Date of Verdict:
Court and Case No.:
C.P. Allegheny No. GD-15-007704.
Michael F. Marmo.
Type of Action:
Chad F. McMillen, McMillen, Urick, Tocci, and Jones, Aliquippa.
Guy E. Blass, Summers, McDonnell, Hudock & Guthrie, Pittsburgh.
Jeffrey Mulholland, orthopedic surgery, Pittsburgh.
On April 15, 2014, plaintiff Theresa Mancini, 39, a teacher’s aide, was crossing a street in the North Oakland section of Pittsburgh when she was allegedly struck by a car. She claimed a left-leg fracture.
Mancini sued the driver, Lisa Skwirut, alleging that she was negligent in the operation of a vehicle.
Her counsel faulted Skwirut for being inattentive.
Mancini claimed she had just left work and was heading toward a garage on the other side of North Bellefield Avenue. She looked both ways, saw no vehicle approaching from the north lane, and saw a car had stopped in the south lane to allow her to cross the avenue. She reached the center of the street when a vehicle pulled out of the garage and turned left onto the avenue, allegedly striking Mancini on the left leg.
Two of Mancini’s co-workers testified that they did not see the alleged impact, but witnessed Skwirut exit her car and say, “I can’t believe I hit her.”
Skwirut testified that, while turning onto North Bellefield Avenue, she saw Mancini walking across the street with a hood pulled down over her head due to heavy falling snow. Skwirut stopped, to avoid striking Mancini. However, because Mancini was not watching where she was going, she continued walking forward and walked directly into the front of Skwirut’s vehicle.
The husband of another teacher’s aide testified that there was no impact between Mancini and Skwirut’s car. According to the witness, Skwirut stopped her vehicle in front of Mancini, who put her hand on the car’s hood and fell.
Skwirut’s counsel faulted Mancini for not using a crosswalk, about 370 feet away.
Mancini was brought by ambulance to an emergency room, where she was X-rayed and diagnosed with a soft-tissue injury to her left leg and a possible tibia fracture. She was given crutches and instructed to follow up with an orthopedist and remain non-weight-bearing.
A week later, Mancini followed up with an orthopedist, who diagnosed her with a lateral tibial plateau fracture and swelling and bruising to her left knee. She was placed in a knee immobilizer and given pain medication. She remained non-weight-bearing in the ensuing weeks.
On May 19, Mancini was able to bear weight for the first time since the accident. She was placed in a stabilizing leg brace and was allowed to begin using an exercise bike as therapy, beginning in June.
On June 16, her orthopedist noted that she was still unable to use stairs. She was prescribed physical therapy (she treated with eight sessions) and instructed to wean off the leg brace.
On July 14, her physician instructed Mancini to continue home exercises and to use the brace as needed. She was released back to work. No further treatment was administered, and she sought to recover a $12,856.13 workers’ compensation lien.
Mancini’s orthopedic surgeon causally related her injuries and treatment to the accident, and opined that she is at some risk for developing post-traumatic arthritis in her left knee.
Mancini testified that she made a good recovery, but continues to experience stiffness in her left leg, which prevents her from sitting for a long period (e.g., driving long distances). She sought to recover damages for past and future pain and suffering.
Skwirut’s counsel did not dispute Mancini’s injuries and damages.
The jury found Mancini was 75 percent liable and Skwirut was 25 percent liable. Under the state comparative negligence law, which bars recovery for plaintiffs who are more than 50 percent at fault, Mancini received no damages.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel and by court documents.
— This report originally appeared in VerdictSearch, an ALM publication. •