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Shelley Lewis obtained a defense verdict

Shelley Lewis obtained a defense verdict for her client. The accident occurred on Memorial Parkway North in June of 2015, near its intersection with Winchester. Neither vehicle sustained visible damage. The plaintiff testified that as she looked in her rearview mirror, she saw the defendant talking on her cell phone. The defendant denied this. The plaintiff described the impact as “hard” and it “threw her up and back.” As a result of the accident, she claimed she re-injured her neck, anxiety, depression, and headaches. Her husband had a loss of consortium claim. The plaintiff had a prior rear-end accident in October 2013. She underwent a C5-6-7 fusion in October 2014 by Dr. Larry Parker. She filed a lawsuit claiming permanent injuries as a result of that accident. The plaintiff continued to have neck pain and right arm numbness and weakness throughout the first half of 2015. Regardless, Dr. Parker testified that the plaintiff recovered before June 9, 2015 and returned back to work. He said that a neck MRI showed a “significant change” at C4-5 after the June 2015 accident. He said the June 2015 wreck caused the condition at C4-5 to become surgical. On August 7, 2015 he performed a C4-5 fusion. Dr. Parker felt the surgery was successful, though the plaintiff developed Horner’s Syndrome which caused her to have facial numbness and drooping. Dr. Curt Freudenberger first saw the plaintiff on January 6, 2017. She reported to him she had two prior neck surgeries. Dr. Freudenberger sent her for a CT scan of her neck and an MRI of her neck. On review of those radiographs, he found that she had pseudarthrosis, or non-union, which he blamed on Dr. Parker’s use of a PEEK cage. On January 31, 2017, Dr. Freudenberger performed an ACDF revision at C4-7. He testified that this surgery was necessary to “correct” the neck surgeries performed by Dr. Parker. The plaintiff testified she could not work after the accident, but Dr. Parker and Dr. Freudenbeger never said she could not work. The plaintiff’s former boss testified that the plaintiff switched job positions the month before the accident because of neck pain. The medical bills totaled $250,000 and the BCBS AL subrogation claim was $37,000. The lost wage claim was around $62,000. Sua sponte, the Judge determined as a matter of law that the defendant drove negligently, so the only issue for the jury to determine was medical causation. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. They read all the medical records and decided the plaintiff was no different after this accident than she was before. They felt her testimony was inconsistent (she was impeached several times). The jurors also relied heavily on the fact that the plaintiff changed job positions the month before this accident because of continued neck pain after her first surgery.

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