Date of Verdict: April 8.
Court and Case No.: C.P. Philadelphia No. 130301804.
Judge: Mary D. Colins.
Type of Action: Motor vehicle.
Injuries: Soft tissue; shoulder.
Plaintiffs Counsel: Leonard K. Hill and Susan B. Ayres, Hill & Associates, Philadelphia.
Defense Counsel: Theodore P. Winicov, Forry Ullman, King of Prussia, Pa.
Plaintiffs Expert: Dr. Robert Sing, osteopathic medicine, Springfield, Delaware County, Pa.
Comment: According to court documents, plaintiff Gary Murray, 57, was rear-ended while driving along 7 Oaks Drive at its intersection with Cheltenham Avenue in Philadelphia. Murray claimed that the accident caused soft-tissue injuries of the back, neck and shoulder.
Murray was covered by an insurance policy issued by Progressive Specialty Insurance Co., which provided underinsured motorist benefits, Murray’s pretrial memo said. Murray sued Progressive seeking recovery under the policy.
In his pretrial memo, Murray contended that the accident caused a partial thickness tear of the left rotator cuff, left shoulder residual weakness, loss of range of motion, an exacerbation and aggravation of degenerative joint disease of the left acromioclavicular joint, post-traumatic left lumbar facet syndrome, a knee contusion and sprains and strains of the neck and back. Court records indicated Murray was right-hand dominant.
According to a report from Murray’s treating osteopath, Dr. Robert Sing, Murray presented to a hospital three days after the accident with shoulder pain and spasms. Murray also treated with physical therapy, and was recommended to undergo cortisone injections for the shoulder, which he did not undergo. The doctor’s report said that while the knee contusion and the sprains and strains had resolved, Murray continued to have pain, and he was unable to engage in physical activities that he had previously, including playing sports. The osteopath added that Murray will require physical therapy, and possibly facet injections.
Progressive, in its pretrial memo, contended that the police report following the accident showed only minor damage to the vehicle and no injuries to the plaintiff. The defendant further noted that Murray did not undergo any emergency treatment following the accident.
Progressive argued that Murray’s lower-back, right-knee and left-shoulder pain resolved, and noted that the plaintiff had sustained injuries to his lower back, cervical spine and right shoulder in a 2009 motor vehicle accident, as well as injuries, including a herniated disc in his lumbar spine, as a result of a 2007 accident.
Progressive also argued that Murray and his wife have opened a day care center, which cares for infants and toddlers from ages nine months to 4 years old, and said that Murray had been able to perform the work without physical limitations.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $133,000, but the verdict was molded to the $50,000 insurance policy limit.
According to plaintiffs attorney Susan B. Ayres, the trial lasted two days and the jury came to a unanimous verdict after two hours of deliberating. Ayers said the jury made the award with the plaintiff’s daily limitations in mind.
A call to defense counsel seeking comment was not returned.
— Max Mitchell, of the Law Weekly •