Chronic pain syndrome claimed after pedestrian is hit in crosswalk. $3.2 million. San Francisco County.

Summary

Plaintiff hit by taxi claims "chronic pain syndrome" but defense says chronic pain was a pre-existing condition. Both sides offer multiple experts.

The Case

  • Case Name: Geeta B. v. Luxor Cab Company, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: San Francisco County Superior Court / CGC-11-514969
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, June 26, 2014
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
  • Type of Action: Vehicles - vs. Pedestrian
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Richard B. Ulmer, Jr.
  • Plaintiffs:
    Geeta B., 30, process engineer.
  • Defendants:
    Luxor Cab Company, Ammar Alhanshali, and Does 1 to 100
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $3,200,000
  • Net Verdict or Award: $3,200,000
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Defendants were joint and severally liable for the verdict.

  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None - Defendants admitted 100% liability but contested damages.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past Medical Expenses: $152,003

    Past Lost Wages: $199,332

    Past Health Insurance Benefits: $10,969

    Past Personal Property Loss: $600

    Future Medical Expenses: $205,776

    Future Wage Loss: $550,000

    Future Health Ins. Benefits: $14,567

    Future Pension Benefits: $66,377

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Distress: $500,000

    Future Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Distress: $1,500,3760

  • Punitive Damages:

    Not Applicable.

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 14 court days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day
  • Jury Polls: None. The defense did not request to poll the jury.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defendant's Motion for New Trial was Denied 8-15-14; Costs and Prejudgment Interest of $685,066.96 awarded 8-15-14.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    The Dolan Law Firm by Christopher B. Dolan, Quinton B. Cutlip, and Drew M. Sanchez, San Francisco.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Cesari, Werner & Moriarty by Dennis F. Moriarty and Stephen L. Dahm, Daly City.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Michael H. Moskowitz, M.D., pain management, Sausalito.
    Mark D'Esposito, M.D., neurology, Berkeley.
    Charles Filanosky, Ph.D., neuropsychology, San Francisco.
    Dieter Bruno, M.D., urology, Redwood City.
    Jerome Weiss, M.D., pelvic pain, San Francisco.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Charles Sciaroni, M.D., orthopedics, Daly City.
    David Bradshaw, M.D., physical medicine rehabilitation, Castro Valley.
    Andrew Pienkny, M.D., urology, Berkeley.
    John Zeitz, M.D., psychiatry, San Francisco.
    William Hooker, Ph.D., neuropsychology, San Francisco.
    Peter Cassini, M.D., neurology, Palo Alto.
    John Wachtel, M.D., gynecology, Menlo Park
    Jerome Goldstein, M.D., treating neurologist, San Francisco.
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Carol Hyland, M.S., C.D.M.S., C.L.C.P, vocational expert, Lafayette.
    Phillip Allman, Ph.D., economics, Oakland.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Carla Kelley, M.R.C., CDR, CDMS, vocational expert, Oakland.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On October 13, 2009, plaintiff was walking in the crosswalk across Hyde Street at the intersection with Clay Street in San Francisco. It was raining. Defendant driver Ammar Alhanshali, who was driving a Luxor Cab Company taxi cab, struck plaintiff in the crosswalk.

    The taxi cab passenger testified, contrary to Mr. Alhanshali's testimony, that the cab driver was looking at his phone and that the impact shook the entire cab.

    Plaintiff was knocked into the air, onto the hood, and then onto the ground. She does not recall being struck. All she recalls is being on the ground, in the rain, until emergency personnel arrived and moved her. At the scene she complained of severe pain in her neck, tailbone, left foot, shoulder and back.

    Radiology did not reveal any injuries, so she was sent home from the emergency room.

     

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendants were negligent.

    That plaintiff was severely injured in the collision and her injuries developed into a chronic pain syndrome that prevented her from socializing, dating, and ultimately working. Plaintiff had been a professionally successful person who had been very sociable and active right up until she was hit. She had run a half marathon not long before the collision and had hiked to the top of Mount Tam in Marin County the day before the collision. 

     

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants admitted 100% fault for the collision and that Luxor Cab Company was liable for all damage caused by Ammar Alhanshali.

    Defendants contended that plaintiff’s physical injuries consisted of a bruised tailbone, back strain, bruised heel and possible shoulder strain, and that those injuries healed within 6-8 weeks of the accident.  That plaintiff did not suffer a traumatic brain injury as claimed, and denied that she suffered a pudendal nerve injury. 

    Further contended that plaintiff suffered from chronic pain before the accident, shown by her medical and chiropractic records, and that her depression was caused at least in part by pre-existing conditions and events that occurred after the accident. Also, that plaintiff was able to return to work shortly after the accident, and that the accident did not cause the claimed disability which began three years after the accident.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff continued to suffer pain and discomfort and continued receiving treatment. She received extensive treatment for her pelvic pain, back pain, right foot pain, and shoulder pain. Her symptoms became chronic and she developed a chronic pain syndrome as a result of the collision.

    Inability to date, socialize, or remain in her profession while receiving treatment for pain.

    Per defense counsel: Plaintiff had contended she suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident which was continuing to cause cognitive difficulties; she had also complained of a pudendal nerve injury which caused incontinence and vulvodynia.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $152,003
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $325,0000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $199,332
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $1,908,435

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $999,999
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $350,000

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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