Wilson v. Brown

Defense Verdict

Date of Verdict: Oct. 24, 2018.

Court and Case No.: C.P. Philadelphia No. 151201803.

Judge: D. Webster Keogh.

Type of Action: Motor vehicle.

Injuries: Back injury.

Plaintiffs Counsel: Rochelle Newman, Rochelle Newman, Attorney at Law, Philadelphia.

Plaintiffs Expert: Lance O. Yarus, pain management, Philadelphia.

Defense Counsel:  James D. Blumenthal, Bennett, Bricklin & Saltzburg, Marlton, New Jersey.

Defense Expert: Andrew H. Shaer, radiology, Jenkintown.


On May 19, 2014, plaintiff Lakeisha Wilson, a woman in her 40s, was stopped in traffic on Abbottsford Avenue, near its intersection with Fox Street, in North Philadelphia. Her sport utility vehicle was rear-ended by a sedan. The sedan had been rear-ended by a car that had been struck by a sedan driven by Lorenda Legions, who initiated the multivehicle collision. Wilson alleged a back injury.

Wilson sued Legions as well as the two other drivers involved in the collision. She alleged that the defendants were negligent in the operation of a vehicle.

The suits against the two other drivers were dismissed prior to trial. Wilson was determined to receive $31,059.20 during court-mandated arbitration. Legions appealed the decision.

The case was tried on the issues of causation and damages, as Legions stipulated to liability.

Wilson was taken by ambulance to an emergency room where she was examined and released.

In the ensuing days, Wilson, complaining of low-back pain, presented to a rehabilitation facility, where she treated with physical therapy until June. Her treatment consisted of exercise and massage.

During that time, she underwent an MRI which allegedly showed a herniation at lumbar intervertebral disc L5-S1. She came under the care of a pain-management specialist, who administered three epidural injections to her lumbar spine.

In July, Wilson presented to another rehabilitation facility where she resumed physical therapy, which she treated through October. No further treatment was administered.

In his report, Wilson’s pain-management specialist causally related lumbar herniation and treatment to the accident. The physician opined that Wilson suffered a serious impairment of a body function. The case was tried pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1311.1, under which a verdict is capped at $25,000, and expert-witness reports are submitted into evidence in lieu of live testimony.

Wilson testified that she experiences ongoing back pain which interfere with performing her activities of daily living. She sought to recover damages for past and future pain and suffering.

In his report, the defense’s expert in radiology determined that the pathology on Wilson’s lumbar MRI showed degenerative changes that predate the accident. The expert concluded that Wilson did not suffer a traumatic injury as a result of the accident.

The jury rendered a defense verdict. It found that Legions’ negligence was a factual cause of injury to Wilson, but it also found that Wilson did not suffer a serious impairment of a body function.


This report is based on information that was provided by Legions’ counsel. Plaintiffs counsel did not respond to calls for comment. The remaining defendants’ counsel was not asked to contribute.

—This report first appeared in VerdictSearch, an ALM publication