26 Defense Comment Summer 2019 e recognize and salute the efforts of our members in the arena of litigation – win, lose or draw. Compiled by Ellen C. Arabian-Lee Arabian-Lee Law Corporation Co-Editor-in-Chief, Defense Comment Robert Zimmerman and Sarah Gosling of Schuering Zimmerman & Doyle in Sacramento obtained a defense verdict in Yolo County in a medical malpractice case. Plaintiff was 10 months old when she was treated by a physician assistant and a pediatrician, at two separate visits, for resolving otitis media and symptoms consistent with a viral infection. A few days later, the plaintiff presented to the emergency department with a stiff neck and bulging fontanelle, where she was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis. Thereafter, plaintiff lost her hearing. Plaintiff’s experts opined that plaintiff had meningitis when she was treated by the defendants and the two providers each, separately, missed the diagnosis. Defendants argued that plaintiff presented with a viral infection, which commonly precedes bacterial meningitis. After a 3½ week trial, the jury returned a 10-2 verdict, finding neither doctor negligent. Mathew C. Jaime and Robert W. Sweetin of Matheny Sears Linkert & Jaime, LLP, in Sacramento, received a favorable verdict in a rear-end collision case venued in Santa Clara County, the Hon. Paul R. Bernal presiding. Plaintiff, represented by Christopher W. Wood and Larry Q. Phan, of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP, was a 31-year-old dental office assistant claiming permanent injuries to the neck, head, shoulders and back. Plaintiff sued the driver of the adverse vehicle, as well as the owner of the truck and defendant’s employer. Defendants admitted liability prior to trial. Plaintiff claimed $150,000 in medical expenses and $1,700 in wage loss. Plaintiff’s experts testified that plaintiff would need cervical MRIs, lumbar MRIs, and nerve conduction/EMG studies every two years, along with six to eight office visits, six sessions of physical therapy, two cervical epidural steroid injections and two four- level facet injections annually for the rest of her life – and that she would need a two-level cervical fusion and/or disc replacement surgery within ten years, followed by an adjacent level surgery thereafter. Plaintiff’s retained life care planner testified that the total value of the treatment recommended by plaintiff’s retained physicians was $1,991,559. Additionally, plaintiff’s economist testified that plaintiff’s total loss of household services was $686,833. Plaintiff asked the jury to award plaintiff $5,200,000 in total damages, but to award her husband just $2 for his loss of consortium claim. The defense argued that plaintiff’s injuries and symptoms were exactly the same as the symptoms she treated for just months before the collision and that the plaintiff sustained only a minor aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Defendants’ billing expert opined that plaintiff’s medical bills were for services provided on a lien basis and were excessive. After a 3-week trial, the jury awarded plaintiff $406,000. The jury also awarded plaintiff’s husband $2 for past and future loss of consortium. Matthew C. Jaime of Matheny Sears Linkert & Jaime, LLP, in Sacramento, obtained summary judgment based in part on express assumption of the risk for his school district client in a case stemming from a head injury occurring during a high school football game. The plaintiff high school student was injured towards the end of a high school football game. Video from the game showed several plays where the plaintiffmadetacklesandotherwiseplayed the game without incident. Towards the end of the game, plaintiff pulled himself from the game, and subsequently fell to the ground. It was subsequently determined that plaintiff suffered a brain injury. Plaintiff sued the school district and its coaches for negligence, claiming that the school and the school district failed to provide adequate medical care and had failed to adequately train themselves and players regarding concussions and concussion related symptoms. The defendant school district filed a motion for summary judgment based, in part, on express assumption of the risk. After vigorous opposition, and a number of hearings, the trial court granted the motion for summary judgment. The case currently awaits decision on appeal. Prior to the season, both plaintiff and his father signed a document titled “Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk Agreement” that applied to plaintiff’s participation in that sport. Plaintiff took the release home to his parents the week before school started and the release document was signed. There was no dispute that the document was properly signed. Plaintiff’s father admitted that Continued on page 27