John Farmer and Joyce Dondanville Obtain Favorable Verdict in Pebley-Style Case in Long Beach

On February 4, 2020, John Farmer and Joyce Dondanville obtained a favorable verdict in an admitted liability low-speed auto rear-end collision case in the Long Beach Branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court.  The case had many parallels with the Pebley case – the same counsel and principal medical expert for Plaintiff, and a Plaintiff with health insurance, who was directed by his attorneys to treat on liens outside of his insurance.

Plaintiff, 61 years of age at the time of the accident, underwent extensive chiropractic, multiple x-ray, MRI and CT imaging, 6 epidural injections, a knee arthroscopy with a recommendation for a future knee replacement and a two level lumbar fusion, with a recommendation for future adjacent level surgery.  Past medicals were approximately $730,000, reduced by Plaintiff’s medical expert to approximately $499,000.  Future medicals were alleged to be $362,000.  Based on testimony from the defense bio mechanical expert, an argument was offered that the accident was incapable of causing injury to Plaintiff, and 3 of the 12 jurors so found.  The defense medical expert said Plaintiff sustained sprain/strain injuries, and allowed for past medicals with a value of $19,877.  Plaintiff asked the jury to award $3.25M to $3.5M.  The defense asked for a defense verdict on causation or, in the alternative, an award of $19,877 for past medicals and $10,000 for general damages.

After a 9 day trial, the jury deliberated for 2 ½ hours before reaching a verdict in the amount of $46,750, comprised of past medicals of $24,750 and past general damages of $22,000.  The defense had served an Offer to Compromise before trial in the amount of $75,000, which was rejected.  Plaintiff filed a Motion for New Trial, which was denied.  Plaintiff moved to tax the defense cost bill, which was in the amount of approximately $94,000 and argued the cost bill should be rejected altogether because the defense Offer to Compromise was “vague and ambiguous.”  The Court denied the motion to strike the cost bill.  The case was thereafter resolved for a mutual walkaway with no judgment for or against either party and a waiver of the right to appeal.