Case details

Defendant denied plaintiff hurt hand inside moving pickup





Result type

Not present

displaced, finger, fracture, metatarsal phalangeal joint hand, subluxation
On July 4, 2011, at approximately 7:30 a.m., plaintiff Jennie Ortega-Rinder, an unemployed 30 year old, was involved in an incident during a child visitation exchange outside of her Chowchilla home. Her estranged husband, Brian Rinder, arrived in his pickup truck and retrieved their three children for visitation, but as he drove away, Ortega-Rinder allegedly sustained to her right hand when she was in the proximity of the pickup truck. Ortega-Rinder sued Rinder. She alleged the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Ortega-Rinder claimed Rinder aggressively sped away while she was standing inside the open, right, front passenger door, causing her right hand to get caught on something inside the door. She also claimed their 8-year-old daughter, Sarah, was unbuckled in the right, front passenger seat when Rinder sped away. Rinder claimed that Ortega-Rinder was provoking a fight in front of their children regarding the drop off time per their custody-and-visitation order. He claimed he called the Chowchilla Police Department and, while on the call, Ortega-Rinder seemed to back off and shut the passenger door, so he hung up. However, Rinder claimed that if Ortega-Rinder hurt her hand on his vehicle, she must have hurt it on the outside of the door handle after he started driving away. He alleged that as he was pulling away, he looked in the right passenger mirror and saw Ortega-Rinder putting her hand in the air, but that he assumed she was flipping him off and did not think she had hurt her hand., After the incident, Ortega-Rinder went to a hospital and underwent X-rays of her right hand. She was diagnosed with a fifth metacarpal base fracture with minimal displacement on her right hand, which was immobilized with a splint. She ultimately started a course of physical therapy in August 2011 and, by December 2011, an X-ray showed that the fracture had healed. Ortega-Rinder claimed she experienced issues with the small finger on her right hand, which sometimes snapped into a flexed position. She was later diagnosed with a sagittal band injury to the right small finger, resulting in ulnar subluxation of the extensor mechanism, and was recommended a Bellevue splint for six weeks. She ultimately underwent a realignment of the right small finger extensor tendon at the metacarpal phalangeal joint on Sept. 25, 2012. However, Ortega-Rinder claimed she developed stiffness after the surgery and required a right small finger metacarpophalangeal joint capsulectomy on Jan. 8, 2013. Ortega-Rinder claimed that her condition mostly improved after the two surgeries, in that while her small finger didn’t glide as smooth at the joint as her other fingers, she could still make a fist with normal extension. Thus, Ortega-Rinder sought $16,161.60 in past medical costs and an unspecified amount of damages for her pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Rinder did not cause Ortega-Rinder’s and that she should be awarded zero damages.
Superior Court of Madera County, Madera, CA

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