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Date of Verdict:

April 23.

Court and Case No.:

C.P. Philadelphia No. 130200693.

Judge:

Albert J. Snite Jr.

Type of Action:

Motor vehicle.

Injuries:

Torn meniscus.

Plaintiffs Counsel:

Scott T. Taggart, Spear, Greenfield & Richman, Philadelphia.

Defense Counsel:

Theodore P. Winicov, Forry Ullman, King of Prussia, Pa.

Plaintiffs Experts:

Dr. Mark D. Allen, orthopedic surgery, Lansdowne, Pa.

Defense Experts:

Dr. Andrew H. Shaer, neuroradiology, Jenkintown, Pa.

Comment:

On Oct. 14, 2010, plaintiff Vincent Casino Jr., 44, was operating a van toward the intersection of N. 12th Street and W. Allegheny Avenue, in the Glenwood section of North Philadelphia, when the passenger’s side of his vehicle was struck by the front of a sedan. Casino claimed that as a result of the accident he suffered a torn right meniscus. He settled with the other driver involved in the accident for $13,500 out of a $15,000 policy.

Casino then pursued an underinsured motorist claim against his own carrier, Progressive Specialty Insurance Co., through which he had $15,000 in coverage.

Following court-mandated arbitration, the panel found in favor of Progressive, and Casino appealed.

The case proceeded to trial as to causation- and damages-related issues.

Casino, complaining of right knee pain, had presented to an emergency room following the accident, and was examined and released. Forty-five days later, Casino, who during that time reportedly was icing his knee and was non-weight-bearing, presented to a rehabilitation facility, where he was put on a course of physical therapy, with which he treated for about five months. During that time an MRI study showed a meniscus tear. Surgery was recommended, but Casino did not undergo the operation, reportedly for financial reasons. No further treatment was rendered.

Casino’s expert in orthopedic surgery causally related Casino’s meniscus tear to the subject accident. The physician recommended that Casino undergo repair surgery.

Casino said his continued knee pain limits him in using ladders (he previously had performed home-improvement side-jobs), walking long distances, and standing for long periods of time, in addition to difficulty sleeping. His suit sought unspecified amounts of noneconomic damages for past and future pain and suffering.

The defense’s expert in neuroradiology, who reviewed Casino’s MRI study in conjunction with the litigation, concluded that the torn meniscus predated the collision.

Progressive’s counsel noted that Casino was involved in a January 2011 motor-vehicle accident, which resulted in a lawsuit. At a deposition for that prior litigation, it was argued, Casino had described physical limitations similar to the ones he complained of with respect to the instant incident.

In addition, the defense stressed that Casino had waited 45 days before seeking additional medical treatment following the emergency-room visit prompted by the October 2010 accident.

The jury found that Casino had suffered an injury that resulted in a serious impairment of bodily function as a result of the accident. The jury determined that he should receive $60,000 in damages, which was reduced to $15,000 in reflection of the maximum UIM coverage available under his Progressive policy.

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.

— This report first appeared in VerdictSearch, an ALM publication