Ewis v. Koehler

$225,000 Settlement

Date of Verdict: Nov. 2.

Court and Case No.: C.P. Philadelphia 161202594.

Judge: Eileen P.G. Katz.

Type of Action: Motor vehicle.

Injuries: Neck and spine injuries.

Plaintiffs Counsel: Feeda R. Musitief, Fine and Staud, Philadelphia.

Plaintiffs Experts: Aaron Shapiro, plastic surgery/reconstructive surgery, Philadelphia, Steven Valentino, orthopedic surgery, King of Prussia and Steven Grossinger, neurology, Ridley Park.

Defense Counsel:  Greg A. Ray, Mancheski & Bunker, Philadelphia.

Defense Expert:  Harvey Smith; neurosurgery; Philadelphia.

Comment:

On Sept. 20, 2015, plaintiff Abdelaziz Ewis, 32, owner of an electronics store, was driving a sedan on N. Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia. After he stopped at a red light at Woodward Avenue he was rear-ended by a pickup truck. He claimed neck and back injuries.

Ewis sued the other driver, Robert Koehler, alleging that he was negligent.

Koehler stipulated to negligence, and the suit proceeded on the issues of causation and damages.

Ewis was taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where he was treated for a head laceration, having struck the windshield at impact. The wound was debrided and required about 16 staples.

In the ensuing days, Ewis, complaining of neck and low-back pain, presented to a rehabilitation facility, where he treated with nine months of physical therapy, including massage and exercise. He consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, who via MRIs and EMGs diagnosed cervical and lumbar sprain; herniations at cervical and lumbar intervertebral discs C5-6 and L4-5; a C5-6 protrusion; bulging at C3-4 and C4-5; a closed head-injury; post-concussion syndrome; bilateral radiculopathy stemming from L5-S1; stenosis; and facet syndrome in his cervical and lumbar spine.

Ewis, who also complained of headaches and numbness in his legs, further treated with a series of epidural injections of a steroid-based painkiller. He sought to recover $6,462.70 in medical costs and about $4,000 in lost wages, having missed 35 days of work.

Ewis’ orthopedic surgeon causally related his injuries and treatment to the accident. According to the physician, Ewis requires future epidural injections, medial-branch blocks, ongoing office visits, and radiofrequency ablation, all of which was estimated at $20,000 to $25,000 annually. The physician determined that Ewis was a candidate for a cervical discectomy and decompression, estimated at $95,000, and a lumbar discectomy and decompression, estimated at $100,000 to $120,000.

Ewis’ expert in neurology also attributed his injuries and treatment to the accident, and confirmed that he would need future lumbar surgery.

Ewis’ expert in plastic surgery opined that he suffered a permanent scar from the laceration, which resulted in a noticeable 11-centimeter scar above the hairline. The expert recommended a follicular unit extraction/transplantation, which would help to camouflage the scarred area. Ewis would require about four transplant procedures, which were estimated at $4,000 per treatment.

Ewis alleged that he cannot sit or stand for extended periods without significant pain, which prevents him from driving for extended hours. He does not sleep as well and is unable to run, exercise, or play soccer. His restrictions have affected his ability to interact with his children, whom he can no longer play with. He sought damages for past and future pain and suffering.

Koehler’s expert in neurosurgery opined that any injuries suffered by Ewis were soft-tissue in nature and had resolved within months of treatment.

The parties entered into a mediated settlement for $224,958.86, prior to trial. Koehler had an insurance policy limit of $300,000.

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

—This report first appeared in VerdictSearch, an ALM publication