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2016 - Second Quarter

Table of Contents
July 1, 2016

Trials This Quarter

Bicycle Trials

Lindahl v. Glathar, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV09588

Plaintiff Lindahl was bicycling in the westbound bicycle lane on NE Broadway. She alleged that Defendant Glathar turned right immediately in front of her causing a collision.  She claimed Glathar was negligent for failing to yield the right of way. Lindahl claimed injuries including a mild traumatic brain injury, and neck/back strains and sprains. She sought $27,272.00 in past medical expenses, $20,000.00 in past wage losses and $235,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendant Glathar denied liability and instead argued that the crash and resulting injuries were a result of Lindahl’s own negligence.  He also contested the nature and degree of her injuries. Verdict – $80,776.79.

Pedestrian Injury Trials

Busch v. McInnis Waste Systems Inc., Multnomah County Case No. 15CV13496

Plaintiff Busch was walking in a crosswalk in downtown Portland when Defendant McInnis Waste Systems’ driver struck him with a garbage truck.  The impact caused injuries including the amputation of Busch’s leg from above the knee. Defendant admitted liability for failing to obey a traffic control device.  Defendant contested the amount of Mr. Busch’s damages. Verdict - $13,921,922.00.

Premises Liability Trials

Armstrong-Stevenson v. Safeway, Inc., Multnomah County Case No. 15CV04913

Plaintiff Armstrong-Stevenson was shopping in the St. Helens, Oregon Safeway when he slipped on spilled liquid laundry detergent and fell.  The fall caused a fractured femur that required surgical repair. Plaintiff alleged that Safeway was negligent for failing to warn customers of the slippery surface and rope-off the area to prevent such a fall. He also alleged that the conduct was wanton and intentional and therefore sought punitive damages. He sought $102,578.00 in past and future medical expenses, $525,000.00 in non-economic damages and $1,000,000.00 in punitive damages. Defendant argued that their employees acted reasonably when they discovered the spill. They alleged that an employee immediately went to get a mop to clean the spill, and that it was during the one minute that the employee was gathering supplies that Plaintiff’s fall occurred. Verdict - $1,627,578.00.

Product Liability Trials

Hoff v. Kaiser Gypsum Company, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV23996

Plaintiff Hoff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos products manufactured, supplied and distributed by Defendant while working at various construction jobs from 1972-2013.  He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015. Defendant denied liability.  Several other defendants settled before trial. Verdict - $3,062,500.00 after 65% reduction for settling parties.

Eastridge v. Mar-Dustrial Sales Inc. Multnomah County Case No. 15CV18697

Plaintiff Eastridge alleged that he was exposed to asbestos products manufactured, supplied and distributed by defendants while working at a saw mill in the 1970s.  He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015.  He sought economic damages for medical bills and expenses totaling $1,000,000.  He also sought $9,000,000 in non-economic damages.  His wife sought economic damages for loss of consortium totaling $2,000,000 and non-economic damages totaling $6,000,000. Defendant denied liability. Several other defendants settled before trial. Verdict - $1,100,000.00.

Medical Malpractice Trials

Haveman v. Oregon Emergency Physicians et. al., Multnomah County Case No. 1404-04430

Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to Providence St. Vincent after collapsing at home and becoming unresponsive. Defendants misinterpreted CT scans results as negative and suspected Plaintiff was having an emotional episode. It was not until more than eight hours later that defendants correctly diagnosed a stroke.  The delay resulted in her not being a candidate for many treatment options including clot busting medication. Plaintiff claimed that Defendants were negligent in failing to promptly diagnose the stroke. She sought $100,000 in past medical expenses, $1,000,000 in impaired earning capacity and $4,000,000 in non-economic damages. Defendants denied both negligence and causation. Verdict - $3,720,000.00.

Tran v. Erik Friedman, MD, Portland Surgical Oncology, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV19526

Plaintiff Tran underwent surgery to remove a diseased gallbladder. The surgery required the doctor to identify and cut the cystic duct. During the surgery Defendant Dr. Friedman, working for Defendant Portland Surgical Oncology, cut Tran’s common bile duct rather than the cystic duct. Tran claimed that the medical error caused her to undergo further medical procedures and left her permanently injured. She sought $77,054.65 for past medical expenses and $500,000 in non-economic damages. Defendants claimed that the care they provided was within the standard of care and that also that Tran’s current condition is not a result of their care. Defense Verdict.

Brown v. Okon et. al., Multnomah County Case No. 14CV08542

Plaintiff Brown collapsed while on vacation in Idaho and was taken to the emergency room. He was diagnosed as having a blockage in his carotid artery.  The doctors were concerned about a potential stroke so they ordered a clot buster tPA (tissue plasminogen activator). The hospital’s protocol requires the ER doctors to consult with a neurologist before administering the tPA.  The hospital contracts with Defendant Dr. Okon to provide a videoconference examination prior to any tPA being administered. Okon performed the examination via videoconference and determined that Brown was not a candidate for the tPA due to his low score on the National Institute of Health  (NIH) stroke scale. Okon believed the risks of using tPA outweighed the potential benefits.  Later that night Brown suffered a significant stroke.  Brown alleged that Okun breached the standard of care by failing to approve the tPA.  He sought $228,828 for past medical expenses, $3,609,175 for future medical expenses and $5,000,000 in non-economic damages.  Brown’s wife sought $1,000,000 for loss of consortium. Defendant Okon denied any negligence. He argued that based on lab results, imaging results, Mr. Brown’s history of similar events, and his rapidly improving condition, Mr. Brown scored low on the NIH stroke scale and therefore was not a candidate for tPA. Defense Verdict.

MVA Trials

Murray v. Broaddus and City of Salem, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV09100

Defendant Broaddus was driving a utility truck for the City of Salem when he struck a car driven by Plaintiff Murray. Murray alleged that Broaddus began to make an illegal U-turn from the right lane of a four lane road when he struck her as she was passing by him in the adjacent lane.  She claimed injuries including disc and nerve injuries to her lower back that required a fusion surgery. She claimed that the surgical site became infected causing additional disability and significant medical expenses.  She sought past and future medical expenses totaling $424,347.45 and non-economic damages totaling $875,450.00. Broaddus claimed that he had already almost completed his U-turn to work on a malfunctioning traffic light when Murray tried unsuccessfully to pass him and caused the crash. Verdict – $776,045.20 after 10% comparative negligence reduction.

Gomora v. Hillsboro School District 1J, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV09462

Plaintiff Gomora alleged that she was stopped at a stop sign facing north on SW Dennis Avenue. She claimed that a Defendant Hillsboro School District 1J school bus was heading westbound on SW Main when the driver took a left turn onto SW Dennis Avenue and struck her stationary car.  She alleged that the driver then left the scene of the crash without stopping.  She claimed that the collision caused her injuries to her neck and back including a herniated disc at L4-L5. She sought $47,070.93 for past medical expenses, $100,000 for future medical expenses, $2,500 for lost wages and $500,000 for non-economic damages.

Defendant Hillsboro School District 1J denied that any crash happened between their vehicle and Gomora’s. They indicated that no school bus with any corresponding damage was located, that no yellow paint was transferred onto Gomora’s car and that any damage to it was minimal and surrounded by other unrelated damage. They also alleged comparative negligence due to Gomora being stopped across the stop line. Verdict – $258,300.00.

Tver v. Tver, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV13319

Plaintiff Colleen Tver was a passenger in her husband Defendant Barry Tver’s 2009 Hyundai.  Mr. Tver was driving on I-84 using the vehicles cruise control when he attempted to take exit 35. He stepped on the brake pedal and the vehicle did not respond appropriately.  Mr. Tver continued through the exit ramp crashing into an embankment. Mrs. Tver initially sued Hyundai Motor America and Beaverton Hyundai since the vehicle was subject to a recall for a defect that could interfere with the operation of the cruise control. Mrs. Tver settled with those parties and the only defendant remaining was Mr. Tver.  Pursuant to ORS 31.600, the settling parties remained on the verdict form for the purposes of allocating fault. Mrs. Tver alleged that Mr. Tver was negligent for failing to heed the warnings in the recall notice he received, driving too fast, and failing to take appropriate action once it became clear that the cruise control was unresponsive. As a result of the crash Mrs. Tver fractured multiple ribs, two vertebrae in her lower back and one in her mid-back.  She sought damages for past medical expenses of $250,000, wage losses of $28,000 and non-economic damages of $950,000. Defendant Tver admitted the medical expenses were reasonable and necessary but argued that liability  should be allocated to Hyundai Motor America and Beaverton Hyundai for the defective cruise control. Verdict – $192,700 (Verdict was $770,800 but jury allocated 25% of liability to Tver and remaining to settling defendants).

Avalos-Rios v. Gibson, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV04878

Plaintiff Avalos-Rios was a passenger in a car stopped for traffic when she was struck from behind by Defendant Gibson.  Avalos-Rios alleged that the crash caused her soft tissue injuries to her neck, back, shoulder, hip and leg. She also claimed that the stress from the crash and her injuries caused her to suffer from an outbreak of shingles. Defendant admitted liability and that the crash caused some injury but disputed the nature and extent of the injuries. Verdict – $46,903.20.

Zavalina v. Yukhimchuk, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV22572

Plaintiff Zavalina was driving on West Powell. Defendant Yukhimchuk, an unlicensed minor, caused a crash by turning directly in front of Zavalina from the opposite direction. Zavalina alleged crash related soft tissue injuries her neck, back, chest, shoulder, hip and jaw. She sought $12,974.11 in past medical expenses, $48,000.00 in non-economic damages and punitive damages of $50,000.00. Defendant Yukhimchuck admitted liability but contested the nature and degree of Zavalina’s injuries. Verdict – $35,474.11.

Mattera v. Au, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV02346

Plaintiff Mattera was stopped for traffic when she was rear-ended by Defendant Au. Mattera alleged injuries including a concussion, neck and back sprains and strains, abdominal pain, vertigo, headaches and cognitive problems. She sought $20,517.12 in past medical expenses and $125,000 in non-economic damages. Au admitted liability but denied the nature, extent and relatedness of Mattera’s injuries. Verdict – $7,795.00.

Love v. Conscious Minds Productions and Johnson, Multnomah County Case No. 15CV07682

Plaintiff Love was stopped for a red light at NW 23 and Vaughn when she was rear-ended by Defendant Johnson while working for Defendant Conscious Minds. Love alleged that the impact from the Defendants’ truck caused her to suffer injuries including a concussion, post-concussion syndrome, headaches, confusion, PTSD, memory and vision impairment and a disc protrusion at C5-6. She sought $17,870 in past medical expenses, $142,000 in wage losses, $1,270,000 in future wage losses and $1,250,000 in non-economic damages. Defendants admitted liability but denied that the crash caused any injury to Love. Defense Verdict.

Schaffer v. Kraztz and Lightle, Multnomah County Case No. 1310-14942

Plaintiff Schaffer was a passenger in a vehicle driven by defendant Kraztz.  Kraztz was driving westbound on I-84 when he crested a hill with traffic backed up behind it from a prior crash.  He attempted to take evasive action by turning right onto an exit ramp.  In doing so, he and a vehicle driven by defendant Lightle collided. Schaffer alleged that both drivers were negligent.  Schaffer had low back surgery four months prior to the crash. He alleged that that the crash caused a recurrent low back disc herniation.  He sought $24,981.64 for past medical expenses and $100,000 for non-economic damages. Both defendants argued that the crash was simply an accident and they both did everything they could to avoid the sudden hazards in the roadway. Defense Verdict.

Workplace Injury Trials

Dorrance v. Union Pacific Railroad, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV07336

Plaintiff Dorrance was an employee of defendant Union Pacific Railroad.  He brought this claim pursuant to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act which governs on-the-job injuries for railroad employees rather than worker’s compensation laws.  The Act allows Dorrance to sue his own employer for negligently causing him injury.

Dorrance was working at a switching location when he fell.  He alleged that the location’s walkway was unsafe due to large rocks and debris and no lighting.  He also alleged that his employer violated Oregon railroad walkway safety standards.  He claimed that the fall caused him injuries including a disc herniation at L5/S1 and injury to adjacent nerve roots. His doctor did not believe he was a surgical candidate. He underwent extensive care before finally having a spinal cord stimulator implanted.  He alleged that his injury prevented him from returning to work and that his extensive pain is permanent.

Union Pacific Railroad argued that Dorrance was responsible for his own injury for failing to keep a lookout, failing to inspect his work area prior to working and failing to plan his work so as to prevent injury. They also disputed the cause and extent of Dorrance’s injury and alleged that Dorrance failed to mitigate his damages.

Verdict – $935,275.80.

Other Trials

Wiley v. Jimale, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV16137

Plaintiff Wiley was in her bed sleeping when Defendant Jimale crashed her vehicle through the apartment wall. Wiley claimed crash related injuries to her head, neck, back, knee and shoulder including a rotator cuff tear requiring surgery. She sought past medical expenses totaling $105,472.53 and $400,000.00 in non-economic damages. Defendant Jimale admitted liability for inadvertently stepping on the gas and not the brake, thus causing the crash. She disputed the cause of the rotator cuff injury and the amounts of Wiley’s damages. Verdict – $141,205.20.

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