verdicts-and-settlements-article

Isabella v. Segarra

$72,780.69 Verdict

Date of Verdict: Nov. 13, 2018.

Court and Case No.: C.P. Allegheny No. GD-17-008226.

Judge: John T. McVay Jr.

Type of Action: Motor vehicle.

Injuries: Shoulder, knee injuries.

Plaintiffs Counsel: Mark F. McKenna, McKenna & Associates, Pittsburgh.

Plaintiffs Expert: Shaka Walker, orthopedic surgery, Pittsburgh.

Defense Counsel:  Jason A. Hines, Summers, McDonnell, Hudock & Guthrie, Pittsburgh; Devon A. Malloy, Robb Leonard Mulvihill, Pittsburgh.

Defense Expert: Robert L. Waltrip, orthopedic surgery, Pittsburgh.

Comment:

On April 13, 2016, plaintiff Joseph Isabella, a man in his 50s, was walking on Brownsville Road, crossing at its intersection with East Willock Road, in Brentwood. He was struck by a sport utility vehicle. He suffered a shoulder injury.

Isabella sued the driver, Carmella Segarra, and another motorist, George Zboyovsky. He alleged that Segarra was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. He also alleged that Zyboyovsky was negligent for waving Segarra through the intersection.

Prior to trial, Isabella and Segarra entered into a pro-tanto settlement for an undisclosed amount. Pursuant to the agreement, Segarra stipulated to liability and remained at trial and on the verdict slip.

Before the accident occurred, Segarra was driving south on Brownsville Road, intending to turn left onto East Willock Road. Zboyovsky, driving north on Brownsville Road, came upon the intersection and stopped to wave at Segarra, allegedly indicating that it was safe for her to turn.

Isabella was crossing East Willock Road in the marked crosswalk, when Segarra turned and struck him with her SUV, Isabella’s counsel argued. Isabella was thrown approximately 20 feet. Isabella’s counsel argued that Zboyovsky was negligent for signaling to Segarra to turn at the intersection when it was not safe to do so.

Zboyovsky testified that he was stopped at a red light and signaled to Segarra that he would yield the right of way and allow her to turn left when the signal turned green.

Zboyovsky’s counsel argued that, pursuant to Pennsylvania law, a gratuitous signal cannot reasonably be interpreted as anything other than a yield of the right of way or a gesture or a courtesy; therefore, a signaling motorist is not liable as a matter of law.

Zboyovsky’s counsel further argued that Segarra only relied upon the signal to establish that Zboyovsky was yielding the right of way to her and was not an indication or confirmation that the intersection was clear.

Zboyovsky’s counsel maintained that Segarra was 100 percent liable for the accident.

Isabella was taken by ambulance to an emergency room. He was kept for a few hours and discharged that day.

Within days, he followed up with a primary care physician with complaints of pain to his right shoulder, of his dominant arm, and right knee. He was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who via MRIs, diagnosed him with a tear of the right supraspinatus tendon and a sprain to his right knee.

Isabella was then put on a course of physical therapy, which he treated for a few months. His treatment consisted of massages and exercises. His knee complaints later resolved.

It was later determined that Isabella’s shoulder was not improving from the therapy and that he required surgery. On Aug. 25, 2016, Isabella underwent an arthroscopy and subacromial decompression to his shoulder. Following the surgery, he consulted with his surgeon on a few occasions, and no further treatment was rendered.

Isabella’s surgeon causally related his injuries and treatment to the accident. According to the physician, Isabella will continue to experience permanent restrictions in his right shoulder.

Isabella testified that he continues to experience a decreased range of motion in his right shoulder, particularly when performing any overhead work.

Isabella sought to recover stipulated damages of $27,481.89 in medical costs and $35,298.80 in lost earnings, along with unspecified damages for past and future pain and suffering.

The defense’s expert in orthopedic surgery, who examined Isabella, agreed that Isabella suffered a rotator cuff tear from the accident which necessitated surgery, but that Isabella had made a good recovery and experienced no further restrictions.

The jury found Segarra 100 percent liable. No liability was found against Zboyovsky. Isabella was determined to receive $72,780.69.

This report is based on information that was provided by Segarra’s counsel. Plaintiffs counsel and Zboyovsky’s counsel did not respond to calls for comment.

—This report first appeared in VerdictSearch, an ALM publication.