FWHB prevailed again following an initial mistrial on the same case. Armen Avakian & Jennifer Russell tried this second trial together following a mistrial in the first trial. The initial trial was handled by Armen Avakian & John Paulson. Both trials were before the Hon. Judge Patrick Madden of the Los Angeles Superior Court- Long Beach. The second trial lasted 17 days and verdict was reached on June 27, 2019.
Facts & Damages: The case involved a rear-end accident wherein plaintiff was rear-ended while operating his box truck. Plaintiff treated with numerous attorney-referred providers in the San Diego area and ultimately underwent a left L4 and L5 decompression with partial hemilaminotmy, foraminotomy, and fasciectomy; excision of extruded disc fragment; left S1 hemilaminotmy, foraminotomy, and fasciectomy; and excision of extruded fragment. In March of 2018, plaintiff underwent anterior retroperitoneal discectomy, interbody fusion and instrumentation at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels, placement of interbody cages, decompression of the nerve roots at L4-5 and L5-S1.
Plaintiff’s medical specials prior to trial were $576,804.84. The parties agreed to reasonable past meds of $290k. Plaintiff asked for future medical specials totaling $900,000 – $1,238,510. He asked for $3- $5 million in non-economic damages, based off of a 33.1 years life expectancy.
Result: The jury was deadlocked for days but then reached a “partial” verdict and awarded the stipulated amount of $290,000 in past medical specials and some past generals. They answered no to future economic and non-economic damages. Parties argued over whether there can be a partial verdict and over issues of juror misconduct. Juror declarations found there was confusion as they thought they needed to award damages as there was a stipulated number, further information from jurors found they did not believe plaintiff needed surgery from the accident but there had been some improper juror conduct and undue pressure to try to come up with a verdict.
Update: The defense filed a motion for mistrial arguing a partial verdict is not proper or valid. The defense also asked for a mistrial due to juror misconduct during deliberations. The court issued a ruling and a mistrial was declared, the case will be tried again for a third time as plaintiff would not negotiate and continued to make demands in excess of the policy limits.