Case details

Defense claimed plaintiff’s stroke unrelated to rear-ender





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain injury, cognition, high blood pressure, language, mental, neck, psychological, sensory, speech, stroke
On Oct. 31, 2012, plaintiff Hosey Stewart, a manager at a scaffolding company in his 50s, was driving in the number three (far right) lane on northbound Calloway Drive, a six-lane roadway in Northwest Bakersfield with three lanes headed in each direction, when a school bus that was traveling three lanes over, pulled over from the number one lane to the number three lane’s shoulder. The bus then engaged its flashing red lights so that it could to drop off a student. As a result, Stewart braked behind the bus. However, while stopped, Stewart’s vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Christopher Offill. Stewart claimed that the accident ultimately caused a stroke. Stewart sued Christopher Offill and the owners of Christopher Offill’s vehicle, his parents, Roger Offill and Alice Offill. Stewart alleged that Christopher Offill was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Roger and Alice Offill were vicariously liable for their son’s actions. Offill’s parents were ultimately dismissed from the case. Christopher Offill claimed that when he looked up, he saw Stewart’s stopped vehicle, but he could not brake in time., Stewart claimed that he suffered back and neck , and a stroke as a result of the collision. Stewart initially claimed that he fine at the accident scene, but his employer recommended that he get checked out. As a result, Stewart went to an emergency room with some minor neck and back issues. His blood pressure was also noted to be very high, but he refused any medicine that the E.R. would give him to lower it. Stewart’s family later took him to a family physician, who concurred that Stewart had high blood pressure and prescribed medication. When Stewart’s blood pressure remained high, the family physician adjusted the medication. However, 10 days later, while Stewart was at home on a Friday, he suffered a stroke. He refused medical treatment and, the following Monday, he returned to the family physician, who recommended that Stewart go to the hospital. As a result, Stewart presented to Kern Medical Center, in Bakersfield, where he underwent an MRI and was treated. The MRI results showed that Stewart had one or two prior strokes. Stewart claimed that the latest stroke was related to the subject accident. The plaintiff’s expert vascular surgeon agreed that the subject stroke was related to the accident. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that although Stewart had a history of strokes, the latest one caused him to have slurred speech, physical weakness, memory loss and lack of strength. Stewart subsequently could not work and has been on disability since the accident. The defense’s cardiovascular disease expert opined that the subject stroke was not related to the accident, as the passage of time was too great and as Stewart already had a history of strokes.
Superior Court of Kern County, Kern, CA

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