Ohio Verdicts

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Insurer argued that driver's injuries were pre-existing








Summit County


Summit County, Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

knee-knee contusion chest-bruise other-soft tissue other-steroid injection wrist

Case Type:

Motor Vehicle - Broadside, Left Turn, Intersection, Multiple Vehicle, Automobile Insurance, Underinsured Motorist

Case Name:

Janelle Bilek and Jeff Bilek v. Loria A. Testa, Ohio Casualty Insurance Co. and John Duda, Administrator for the Estate of Testa, No. CV-2014-09-4258


March 10, 2016



Janelle Bilek (Female, 53 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Michael B. Pasternak; Michael Pasternak, Attorney at Law; Beachwood, OH, for Janelle Bilek


Estate of Loria A. Testa, 

Peerless Indemnity Insurance Co., 

John Duda, Administrator for Estate of Testa

Defense Attorney(s):

Thomas E. Dover; Gallagher Sharp; Cleveland, OH, for Peerless Indemnity Insurance Co. ■ Michael E. Lyford; Liberty Mutual Group, Inc.; Independence, OH, for Estate of Loria A. Testa, John Duda, Administrator for Estate of Testa ■ Melanie Rose Irvin; Gallagher Sharp; Cleveland, OH, for Peerless Indemnity Insurance Co.


Ohio Casualty Insurance Co. for Testa Peerless Indemnity Insurance Co. for Bilek (underinsured carrier)


On June 15, 2011, plaintiff Janelle Bilek, 53, a clerical employee, was operating her vehicle on Fairlawn Road in Fairlawn. Upon entering an intersection, she was involved in a broadside collision with a vehicle driven by Loria A. Testa. Testa, who had been traveling in the opposite direction on Fairlawn Road, was attempting to make a left turn. Bilek claimed breast, knee and wrist contusions as a result of the impact. Bilek filed suit against Testa, alleging that Testa was negligent in the operation of a motor vehicle. She also sued her underinsured motorist carrier, Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company (incorrectly named in the complaint as Ohio Casualty Insurance Company). Right around that time the lawsuit was filed, Testa died. John Duda, Administrator for the Estate of Testa, was substituted for Testa. Bilek settled with the Testa estate prior to trial and the case proceeded on the underinsured motorist claim only. Peerless did not dispute that Testa was the at-fault driver, having failed to yield the right-of-way to Bilek's vehicle. The case proceeded on the issues of injury causation and damages.


Bilek sought emergency treatment for complaints of chest, knee and wrist pain. She was diagnosed with contusions to those areas. Bilek followed up with her primary care physician and required several knee injections for pain. Bilek claimed $10,000 in medicals, plus nominal lost wages and damages for pain and suffering. Her husband, Jeff Bilek, sought damages for loss of consortium, but voluntarily dismissed his claim prior to trial. Peerless contended that Bilek suffered from pre-existing conditions, which likely caused and/or contributed to her complaints. Peerless also disputed the nature and extent of the injuries.


The jury awarded a $150,000 verdict to Bilek against Peerless Indemnity Insurance Co.

Janelle Bilek$150,000 Personal Injury: damages

Trial Information:


Thomas Teodosio

Trial Length:

2  days

Trial Deliberations:

2  hours

Jury Composition:

8 jurors

Post Trial:

Plaintiff's motion for pre-judgment interest was pending at the time of publication.

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel and court documents. Defense counsel did not respond to a request for comment.