous on all questions.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: State Farm to pay costs of $53,226.48. State Farm also ordered to pay $22,762.08 in attorneys fees pursuant to CCP 2033.420 for costs of proof.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Stalwart Law Group by Brian Poulter and Pat Jacobs, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Mark R Weiner & Associates by Vanessa Ticas and Jay Rubin, Glendale.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Michael Gross, D.C.

    Arthur Kreitenberg, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Stephen Kay, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Arthur Croft, Ph.D., biomechanics, accident reconstruction, San Diego.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Peter Burkhard, Ph.D., accident reconstruction.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On July 28, 2015, plaintiff Carlos Fernando Perez, Sr. and his son were traveling to work at 9 a.m. Plaintiff's car was in stopped traffic on Jefferson Blvd., in Los Angeles, in front of defendant's car.

    Defendant , 21-year old female, was visiting Los Angeles for the summer to complete an unpaid internship as a clothing designer.

     

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That plaintiff was rear-ended by defendant at approximately 9 to 13 mph, and that she lied, saying plaintiff had reversed into her car, in order to avoid getting in trouble with her parents for wrecking her car while in Los Angeles on an unpaid internship.

    Plaintiff's left hand was on the steering wheel with his arm extended at the moment of impact. His right hand was on the car's gear shifter. Plaintiff suffered a tear to the labrum in his left shoulder.

    Plaintiff experienced slight pain and discomfort to his left shoulder within a day of the incident, which gradually got worse over time. He underwent conservative care and treatment (chiro and cortisone injections) over the next year, which culminated in a surgery to repair his torn labrum. The surgery was a success, but plaintiff still experiences slight pain and discomfort today.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant testified that she came to a complete stop approximately 10 feet behind plaintiff's car and stayed there for roughly one to two minutes before plaintiff put his car into reverse and backed into her car at 1 to 2 mph.

    She further claimed that plaintiff exited his vehicle in traffic in broad daylight and proceeded to curse at defendant, attempted to fight her, and screamed racial epithets at her while his 17-year-old son sat in the car and did nothing.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Superior labrum tear from anterior to posterior ("SLAP") of the left shoulder, which required conservative care and treatment and finally surgery.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $75,995

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $249,999.99
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $6,000

Additional Notes

At trial, the defense doctor Stephen Kay, M.D. testified that plaintiff's injuries were degenerative and long-standing despite the fact that he had no medical records or diagnostic film studies that pre-dated the crash. He was willing to concede that plaintiff suffered no more than a sprain/strain.

Defense expert Peter Burkhard, Ph.D. testified that the Delta V of the crash was 4 to 6 mph, which he claimed would likely result in no injury. This testimony contradicted Dr. Kay's testimony of a sprain/strain. Dr. Burkhard was forced to admit that, if what defendant was saying was true (i.e., that plaintiff traveled 10 feet in reverse at 1 to 2 mph before making contact with defendant's vehicle), then it was physically impossible to have a Delta V of 4 to 6 mph as he claimed occurred. Furthermore, Dr. Burkhard was forced to admit that, if what defndant was saying was true (i.e., that Mr. Perez traveled 10 feet in reverse at 1 to 2 mph before making contact with defendant's vehicle), then it would have taken 6.9 seconds before plaintiff's car hit defendant's vehicle. Defendant testified that she never honked while plaintiff was reportedly reversing into her car.

Defendant testified that not a single person in any of the 10-20 cars next to her in rush hour traffic got out to offer assistance when plaintiff was allegedly cursing at her and assaulting her. She testified that she never called the police because she felt compassion and that she didn't want to ruin this man's life. She further testified that, despite fearing for her life, she felt comfortable enough to stay at the scene and exchange information and take property damage photos.

Plaintiff filed a 998 for $249,999.99. Plaintiff's memorandum of costs contains a request for an additional $70,000 for litigation costs, expert fees, and prejudgment interest. Plaintiff also intends to file a costs of proof motion for attorney's fees due to defendant's RFA denials which were based on a lie; if awarded, costs would result in an additional $75 - $100k in damages in the form of attorney's fees.

Defendant's insurer was State Farm, which plaintiff's attorney says marked the file SIU (Special Investigations Unit).

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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