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2015 - First Quarter

Table of Contents
April 1, 2015

Trials This Quarter

Assault Trials

Steigman v. Sneed-Kimmons, Multnomah County Case No. 1401-00774

Plaintiff was a paralegal for a family law attorney who was representing Defendant’s ex-husband in divorce and child custody matters. In 2012 Plaintiff was with her employer at the Multnomah County Courthouse for a hearing. The lawyers went into chambers to discuss preliminary matters. Defendant then attacked Plaintiff striking her in the face while pinning her to the wall. The court clerk alerted security and Defendant was arrested. Defendant later entered a plea and was convicted of Assault in the Fourth Degree. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants’ punch broker her destroyed a permanent bridge in her mouth and broke the teeth that supported the bridge. She claims she needed dental implants and suffered bone loss as a result. She also alleged that she suffered a concussion, soft tissue injuries and psychological injuries that required counseling. Plaintiff sought $54,422.24 in economic damages for medical expenses and wage losses. She sought $216,000 in non-economic damages. Defendant claimed self defense. Verdict – $41,245.00.

Bicycle Trials

Leighan v. Kreps, Multnomah County Case No. 1403-03341

Plaintiff alleged that he was on his bicycle heading eastbound on Fremont when Defendant suddenly turned his car left across plaintiff's lane causing a crash.  Plaintiff alleged that Defendant was negligent for failing to keep a proper lookout, speeding and failing to control his vehicle.  Plaintiff alleged injuries including a cervical disc herniation requiring surgery.  He sought damages for medical expenses of $53,353.57, lost income totaling $36,000.00 and non-economic damages of $250,000.

Defendant denied liability.  She alleged that Plaintiff was riding his bicycle between cars that were parked along the curb and cars that were backed up for traffic. She claimed Plaintiff rode his bicycle into the side of her car after she had begun to make her turn. She claimed Plaintiff was speeding, not keeping a proper lookout and did not exercise proper control of his bicycle. Defense Verdict.

Dog Bite / Attack Trials

Travers v. Scheffer, Multnomah County Case No. 1401-00913

Plaintiff allege she was walking along a street in Portland when Defendant’s pit bull barked and charged her causing her to fall over a retaining wall as she fled. Plaintiff claimed injury from the dog attack including a fractured femoral condyle, torn ACL, torn meniscus and complex regional pain syndrome.  She sought damages including past medical expenses of $18,828.57, future medical expenses for knee surgery and related care totaling $63,817.00, diminished earning capacity of $102,253.00 and non-economic damages of $1,150,000.00. Plaintiff established her negligence per se claim as a matter of law in a summary judgment hearing before trial. Defendant withdrew her comparative negligence claim and contested only damages at trial. Defendant argued against the earning capacity claim stating that Plaintiff was unemployed at the time of the incident and should have been able to work in some capacity after the injury.  Defendant contested the extent of the damages by showing surveillance video of Plaintiff grocery shopping three days before trial walking without her knee brace. Verdict - $404,044.75.

Medical Malpractice Verdicts

Urben v. Forsythe, Multnomah County Case No. 1306-08953

Plaintiff had a seizure in 2011.  She was treated by a doctor at OHSU and given medication to control seizures.  The doctor confirmed that Plaintiff was stable and able to resume driving.  In 2012 Plaintiff saw Dr. Forsythe for unrelated issues.  A history was taken that included her seizure and medication.  Dr. Forsythe prescribed Wellbutrin for the unrelated issue.  Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff suffered a seizure while driving and crashed.  She sustained multiple injuries including neck fractures and a fractured heel.  Plaintiff argued that Wellbutrin was contraindicated in patients with a seizure history.  Plaintiff alleged that Dr. Forsythe was negligent for prescribing Wellbutrin when she knew or should have known of Plaintiff’s seizure history.  Plaintiff sought $1,750,000.00 in damages. Defendant admitted prescribing Wellbutrin but otherwise denied each element of Plaintiff’s complaint. Defense Verdict.

Downey v. Hasenauer and Providence, Multnomah County Case No. 1308-11169

This was a medical negligence case filed by Ms. Downey arising out of a contrast enema study performed by Dr. Hasenauer, a radiologist, at Providence Portland Medical Center on August 3, 2011. Ms. Downey sued Dr. Hasenauer and his employer, Radiology Specialists of the Northwest, P.C, for injuries she claims she sustained because of the procedure. Ms. Downey was diagnosed with rectal cancer in September of 2010. She initially underwent chemotherapy and radiation. She then had rectal surgery, involving removal of the cancerous portion of her rectum and resection of her rectum. In August of 2011, her surgeon ordered a contrast enema study, so he could evaluate whether the surgery site in Ms. Downey’s rectum had healed sufficiently. The contrast enema study was performed by Dr. Hasenauer on August 3, 2011. Plaintiff claims that the defendants were negligent in performing the procedure and committed battery on her. Ms. Downey is seeking economic damages of $17,042.46 for past and future medical expenses and $800,000 in non-economic damages. Dr. Hasenauer and his group deny that they were negligent in performing the study or committed a battery on Ms. Downey. Defense Verdict.

MVA Trials

Christman v. Morse, Multnomah County Case No. 1310-14973

Plaintiffs, husband and wife, allege that Defendant ran a red light striking their car broadside in a T-bone style car accident. The husband alleged injuries including a concussion, cognitive disorders requiring speech therapy, shoulder impingement requiring surgery and neck and back strains/sprains. He sought $300,000 in non-economic damages, $27,679.45 in medical expenses and unspecified future medical expenses and lost business earnings. The wife alleged injuries including strains/sprains to her shoulder, neck and back. She sought $150,000 in non-economic damages, $22,301.90 in medical expenses and $4,211.87 in lost wages. Defendant admitted liability but disputed causation and damages. Verdict - $103,060.40 (Husband) and $50,471.55 (wife).

O’Banion v. Rogers, Multnomah County Case No. 1304-05791

Plaintiff was inside a karate studio watching her child. She was seated on a bench with her back to a window that faced the parking lot. Defendant failed to stop her vehicle in the lot and instead accelerated through the window and hit Plaintiff.  Plaintiff’s alleged injuries included multiple herniated discs that required surgery. Plaintiff sought recovery for medical expenses of $56,309.28, lost wages of $12,813.24, future medical expenses of $40,000.00 and non-economic damages of $450,000.00. Defendant admitted liability but contested damages. Verdict - $46,927.92.

Turanov v. Thompson, Multnomah county Case No. 1401-00045

In this car accident case Plaintiff claims that he turned left on a green arrow from Division onto Defendant was coming the opposite direction and made a right turn from Division onto 12striking Plaintiff.  Plaintiff claims Defendant attempted to leave the scene and appeared intoxicated. Plaintiff alleged injury to his hand, neck and back and sought damages including $8,940.69 for medical expenses, $45,000 for non-economic damages and $10,000 in punitive damages. Defendant denied being intoxicated or attempting to leave the scene.  She argued that Plaintiff was comparatively negligent for speeding, failing to obey lane lines and not exercising proper control of his vehicle. Verdict – $13,346.69.

Seid v. Chapman, Multnomah County Case No. 1401-00191

This was an auto accident case. Plaintiff alleged that he was driving on Grand Avenue when Defendant pulled out from a stop sign directly into his path causing a collision. Plaintiff alleged injuries including: neck sprain/strain, back sprain/strain, shoulder sprain/strain, and headaches. Plaintiff sought $23,744.20 in economic damages for medical expenses and $65,000 in non-economic damages. Defendant admitted liability and that her negligence caused some injury but disputed the degree of injury and damages. Verdict – $12,808.00.

Smith v. Boal, Multnomah County Case No. 1401-00013

In this car crash case Plaintiff alleged that Defendant attempted to take a left turn across Plaintiff’s lane of travel and instead caused a collision.  Plaintiff alleged injuries including sprains of her neck, back, shoulder and hip.  She also alleged disc bulges that impinge her spinal cord.  She sought damages including past medical expenses of $31,826.44, future medical expenses of $5,000, lost earning capacity of $17,374.56 and non-economic damages of $225,000. Defendant admitted liability and causation but disputed the nature and degree of Plaintiff’s injuries. Verdict – $10,660.44.

Sherwin and Eckert v. Kincaid and State Farm Insurance, Multnomah County Case No. 1312-17303

Plaintiff Eckert and a friend were travelling down Burnside when a phantom vehicle merged suddenly into their lane causing them to suddenly stop. Defendant Kincaid was travelling behind Plaintiff and was unable to stop.  Plaintiff suffered a low back injury and eventually underwent two surgeries.

Plaintiff brought a breach of contract claim against State Farm for the phantom motorist and a negligence claim against Defendant Kincaid for following too close, speeding and not keeping a proper lookout. He sought $150,000 in non-economic damages and $64,546.71 in medical expenses.

Defendants State Farm and Kincaid agreed to an apportionment of liability between them.  They argued that the crash did not cause Plaintiff’s injury or the need for surgery as evidenced by a long delay in treatment. Verdict –  $5,325.00.

Pedestrian Injury Trials

Swan v. Harris, Multnomah County Case No. 1312-16754

In this pedestrian injury case Plaintiff alleges that she entered a crosswalk after waiting for traffic to clear. She was immediately struck by Defendant’s car and thrown to the ground. She claims that Defendant was negligent for failing to keep a proper lookout, speeding and failing to yield to the crosswalk. Plaintiff’s injuries included: left fibula fracture, concussion, SI sprain with neurovascular damage and chronic swelling of her lower left leg. She sought $375,192.61. Defendant denied liability and asserted affirmative defenses alleging that Plaintiff was not in the crosswalk and stepped directly out in front of Defendant’s vehicle. Defense Verdict.

Chin v. Lin, Multnomah County Case No. 1401-00275

Plaintiff (personal representative of estate) was the widow of a pedestrian that was struck while trying to cross Division Street at or near 84Avenue.  The pedestrian later died from an unrelated heart attack.  Defendant was the motorist who struck the pedestrian. Plaintiff claims that deceased was in an unmarked crosswalk at the intersection.  eased suffered multiple fractures and a rotator cuff tear. Plaintiff sought $69,262.83 in damages for medical care and $210,000 in non-economic damages. Defendant alleged that the crash happened mid-block outside of any marked or unmarked crosswalk.  He further alleged that the deceased stepped directly into his lane causing the collision. Defense Verdict.

PIP Denial Trials

Morales v. State Farm, Multnomah County Case No. 1402-01417

This was a lawsuit brought by Plaintiff against her own insurance company for denial of PIP benefits. After a motor vehicle crash, Plaintiff sought medical care for injuries she alleged were reasonable, necessary and related to the crash. After paying for some care, Defendant terminated her benefits and refused to pay for further care arguing that the additional care was no longer reasonable and necessary. The jury determined that the care was reasonable and necessary. Plaintiff’s Verdict.  Court awarded $26,248.00 in attorney fees pursuant to ORS 742.061.

Premises Liability Trials

Stein v. Capri, Multnomah County Case No. 1402-01341

Plaintiff was invited by Defendants to come to a home they possessed.   When she arrived there was no answer at the door so she attempted to walk down a walkway to another door.  The walkway was built along a retaining wall with a four foot drop onto a concrete surface.  There was no railing or warning of the drop.  Plaintiff fell off the retaining wall and suffered injuries including a broken pelvis, broken sacrum and broken arm.  Plaintiff sought $110,000 in past and future medical expenses, $40,000 for lost wages and earning capacity, and $650,000 in non-economic damages.

Defendants denied liability.  They asserted that there was no hidden dangerous condition that they should have warned Plaintiff about and further that Plaintiff had been in the area of the pathway on at least one prior occasion. Verdict – $33,350.00.

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