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2016 - Fourth Quarter

Table of Contents
January 1, 2017

Trials This Quarter

Bicycle Trials

Frank v. Lawson, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV31374

Plaintiff Frank was riding his bicycle on SE 12avenue when Defendant Lawson approached him from behind and attempted to pass.  SE 12is a single lane in each direction without a bicycle lane. Lawson struck Frank with the mirror on his vehicle and caused him to crash.  Frank claimed that Lawson was negligent for not keeping a proper lookout and unsafely passing on the left in violation of ORS 811.410.  Frank claimed crash-related injuries including a superior labral tear from anterior to posterior (SLAP tear) in his left shoulder that required surgical repair.  He sought $29,097.52 for past medical expenses, $12,000 for future medical expenses, $25,080 in lost wages, $943.31 in rental car expenses, $427.95 in property damage and $325,000 in non-economic damages.Defendant Lawson claimed that Frank was not riding as close as practicable to the right hand curb in violation of ORS 814.430 and moved to the left in front of Lawson suddenly, causing the crash Defense Verdict.

Medical Malpractice Trials

Thompson v. OHSU, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV01533

This was a wrongful death medical negligence case brought on behalf of the estate of Marie Jackson. Ms. Jackson underwent aortic valve replacement surgery in 2013.  She remained in the hospital post-surgery, and after initially showing signs of improvement, her condition began to worsen due to a collection of fluid in her chest. Several efforts were made to remove the fluid using a pigtail catheter but they were unsuccessful and she did not survive. Her estate alleged medical negligence by defendant OHSU and its medical professionals.  The allegations included: failing to manage the fluid collection by using diuretics; failing to remove a sufficient amount of the fluid; and failing to have Jackson’s care managed by more experienced and/or specialized providers after initial efforts to remove the fluid were unsuccessful. The estate sought $3,600,000 in damages. OHSU denied that they were negligent. Defense Verdict.

Bandonis v. Alfred Brooke Benz MD and Providence Health & Services – Oregon, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV01511

Plaintiff Bandonis had a long history of problems with her right knee.  She consulted with Defendant Dr. Benz for the purposes of getting a total knee replacement surgery.  The surgery was scheduled for February 1, 2013.  On that day Bandonis was sedated, catheterized and prepared for surgery when Dr. Benz discovered that Bandonis had a nickel allergy noted on the surgical grease board.  The surgery was cancelled because the replacement knee had nickel components.  Surgery was re-scheduled for March 1, 2013.  A new prosthetic knee was ordered.  On that day Bandonis underwent the same pre-surgical procedures as she had the first time before Dr. Benz discovered that the surgical representatives from the prosthesis manufacturer had again brought the standard devise which contained nickel.  The surgery was cancelled for the second time.  This time Ms. Bandonis had to be given medication for anxiety before being released.  The surgery was again re-scheduled.  On March 7, 2013 Dr. Benz performed the knee replacement surgery.  Bandonis alleged that she suffered from irritation and swelling after the surgery and a second-opinion orthopedist advised her that the installed knee contained nickel.  She claimed that Dr. Benz was negligent for failing to properly note her nickel allergy, failing to properly procure the appropriate prosthesis, unnecessarily exposing Bandonis anesthetic, unnecessarily catheterizing Bandonis and for installing a knee with nickel components. She sought $125,000 for past and future medical expenses and $450,000 for non-economic damages. Defendant, Dr. Benz, denied the negligence allegations and asserted a “fault of others” affirmative defense alleging that Bandonis’ damages were the result of negligence by the medical device supplier. Bandonis settled with Providence before trial. Defense Verdict.

MVA Trials

Lehr v. Blue Star Charters & Tours, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV27195

Plaintiff Lehr was a wheelchair bound passenger in a van operated by Defendant Blue Star Charters & Tours (“Blue Star”). Blue Star’s driver was taking Lehr to Walmart in Gresham. Lehr alleged that the driver sped up to try and beat a yellow light but after realizing she would not make it, slammed on the brakes. The abrupt stop ejected Lehr from her chair and caused her to suffer a displaced fracture of her left femur and fractures to her right tibia and fibula. She required surgery to repair the fractures.

Lehr claimed Blue Star was liable for both the negligent hiring of their employee and for her driving. She alleged that Blue Star was aware that their driver had caused multiple prior accidents with a different employer and hired her anyway. She sought $88,413.62 for past medical expenses and $500,000 in non-economic damages. Blue Star denied liability. They alleged that Lehr was responsible for her own injuries for failing to utilize a positioning belt available on her wheelchair, failing to transfer from her wheelchair to a vehicle seat and failing to heed their driver’s warning to use a securement system. Verdict - $205,018.85 after 35% reduction for comparative negligence.

Schmitt v. Lanham, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV24478

Defendant Lanham rear-ended Plaintiff Schmitt as Schmitt stopped for a red light on SE 12Schmitt alleged crash-related injuries including a torn rotator cuff and soft tissue neck and back injuries. Due to Schmitt’s age (81) he was not a candidate for rotator cuff repair surgery. He sought $10,000 for past and future medical expenses and $125,000 in non-economic damages. Lanham admitted liability but contested the cause, nature and extent of Schmitt’s injuries. Verdict – $34,366.99.

Darby v. Losli, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV29621

Plaintiff Darby alleged that she was driving SW Walker Road when traffic ahead of her came to a sudden stop causing her to need to do the same.  She claimed that Defendant Losli was driving behind her, failed to stop and crashed into the back of her car.  She claimed accident-related injuries including a herniated C5-6 disc, concussion and strains/sprains of her neck and back. She sought $25,000 for past medical expenses, $335,000 in future medical expenses, $2,423 in wage losses and $250,000 in non-economic damages. Defendant Losli claimed that the crash was Darby’s fault for driving too fast and failing to keep a proper lookout. She argued that Darby hit the car in front of her causing the sudden stop/crash and deprived Losli of sufficient stopping distance. Verdict – $28,649.68 after 47% reduction for comparative negligence.

Mikalson v. Master Hi-Tech Automotive, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV08619

A driver working for Defendant Master Hi-Tech Automotive rear-ended a vehicle in which Plaintiff Mikalson was a passenger.  Mikalson alleged 48 different injuries she related to the crash including cervical disk injuries, eye alignment issues, traumatic brain injury and chronic headaches. She sought $25,000 for past medical expenses, $132,000 for future medical expenses, $25,000 for past wage losses, $100,000 for future wage losses and $200,000 for non-economic damages. The defense admitted liability but contested the cause and degree of Mikalson’s injuries. Verdict – $20,000.00.

Chapman v. Mackiewicz, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV28939

Defendant Mackiewicz was driving on Highway 26 when she rear-ended a car driven by Plaintiff Chapman. Chapman alleged that the crash caused permanent injury to her neck and back. She sought $49,000 for medical expenses, $35,000 for lost wages and $500,000 for non-economic damages. Mackiewicz admitted liability but contested the cause, nature and extent of Chapman’s injuries. Verdict – $18,985.00.

Duarte v. Rosin, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV30247

Defendant Rosin ran a stop sign and hit a car driven by Plaintiff Duarte. Duarte claimed accident-related injuries to the muscles and ligaments of his head, neck, back, pelvis, chest, legs, feet, arm and hand.  He sought $33,316.04 for past medical expenses, $29,640.00 for lost wages and $50,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendant Rosin admitted negligence but claimed that Duarte was also negligent for speeding, failing to keep a lookout and impeding traffic.  Rosin also disputed the cause and extent of Duarte’s injuries. Verdict – $17,192.06 after 25% reduction for comparative negligence.

Kittisane v. Soward and State Farm, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV16247

Defendant Soward ran a stop sign and struck a car driven by Plaintiff Kittisane. Kittisane alleged accident-related injuries including shoulder, neck, back and arm pain as well as headaches. She sought $3,666 for past medical expenses and $6,334 for non-economic damages.  She also sought attorney fees pursuant to ORS 20.080. Soward admitted liability but contested the cause, nature and extent of Kittisane’s injuries. Verdict – $6,666.00

Perry v. Lee, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV23992

Plaintiff Perry was a passenger on a city bus that was stopped at a bus stop when it was struck from behind by Defendant Lee. Perry claimed that the impact caused him injury to his neck and back along with posttraumatic headaches, bruises and contusions.  He sought $2,574.66 for past medical expenses, $6,425.34 for lost wages and $1,000.00 for non-economic damages. Defendant Lee admitted liability for the crash but contested the amount of Perry’s damages. Verdict – $3,574.66.

Garrison v. Greene, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV25062

Plaintiff Garrison stopped for traffic on Highway 26.  Defendant Greene was driving behind Garrison and rear-ended her.  Garrison claimed crash-related injuries including lumbar and cervical disc bulges, annular tears and strains/sprains. She sought $500,000 in non-economic damages. Defendant Greene admitted liability but denied that Garrison was injured in what he argued was a minor collision. He also disputed the extent of her alleged injuries. Verdict – $0. The Jury found that crash caused injury but awarded no damages.

Pedestrian Injury Trials

Thornton-Kreutz v. Gilbert, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV28826

Plaintiff Thornton-Kreutz was crossing SE Holgate from her bus stop to her school. Defendant Gilbert was driving on SE Holgate and struck Thornton-Kreutz. Thornton-Kreutz alleged that Gilbert was negligent for speeding and failing to keep a proper lookout. She sought $3,761.03 for past medical expenses and $6,238.97 in non-economic damages as well as attorney’s fees pursuant to ORS 20.080. Gilbert denied liability and alleged that Thornton-Kreutz was not in a crosswalk when she suddenly stepped out directly in front of his car. Defense Verdict.

Toe v. Armstrong, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV29548

Plaintiff Toe was a pedestrian crossing SE Powell Boulevard when she was struck by a car driven by Defendant Armstrong.  Toe claimed that Armstrong was negligent for speeding and failing to keep a lookout for pedestrians.  She alleged crash-related injuries including a fractured clavicle requiring surgical repair.  She sought $54,707.44 for past medical expenses and $300,000 for non-economic damages. Defendant Armstrong denied liability and alleged that Toe’s injuries resulted from her own negligence in failing to keep a lookout, failing to yield to the car and failing to use a crosswalk. Defense Verdict.

Premises Liability Trials

Smith v. Tri Met, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV18982

Plaintiff Smith was a passenger on a Tri Met MAX train in downtown Portland.  When he was exiting the train he slipped on a large puddle of water that had accumulated on the floor and fell.  He alleged that the water was a result of a leaking air conditioning unit and that Tri Met was aware of the leak and had not removed the water or warned the passengers.  Smith claimed that the fall caused a concussion, herniated cervical disk requiring surgery and injuries to his back and shoulders.  He sought $150,000 for past medical expenses, $300,000 for lost future earning capacity and $500,000 for non-economic damages. Defendant Tri Met admitted that Smith fell on the train but denied liability.  They alleged that the fall was Smith’s own fault for failing to maintain a proper lookout and failing to hold on to something as he was exiting the train. Defense Verdict.

UM/UIM Trials

Neblett v. Farmers Insurance Company of Oregon, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV06807

Plaintiff Neblett was rear-ended by a negligent driver with $50,000 policy limits.  Neblett accepted those limits and brought this action against her own insurance company, Defendant Farmers, for denial of underinsured motorist benefits. Neblett alleged that the crash caused injuries to her neck and back including spasms, headaches and a worsening of her pre-existing TMJ.  She sought the $450,000.00 remaining on her underinsured motorist limits including $41,043.00 for past medical expenses and $408,957.00 for non-economic damages. Defendant Farmers contested the extent of Neblett’s injuries. Verdict – $36,000.00.

Berger v. Safeco Insurance Company of Oregon, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV28625

Plaintiff Berger was driving in a parking lot when he was struck by an underinsured motorist.  Berger had underinsured motorist and personal injury protection coverage through Defendant Safeco.  Berger alleged that the crash caused a disc injury at C6-7 and a worsening of a pre-existing cervical fusion which will require additional surgery. Berger sought $6,524.44 for unreimbursed medical expenses and $500,000 in non-economic damages. He also sought attorney’s fees pursuant to ORS 742.061. Safeco argued that Berger was partially liable for the crash.  Safeco also contested the nature and extent of Berger’s injuries as well as the applicability of ORS 742.061. Verdict - $21,268.85. The Court awarded $31,955.00 in attorney's fees pursuant to ORS 742.061.

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