Defense: 67-year-old plaintiff's injuries stem from degenerative conditions
|Verbal Threshold, Motor Vehicle - Rear-ender, Affirmative Defenses - Contributory Negligence, Motor Vehicle - Multiple Impact, Motor Vehicle - Multiple Vehicle, Motor Vehicle - Right Turn|
|Sun Cho Paek v. Michelle Davis, Alan S. Davis, Reena K. Parikh and Keyur Y. Parikh, No. MID-L-8370-10|
|Middlesex County Superior Court, NJ|
- Robert H. Heck; Robert H. Heck, Esq.; Elizabeth, NJ, for Sun Cho Paek
- Chang Kang M.D.; Pain Management; Englewood Cliffs, NJ called by: Robert Heck
- Jeffrey J. Czuba; Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas, L.L.P.; New Brunswick, NJ, for Michelle Davis, Alan Davis
- Christopher W. McKenna; Smith Mazure Director Wilkins Young & Yagerman, P.C.; Somerville, NJ, for Keyur Parikh, Reena Parikh
On Jan. 8, 2010, plaintiff Sun Cho Paek, 67, was traveling on Oak Tree Road in Edison when her vehicle was struck from the rear by the automobile being driven by Michelle Davis (with the permissive use of Alan Davis.)
Following the impact between the Paek and Davis vehicles, there was a second collision in which the Davis vehicle was struck from behind by a car being driven by Reena Parikh (with the permissive use of Keyur Parikh.)
Paek claimed the accident caused her to suffer a herniated disc, a torn meniscus, and a torn shoulder labrum, and that her injuries were sufficiently serious to satisfy the lawsuit limitations of the verbal tort threshold.
Paek sued the Davises for negligence, alleging that her vehicle was rear-ended as she was attempting to execute a lawful right-hand turn into the parking lot of a local shopping center. (The lawsuit also originally named as defendants the Parikhs, but after it was determined that the impact between the Parikh vehicle and the Davis vehicle had not resulted in a second impact to the Paek vehicle, the Parikhs achieved summary-judgment dismissal of the claims against them.)
Davis alleged that in the minutes preceding the collision, Paek had been driving in the right-hand lane with her right turn signal activated for a protracted period of time, and was traveling significantly slower than the posted speed limit. As the passed the entrance for the shopping center parking lot, according to Davis, Paek abruptly stopped her vehicle before attempting to make her right turn, thereby causing the Davis vehicle to strike the rear of Paek's vehicle.
Paek alleged that the accident caused her to sustain a herniated disc and multiple bulging discs, as well as a torn meniscus in her right knee and a partial tear of the labrum in her right shoulder. She underwent epidural and facet injections to her spine.
The defense maintained that Paek's injuries had not been proximately caused by the January 2010 accident, and instead were the result of gradual degenerative processes. In any event, the defense further argued, Paek's injuries were not sufficiently serious to pass the verbal tort threshold.
The jury found that both Paek and Davis had been negligent with respect to the accident, and apportioned liability at 20 percent for Paek and 80 percent for Davis.
However, the jurors further concluded that Paek did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the accident had caused her to sustain permanent bodily injury sufficiently serious to entitle her to recover for her claimed personal injuries.
As a result of the jury's finding as to damages, a defense verdict of no cause of action was recorded.
This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsels. Plaintiff's counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.