Orange County partner, Esther Holm, together with an attorney from another firm, obtained a favorable verdict for our client, a construction company, and its employee. Plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when defendant’s truck struck the rear tire of plaintiff’s motorcycle. Plaintiff was knocked off his motorcycle and sustained rib fractures, soft tissue injuries and a mesenteric tear requiring abdominal surgery. He was wearing a helmet and did not injure his head. After two months of disability, plaintiff returned to work. A few months later, plaintiff’s attorneys sent him to new doctors for tests, which resulted in further physical therapy and several more months of disability. Plaintiff again returned to work, but quit after a few months, claiming that he could no longer drive. He sued the construction company and its driver. Defense admitted liability, but disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries.

At trial, plaintiff claimed “chronic pain syndrome,” neck and back pain, depression, and psychological problems. He said he required medication which prevented him from driving. He hired experts including neuropsychologists who claimed he was depressed and disabled. His experts claimed the tests results were valid and that plaintiff was not malingering or exaggerating symptoms. In closing, plaintiff’s counsel argued: “All the kings horses and all the kings men can’t return [plaintiff] back to work again.”

Defense, through the assistance of a rebuttal neuropsychology expert, was able to show that plaintiff’s neuropsychological test results lacked credibility and that plaintiff had failed several symptom validity tests. The lack of credibility was also apparent from plaintiff’s own sworn testimony where he claimed to be “on bed rest”, at the same time he was actually on an airplane to Dallas for a vacation. And while plaintiff claimed inability to drive due to dizziness, no doctor reported plaintiff’s condition to the Department of Motor Vehicles as required. Surveillance tapes revealed that plaintiff continued to drive is own vehicle every day while disabled.

Since defense admitted liability, we told the jury that plaintiff was reasonably entitled to $325,000 in damages. Plaintiff asked the jury to award over $2 million for past and future lost earnings, and $130,000 for past and future medical expenses. As for pain and suffering, counsel asked the jury whether $2 million was too little and $6 million to much.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict in the amount of $367,218.88, slightly more than the defense recommendation.


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