Reyes v. Pick Up Stix
In 2012, plaintiff, Plaintiff slipped and fell at a Pick Up Stix restaurant in San Bernardino. Plaintiff claimed that she sustained serious injuries and that she would need extensive surgeries in the future, including cervical spine and lumbar spine fusion, knee replacement, as well as other treatment. She made that claim in spite of the fact that the accident happened 6 ½ years ago and her treatment with Kaiser ended in 2013.
Prior to trial, Plaintiff’s counsel demanded $1 million and during his closing argument he asked the jury to award $1,006,000 for future specials and $500,000 - $700,000 for past general damages. Plaintiff's counsel did not ask for a specific amount for future pain and suffering as he was “trusting the jury” to award the right number. Prior to trial Defendant offered $500,000 pursuant to CCP section 998. During trial, this was increased to $600,000.
Plaintiff brought several experts to testify including three surgeons who all claimed that she needed surgery. Plaintiff also brought a radiologist who attempted to mislead the jury about an alleged meniscus tear. Plaintiff’s life care planner swore that plaintiff’s future care would cost over $1M. During opening, plaintiff’s counsel made several promises which were not proven at trial. After the plaintiff testified that the accident left her virtually an invalid, Defense counsel showed the jury video depicting the plaintiff single-handedly moving a dishwasher across the porch of her house.
The jury determined that negligence was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s injuries (causation). However, they awarded plaintiff only $75,000 for past pain and suffering, $0 for future medical treatment, and $0 for future pain and suffering (plaintiff waived past meds).