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2015 - Third Quarter

Table of Contents
October 1, 2015

Trials This Quarter

Bicycle Trials

Miller v. Meredith, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV12677

Plaintiff Miller was riding his bicycle westbound on SW Multnomah Boulevard. He was in the bicycle lane. Defendant Meredith was driving the opposite direction in her car when she took a left turn across the oncoming lanes and struck Miller. The impact ejected Miller from his bicycle causing him to hit the hood and crater the windshield of Meredith’s car before being thrown to the pavement.  Miller was taken by ambulance to OHSU. He was diagnosed with injuries including a concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, nasal fracture requiring surgery, significant blunt force torso trauma, pulmonary contusion, back hematoma and soft tissue abrasions. He sought $50,960.00 for past medical care, $15,000.00 for future medical care, $3,290.00 for lost wages (he is a computer programmer), $10,250.00 for loss of future earning capacity, $500.00 for property damage and $170,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendant Meredith admitted liability.  She acknowledged that her negligence caused injury to Miller, “the extent to be determined by a jury.” Verdict – $18,540.00 (plaintiff represented himself at trial).

Reese v. Butsch, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV04975

Plaintiff Reese, a minor, was riding his bicycle eastbound.  He claimed that he was riding on the sidewalk adjacent to Sandy Boulevard and had slowed to cross the exit to the 52nd Avenue Sports Bar when he was struck by Defendant Butsch who was exiting the bar’s parking lot.  Reese alleged that Butsch did not yield to pedestrians or keep a proper lookout.  He alleged that he suffered a fracture to his left lateral orbit and skull surrounding his left eye and lacerations to the left side of his face.  He sought $29,363.30 for past medical expenses and $20,600.00 in non-economic damages.  This was an appeal from an arbitration award for Plaintiff. Defendant Butsch denied liability and claimed that Reese was not riding on the sidewalk but rather was in the roadway going the wrong way against traffic.  Defense Verdict.

Medical Malpractice Trials

Watson v. North Bend Medical Center et al., Multnomah County Case No. 1310-13953

This was a medical malpractice wrongful death case brought by the decedent’s estate. Mr. Watson had outpatient laparoscopic surgery to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”).  The surgery was performed by Defendant Dr. Tersigni at Defendant North Bend Medical Center.  After being discharged, Plaintiff claims that Mr. Watson’s wife called Defendants several times explaining that her husband was having significant abdominal pain.  Defendant instructed Mr. Watson to take Miralax and Milk of Magnesia. Several days later at a follow up appointment, Mr. Watson complained of continuing pain, bloating and constipation. Defendants examined the surgical incisions but performed no other examinations.  After the appointment, Mr. Watson’s symptoms continued and more calls were made to Defendant, who suggested an enema. When his symptoms did not improve, Mr. Watson went to the emergency room.  A CT Scan indicated that he had complex clotting in his mesenteric, portal and splenic veins.  He was transferred to OHSU where he underwent multiple surgeries before dying.  Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to timely diagnose Mr. Watson’s post-surgical complications.  Plaintiff sought $3,000,000.00. Defendants denied any liability.  They claimed that Watson’s complaints were consistent with ordinary post-operative problems and the complications he suffered were extraordinarily rare. Defendants also claimed that Mr. Watson declined further life-saving medical care at OHSU, despite the lack of a fatal prognosis. Defense Verdict.

Sallee v. Toal et al., Multnomah County Case No. 14CV06535

Plaintiff Sallee suffered from severe and chronic hip pain.  He saw Defendant Toal who is a surgeon working for Defendant Kaiser.  Toal performed a total hip replacement surgery on Sallee.  After the surgery Sallee experienced “foot drop” symptoms including pain, numbness and a decreased ability to use his foot and toes. Another Kaiser doctor determined that Sallee suffered a sciatic nerve injury likely caused by blunt injury during surgery.  Sallee alleged that Defendants did not even make a referral to a neurologist for eight months.  He alleged that Defendants were negligent for injuring his sciatic nerve and failing to take remedial measures after the surgery.  He sought $29,665.00 in economic damages and $1,500,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendants acknowledged that the injury likely occurred during the surgery but argued that they complied with the standard of care in all respects and that any further treatment would not have prevented Sallee’s foot drop. Defense Verdict.

MVA Trials

Cline v. Limbocker, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV07189

In this car accident case Plaintiff Cline was stopped for traffic when she was hit from behind by Defendant Limbocker. Cline claimed the crash caused her to suffer a cervical disc herniation, right arm nerve damage, permanent loss of range of motion in her right hand as well as neck/back/shoulder strains and sprains. She sought $857,301.00 in damages including $32,301.00 in past medical bills, $75,000.00 for future medical and surgical costs, $250,000.00 for lost future earning capacity, and $500,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendant Limbocker admitted negligence but contested causation and damages. Verdict – $104,301.00.

Cooksley v. Lofland, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV06526

Plaintiff Cooksley was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for pedestrian traffic when it was struck from behind by Defendant Lofland. Cooksley claimed that the crash caused injuries including a torn rotator cuff requiring surgery, torn meniscus which will require future surgery, neck/back strains and sprains, and post-traumatic headaches. Cooksley sought $66,863.48 in accident related medical expenses, $500 for lost vehicle use and $500,000.00 in non-economic damages. Lofland admitted liability and that the crash caused injuries to Cooksley but disputed the damages. Verdict – $100,000.00.

Blackmon v. Heidar, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV10024

Ms. Blackmon was was stopped at a crosswalk when she was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by Mr. Heidar.  Mr. Heidar then left the scene of the crash. Blackmon claimed the impact caused injuries including a neck strain/sprain, TMJ joint dysfunction and headaches.  She sought damages including past and future medical expenses totaling $57,484.00, lost wages of $272.00 and non-economic damages of $250,000.00. Mr. Heidar admitted liability and causation but disputed Plaintiff’s damages. Verdict – $90,000.00.

Hahn v. Charuhas, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV08294

Mr. Charuhas ran a stop sign at NE 3and Hancock causing a collision with Mr. Hahn. Hahn claimed that Charuhas was also on his cell phone. Hahn claimed injuries including a frozen shoulder and soft tissue damage to his neck and back. He sought damages for past medical expenses totaling $12,970.70, out-of-pocket expenses totaling $89.53 and $200,000.00 in non-economic damages. Mr. Charuhas admitted negligence but alleged that Hahn was also negligent for speeding and not keeping a proper lookout. Charuhas contested Hahn’s damages. Verdict – $53,015.70.

Allen v. Ledbury, Multnomah County Case No. 1404-04003

Ms. Ledbury ran a red light and struck multiple vehicles in the intersection, including Ms. Allen’s. Ledbury was found to be DUII at the time of the crash. Ms. Allen claimed injuries including a concussion with related symptoms and soft tissue injuries to her neck, back and shoulder. She sought damages including $4,365.59 in past medical expenses, $8,000.00 in future medical expenses, $300.00 in out of pocket expenses and $65,000.00 in non-economic damages. She did not amend to add a claim for punitive damages. Ms. Allen requested a court trial but Defendant objected and the case was heard by a jury. Ms. Ledbury admitted her negligence and intoxication.  She contested the cause and extent of Ms. Allen’s injuries. Verdict – $5,316.00.

Severson v. Beltran, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV11709

Plaintiff Severson was stopped for traffic on 82 when she was hit from behind by a truck driven by Defendant Beltran. Severson alleged soft tissue strain / sprain injuries to her neck and back. She sought $10,000.00 and attorney fees pursuant to ORS 20.080.Defendant admitted liability but contested causation and damages.This was a defense appeal of a $2,500.00 arbitration award for Plaintiff. Defense Verdict.

Pinkley v. Berkowitz, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV08681

Defendant Berkowitz ran a stop sign and struck Plaintiff Pinkley’s car. Pinkley claimed that he suffered a neck injury that will require surgery and soft tissue injuries to his neck, back and shoulders. He sought $15,000.00 for past medical expenses, $55,000.00 for future medical expenses and $80,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendant Berkowitz admitted liability but contested causation and damages. Verdict – $10,500.00.

Petrovich v. West, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV06445

In this car accident case, Plaintiff Petrovich was at the intersection of Scholls Ferry Road and Murray Boulevard when she was hit from behind by Defendant West. Petrovich claimed that the crash caused strain/sprain injuries to her neck and back. She sought $1,920.00 in unpaid medical expenses (total was $7,435.00) and $8,000.00 in non-economic damages. Case was brought pursuant to ORS 20.080. Defendant West admitted negligence but disputed Petrovich’s injuries and their relation to the crash. Defense Verdict.

PIP Denial Trials

Gonzales-Reyes v. State Farm, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV08156

This is a PIP benefits breach of contract case. Plaintiffs claim they were injured in a motor vehicle crash on July 19, 2013. Defendant refused to pay certain bills for each Plaintiff leaving them with balances totaling $14,550.00. Mr. Gonzalez-Reyes also sought $3,000.00 in denied PIP wage loss benefits. Defendants maintained that the medical care and wage losses were not reasonable, necessary and related to the car accident. Verdict – $1,037.40 in wage loss only.

Premises Liability Trials

Meyers v. Weatherly Building LLC et al., Multnomah County Case No. 1403-02552

Plaintiff Mary Meyers was a frail elderly woman who went to The Weatherly Building in January 2013.  The mezzanine level of the building was only accessible by a staircase. When Ms. Meyers reached the top of the staircase, an employee of The Weatherly Building opened a door striking Ms. Meyers and causing her to fall.  Ms. Meyers claimed that The Weatherly, their property management company (Mayfield Management Company) and a tenant (Jadent Inc.) were negligent for having a door that opened outward into the staircase and only had a small window with an obstructed view of oncoming danger.  She further alleged that the unsafe condition was not obvious to visitors.  Ms. Meyers suffered injuries including a fractured femur which required surgery and a resulting infection and bed sores.  She sought damages including $101,054 in past medical expenses, $50,000 in future medical expenses and $600,000 in non-economic damages. Defendants denied liability and asserted comparative negligence claiming that Ms. Meyers failed to keep a proper lookout. Verdict –  $157,170.53.

Owens v. Metereaders LLC et al., Multnomah County Case No. 14CV06630

Plaintiff Owens was a pedestrian walking on a sidewalk that had an underground water meter box below it. The box was installed flush to the sidewalk with a removable cover to allow access to the meter.  When Owens stepped onto the cover it moved due to structural defects and caused Owens to fall.  She suffered injuries to her cervical spine and shoulder, including a fractured humerus. Her injuries required surgical repair.  She brought this lawsuit against Metereaders LLC, the company responsible for reading and inspecting the meters, for failing to adequately inspect the meter box and report the need for maintenance to the City of Troutdale.  She also sued the City of Troutdale for failing to inspect and maintain the meter box. Plaintiff sought $149,000.00 in past medical expenses and $1,500,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendant Metereaders LLC denied liability and asserted comparative negligence, claiming that Owens failed to keep a reasonable lookout for the dangerous conditions and failed to walk in a reasonably careful manner. Defendant City of Troutdale also asserted affirmative defenses including comparative fault (failing to keep a proper lookout), recreational immunity (ORS 105.672-ORS 105.696) and discretionary immunity.  They also brought cross-claims against Metereaders LLC for breach of contract.  They contended that Metereaders LLC failed to report the defect as required in their contract. Verdict - $145,746.70.

UM/UIM Trials

Daniels v. Allstate, Multnomah County Case No. 1104-05348

Plaintiff Daniels was hit in a rear-end car crash in 2009.  He settled with the at-fault driver for policy limits ($100,000.00).  Daniels brought this action for underinsured motorist benefits against his own insurance company.  He claimed he suffered injuries including a C6-7 disc injury which required surgery.  He sought medical bills totaling $112,048.35, wage losses of $10,000.00 and $250,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendant Allstate contested the nature and extent of Daniels’ injuries. They argued that Daniels’ neck injury was pre-existing. Verdict - $162,484.35.

Berger v. State Farm, Multnomah County Case No. 1303-04315

Plaintiff Berger was driving a van that was rear-ended in rush hour traffic by another car. That car left the scene without exchanging information. Berger received PIP coverage from Defendant State Farm. However, after paying $12,296.57 in PIP medical coverage and $15,271.86 in PIP wage loss coverage, State Farm denied that further benefits were reasonable, necessary and related to the crash. Berger brought this action against State Farm for breach of contract.  He claimed that State Farm breached its contract with him by denying further PIP benefits. He also sought damages under his uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.  Berger alleged that the crash caused him soft tissue injuries to his neck/back, a sprained shoulder and rotator cuff, and an L5-S1 disc injury causing radicular symptoms. He sought $24,101.16 in un-reimbursed medical expenses, $50,000.00 in future medical expenses, $172,967.00 in wage losses, $1,153,511.00 in lost future earning capacity, and $490,875.00 in lost household services. Defendant State Farm argued that they did not breach the PIP insurance contract provisions because further medical care was not reasonable, necessary and related to the car crash.  They pointed out that Berger’s van sustained only $624 in damage.  They acknowledged UM coverage existed but disputed the nature and extent of Berger’s injuries. Verdict – $82,185.35 ($2,703.47 in unpaid PIP medical, $18,000.00 in unpaid PIP wage, $41,481.88 in UM for economic damages and $20,000.00 in UM non-economic damages).

Other Trials

Smith v. Reynolds School District, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV05314

Plaintiff Smith was a student in the fifth grade at Margaret Scott Elementary School.  He suffers from Muscular Dystrophy. Defendant school district signed an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which directed that Smith have close standby supervision while walking. The reason for the IEP was the understanding that in Smith’s condition, a fall could cause a leg fracture which might prevent him from ever walking again. Approximately one month after the IEP was implemented, Smith fell while walking to his desk and fractured his femur. Smith has not walked since. Plaintiff claims that the district was negligent for not following the IEP and offering close standby supervision. Plaintiff sought $800,000 in non-economic damages. Defendant denied liability and asserted comparative negligence and that Plaintiff failed to mitigate his damages. Verdict - $800,000.00.

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