$435,000 Settlement in Rear-End Crash
Calice v. Cannella; Middlesex County Superior Court; Judge Jamie Happas; Sept. 17.
Facts & Allegations: Michelle Calice claimed that on Sept. 24, 2010, her SUV was hit from behind by a car driven by Christopher Cannella on Route 18 in East Brunswick.
Cannella claimed that Calice made a sudden, unexpected stop, and that he was unable to avoid hitting her vehicle.
Calice's son, Christopher, a passenger in her SUV at the time, suffered temporary sprain-and-strain injuries.
Michelle Calice had MRIs and was diagnosed with disc herniations at lumbar levels L4-5 and L5-S1; stenosis at L4; and lumbar radiculitis and post-traumatic lumbosacral spine muscle spasm. She was also diagnosed with cervical-disc protrusions at C5-6 and C6-7; cervical stenosis and radiculitis; and post-traumatic cervical spine muscle spasm.
Calice underwent chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, conservative orthopedic care and pain management. Calice had four lumbar and two cervical epidural injections.
She underwent surgery that included anterior cervical discectomy and decompression at C5-6; anterior cord decompression at C6-7; anterior fusion at C5-6 and C6-7; and placement of a polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cage at C5-6 and C6-7, with an anterior spinal fixation plate installed from C5-C7.
Calice claimed she had neck scaring after her surgery, and continues to have residual pain, weakness and parasthesias, making it difficult for her to perform daily household chores and care for her children.
Calice also claimed she was unable to return to work as a travel agent, because she cannot tolerate sitting and standing for long periods.
Calice sued Cannella, claiming that he had been negligent and that she had been stopped in traffic. Her husband, Robert, joined in the action, on a per quod claim.
The defense argued that Calice's postcrash MRI reflected certain degenerative findings.
The case settled, with the insurer for the Cannella vehicle agreeing to pay $435,000.
Plaintiff Attorney:Andrew Blumer, Freehold.
Defense Attorney:Scott Krupa, Viscomi & Lyons, Morristown (for Christopher Cannella); none reported for Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co.
Insurer: Liberty Mutual for Cannella.
Plaintiff Experts: Lance Markbreiter, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Tinton Falls; Harvinder Sandhu, M.D., spinal surgery, New York, N.Y.
Defense Expert: Jerome Rosman, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Hackettstown.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel for Christopher Cannella and Shannon Evans did not return calls.
$215,000 Settlement in Slip and Fall
Dimaggio Davis v. BJ's Wholesale Club Inc.; Middlesex County Superior Court; Judge Jamie Happas; Sept. 23.
Facts & Allegations: On March 29, 2009, Marcella Dimaggio Davis allegedly fell to the floor of an aisle in a BJ's Wholesale Club in Manahawkin after slipping on a piece of tomato.
Dimaggio Davis was in the last trimester of a pregnancy. She sought no immediate care for herself, but went to her obstetrician-gynecologist to check on her unborn baby's well-being.
Dimaggio Davis went to a doctor six months after the accident with complaints of pain in her neck, left elbow, right wrist, lower back and right knee. She was diagnosed with ulnar-nerve damage and cubital tunnel syndrome in her elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome in her right wrist, lumbar neuropathy, myofascial pain syndrome in her lumbar and cervical region, and a contusion to her right knee.
She underwent open right-side carpal tunnel release and later percutaneous ulnar nerve anterior subcutaneous transposition.
She claimed she has pain that restricts her ability to perform typical daily activities, such as those related to household chores and caring for her children. She also claimed she had to change her nursing job duties and tasks because she could not lift patients or do physically demanding aspects of patient care.
Dimaggio Davis sued BJ's Wholesale Club for negligence.
Her suit alleged that the store's personnel had had constructive notice of the condition that caused her to fall, but the defense disputed that. Her husband joined the action on a per quod claim.
The defense argued that the delayed onset of the complained-of injuries was too remote to tie to the slip and fall and that they were due to repetitive stress problems. The defense commissioned video surveillance, which appeared to depict her lifting her young child and doing certain shopping activities, seemingly without difficulty.
The case settled for $215,000.
Plaintiff Attorney: Andrew Blumer, Freehold.
Defense Attorney:Christopher Carlson, The Chartwell Law Offices, Moorestown.
Plaintiff Experts: Paul Dicpinigaitis, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Lawrenceville; Lance Markbreiter, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Tinton Falls.
Defense Expert: Steven Hausmann, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Belford.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to a reporter's phone calls.
$240,000 Settlement in Pedestrian Suit
Dye v. Moretti; Essex County Superior Court; Sept. 23.
Facts & Allegations: Napoleon Dye claimed that on Oct. 7, 2010, he was walking across Stuyvesant Avenue in Irvington when he was struck by a car being driven by Paul Moretti.
Dye was treated for a displaced ankle fracture and four broken ribs. Subsequent MRI studies revealed a lumbar-disc bulge at L4-5, along with stenosis with encroachment on the L5 nerve root.
A neurologist who treated Dye opined that the lumbar condition was preexisting but was exacerbated by the accident, requiring a microdiscectomy at L4-5 and L5-S1.
Dye claimed that as a result of the injuries he has been unable to continue working as a truck driver.
Dye sued Moretti for negligence. His wife asserted a per quod loss-of-consortium claim.
Moretti claimed that Dye was crossing against the light, which was just changing at the time, and that Dye suddenly emerged from in front of a white van truck that was stopped to the right of Moretti's vehicle and was blocking Moretti's view of Dye.
The defense argued that whatever injuries Dye incurred were sufficiently resolved and that he had overall made a fairly good recovery. The defense attributed the spinal injuries to a degenerative condition.
The case settled for $240,000.
Plaintiff Attorneys:Brad Schenerman, Newark; Gerald Helfrich, Denville.
Defense Attorney:Thomas Morrone, Chasan Leyner & Lamparello, Secaucus.
Plaintiff Experts: John Cifelli, M.D., neurosurgery, Clifton; Kristin Kucsma, M.A., economics, Livingston.
Defense Expert: None reported.
This report is based on information from plaintiff counsel. Defense counsel declined to comment.
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