ALBARRACIN v. YIM
Defendant admitted liability but disputed causation and injuries. The Jury found in favor of Plaintiff.
Polls: 9-3 on damages
MEDIATION AND SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE NOTES:
Prior to filing the lawsuit, Plaintiff demanded the Defendant’s insurance policy limits of $25000. Defendant’s insurance failed to tender the insurance policy limits within the allotted time by Plaintiff. After the lawsuit was filed, at the mediation Defendant offered $50,000. On the first day of trial, before the jury was empanelled, Defendant offered $125,000.
SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE / TRIAL
The plaintiff demanded $999,999 (C.C.P. 998); the Defendant offered $50,000. At mediation Defendant offered $50,000. On the first day of trial, before the jury was empanelled, defendant offered $125,000. The jury returned a verdict of $790,000 for Plaintif.
On November 5, 2003 at the intersection of La Maida Street and Ventura Boulevard in the City of Encino, Plaintiff was walking in the crosswalk on La Maida Street when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Defendant at 20 miles per hour. On impact, Plaintiff was thrown 15 feet. Plaintiff experienced onset of pain to the back of his head, shoulder, arm, and contusion to right lower limb. Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to the ER of the Encino/Tarzana Regional Medical Center, where he underwent a series of X-rays of the injured body parts and a CT scan of the brain. CT scan was negative and Plaintiff was discharged. Plaintiff sought orthopedic and chiropractic care for his orthopedic injuries and on November 26, 2003, consulted a neurologist reporting occasional, severe headaches at the top and back of his head, as well as dizziness, vertigo, nausea, loss of hearing and anxiety. Antivert 12.5 mg was prescribed to be taken on an as-needed basis for dizziness. On January 15, 2004, Electroencephalogram and Brain Stem Auditory Evoked Response Test were performed on Plaintiff with normal results and no findings. On February 20, 2004, Plaintiff, suffering from severe and intolerable headaches, went to the ER of USC Medical Center. On the same day Plaintiff underwent a right frontal ventricular-peritoneal shunting for hydrocephalus at the USC County Medical Center. The USC’s impression of a CT scan taken on that day, before the surgery, was that the CT scan was showing what appeared to be third ventricular neurocysticercosis cyst causing obstructive hydrocehalus. The shunt was placed in the right frontal area and drained into theperitoneum. USC’s diagnosis was that Plaintiff’s condition was due to a cystericercosis, and therefore not related to trauma. Plaintiff was diagnosed with cysticercosis in 1991 in Bolivia. Cysticercosis is an infection caused by the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. Infection occurs when the tapeworm larvae enter the body and form cysticerci (cysts). When cysticerci are found in the brain, the condition is called neurocysticercosis.
Plaintiff had cystericercosis for the past 12 years. Plaintiff had multiple cysts in his brain, especially in the base of skull. His condition was treated in Bolivia. He was stable and there were no evidence of hydrocephalus on the two CT scans: those that were administered in Bolivia in 1991 and those that were administered immediately after the accident at Encino/Tarzana Regional Medical Center in 2003. Immediately after the accident, Plaintiff started experiencing increasing headache and increasing changes in mental status, which pointed out that the accident caused the dynamic of the cerebrospinal fluid flow to be somewhat changed in his brain as a result of the accident, which eventually required him to be shunted.
Plaintiff contended that the injury was caused by blunt head trauma due to the vehicular impact causing communicating hydrocephalus as opposed to noncommunicating hydrocephalous. Plaintiff’s expert (neurosurgeon) explained to the jury that as opposed to noncommunicating hydrocephalous where the cerebrospinal fluid is completely blocked, in communicating hydrocephalous the fluid makes it to the outside of the brain but with difficulty and therefore day by day a few CC’s of the fluid remains in the brain eventually causing hydrocephalous. This was the reason that Plaintiff CT scan administered on the day of the accident at Encino/Tarzana Regional Medical Center was negative, as the hydrocephalous occurred over time subsequent to and as a result of the accident.
Defendant’s contention was in line with the USC’s diagnosis. Defendant disputed that the need for the right frontal ventricular-peritoneal shunt surgery was in any way related to the accident. Defendant contended that Plaintiff sustained only soft tissue injuries.
Injuries: Soft-tissue injuries to the neck, shoulder, back, knee and elbow. Brain injury resulting in memory loss and cognitive difficulties including depression. Reduced life expectancy due to the brain injury and the shunting procedure.
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