Plaintiff beats CCP 998 in t-bone collision with disputed injuries. $1.9M. San Diego County.

Summary

Causation and extent of injury disputed when surgery takes place three years after collision.

The Case

  • Case Name: Genovevo Ortega v. Janlene Lim
  • Court and Case Number: San Diego Superior Court / 37-2016-00030962-CU-PA-CTL
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, March 20, 2019
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, August 29, 2016
  • Type of Action: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Kenneth J. Medel
  • Plaintiffs:
    Genovevo Ortega, 39, tile setter.
  • Defendants:
    Janlene Lim
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,957,500
  • Economic Damages:

    $547,500

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $1,410,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 hours.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Panish, Shea & Boyle by Robert Glassman and Nathan Werksman, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Brown, Bonn & Friedman by Elizabeth Bonn, Santa Ana.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Sanjay Ghosh, M.D., neurosurgery, San Diego.

    Douglas Dobecki, M.D., pain management, San Diego.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    William Curran, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Diego.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On November 18, 2014, in San Diego, defendant ran a red light and struck plaintiff at the intersection of 30th Street and Broadway in San Diego. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the collision was a substantial factor in necessitating plaintiff's spinal surgery. As a result of the collision, plaintiff was likely to need an additional spinal fusion in the next decade. Additionally, plaintiff suffered non-economic damages in the past and will for the duration of his life.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability but disputed the nature and extent of injuries.

    That plaintiff’s injuries were less severe than claimed and that plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the accident. Those contentions were based on several factors: the fact that plaintiff did not receive any emergency treatment at the scene, that plaintiff went back to work after the accident, and that plaintiff had a 15-month gap in treatment prior to undergoing surgery more than three years after the collision.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Injuries to L4-L5 disc requiring a spinal fusion. 

  • Plaintiff put on evidence that injuries arising from the crash changed him as a person: He was less happy, less active, and in constant pain after the crash. He also had lesser relationships with his wife and two young sons as a result.  

Demands and Offers

  • Defendant §998 Offer: $435,000 two weeks prior to trial.

Additional Notes

At trial, defense counsel asked the jury to give plaintiff $40,000.

Per defense counsel:

At trial, plaintiff asked the jury to award $3,547,500.

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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