Texas Verdicts

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Plaintiff claimed labral tear and cervical injuries

Amount:

$904,377.58

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Texas

Venue:

Travis County

Court:

Travis County District Court, 419th

Injury Type(s):

back-facet syndrome; neck-facet syndrome; neck-cervical disc injury; other-labrum, tear;
other-physical therapy; other-epidural injections; shoulder

Case Type:

Motor Vehicle – Rear-ender, Multiple Vehicle

Case Name:

Joni K. Wallace v. Elvin B. Barfield,
No. D-1-GN-2-001176

Date:

June 17, 2014

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Joni K. Wallace (Female, 62 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Robby Alden;
Byrd Davis Furman & Alden;
Austin,
TX,
for
Joni K. Wallace ■ Kevin Hendrichson;
Byrd Davis Furman & Alden;
Austin,
TX,
for
Joni K. Wallace ■ Don L. Davis;
Byrd Davis Furman & Alden;
Austin,
TX,
for
Joni K. Wallace

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Lori Wasserburger;
M.D.;
Physical Rehabilitation;
Austin,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ Mark Strickland;

physical therapy;
Austin,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ Angel Roman;
M.D.;
Life Care Planning;
San Antonio,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ David Hall;
P.E.;
Accident Reconstruction;
Austin,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ Frank Brown;

Valuation;
Fort Worth,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ Edward Seade;
M.D.;
Orthopedics;
Austin,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ Robert Josey;
M.D.;
Orthopedic Surgery;
Austin,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ Thomas Roney;

Economics;
Dallas,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ Jeffrey Higginbotham;
M.D.;
Pain Management;
Austin,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis ■ Raymond Kubacak;

Physical Therapy;
Austin,
TX called by
Robby Alden, Kevin Hendrichson, Don L. Davis

Defendant(s):

Elvin B. Barfield

Defense Attorney(s):

Ira Thomas King;
Ira Thomas King & Associates;
Dallas,
TX,
for
Elvin B. Barfield ■ Jeff White;
Ira Thomas King & Associates;
Dallas,
TX,
for
Elvin B. Barfield

Insurer(s):

Kemper State Farm

Facts:

On April 27, 2010, plaintiff Joni Wallace, 62, a dentist, was driving a car east on Windsor Road in Austin when she was involved in a collision with a pickup truck driven by Elvin Barfield. She claimed multiple injuries. Wallace sued Barfield, claiming she was stopped while waiting to make a left turn when Barfield failed to keep a proper lookout or control his speed and rear-ended her. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert testified that Barfield failed to keep a safe distance or speed. Wallace testified Barfield’s head was not initially visible to her until shortly before the collision, and plaintiff’s counsel maintained this suggested he was reaching for an item on the floor of the truck and not keeping a proper lookout. Defense counsel maintained that Wallace had made a right turn from a side street onto the right lane of the road before changing into to the left lane and coming to a sudden and unexpected stop. Defense counsel maintained this left Barfield no opportunity to avoid the collision. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert testified the turn radius of Wallace’s car made it impossible for her to have made the right turn as sharp as the one the defense maintained she made.

Injury:

Wallace sought treatment the day after the collision. She testified that emergency responders on the scene advised her she did not need hospital treatment. She claimed facet syndrome at C4-5 and C5-6 and a torn labrum in her dominant right shoulder. Wallace underwent more than 160 physical therapy sessions; three epidural steroid injections in her neck and five in her shoulder; medial branch block injections; a radiofrequency neurotomy; and dry needling. The plaintiff’s treating physicians and life care planning expert testified she will require a two-level cervical fusion and shoulder replacement surgery. Plaintiff’s counsel maintained that Wallace is under severe lifting restrictions and is unable to row, engage in workouts, lift her grandchildren or other physical activities she engaged in prior to the collision. Plaintiff’s counsel maintained that the posture and arm motions required in dentistry are now extremely painful, which has forced her to severely cut back the number of patients she sees. The plaintiff’s economics expert testified this has reduced her yearly income from $175,000 prior to the collision to $40,000 in 2013, and the plaintiff’s business valuation expert testified this has reduced the value of her practice by approximately $285,000.

Result:

The jury found Barfield liable and awarded Wallace $904,377.58.

Joni K. Wallace: $299,378 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $50,000 Personal Injury: Past Physical Impairment; $100,000 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability; $350,000 Personal Injury: Future Lost Earnings Capability; $70,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $35,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering

Trial Information:

Judge:

Orlinda Naranjo

Demand:

$1,900,000

Offer:

$120,000

Trial Length:

7
 days

Trial Deliberations:

5.5
 hours

Jury Vote:

10-2

Jury Composition:

2 male/ 11 female

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.