Case details

Defense: Knee complaints caused by lifestyle, not accident





Result type

Not present

ankle, fracture, knee, scapholunate ligament, sprain, strain elbow, tear, tibial plateau, wrist
On March 2, 2009, at around 9:30 a.m., plaintiff Gabriel Ganor, 43, a paralegal, was riding his motorcycle north on Pacific Avenue, traveling between 25 to 30 mph, when he first noted a truck turning left about 20 to 30 feet in front of him at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Venice Way in Venice. He claimed he forcefully applied both front and rear brakes, attempted to evasively steer to the right, and then laid his motorcycle down on the roadway, but still struck the turning vehicle. Ganor subsequently claimed to his left leg, left elbow and right wrist. Ganor sued the truck’s operator, Nestor Salazar Alcala, alleging that the defendant was negligent in the operation of his motor vehicle. Alcala claimed he stopped his truck at the intersection in order to wait for traffic to clear prior to initiating his left turn. However, he claimed that he did not see Ganor prior to the impact and admitted fault for making an unsafe left turn in front of Ganor’s oncoming motorcycle., Ganor was driven home by a friend. He then briefly attempted to go to work, but ultimately went to the emergency room at Santa Monica-UCLA Hospital. Ganor sustained a non-displaced fracture of the lateral tibia plateau in the left leg, and a left elbow laceration and bone fragment. He also sustained a partial tear of the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist, a sprained right ankle, and various abrasions. Ganor’s left leg was placed in a cast for the tibia fracture and he subsequently had physical therapy for a few months. Four months later, the tibia fracture was healed and Ganor was released to normal activities. The plaintiff’s treating expert orthopedic surgeon testified that when he was performing the arthroscopic meniscectomy, he had been able to visualize the fissure in the cartilage of the tibial articular surface caused by the tibia fracture. He opined that the fissure was causing deteriorating medial compartment osteoarthritis, which would likely necessitate a left knee arthroplasty in 10 years. Defense counsel noted that four months after the plaintiff was released to normal activities, Ganor tore the medial meniscus in his left knee while warming up for a softball game and that this injury required an arthroscopic meniscectomy. However, at the start of trial, the plaintiff dropped his claim that the meniscal tear was related to the accident. The defense’s orthopedic expert testified that the minor fissure seen on MRI was the least of Ganor’s knee joint problems. Defense counsel noted that both doctors agreed varus stress caused by Ganor as a result of being congenitally bowlegged had caused degeneration in the lateral knee compartment, and it was unclear what caused the cartilage degeneration in the patellar compartment. The defense’s expert also testified that Ganor’s continued arthritic left knee complaints were caused by more serious degeneration in the patellar and lateral knee compartments, and not by the medial knee compartment, which contained the minor cartilage fissure caused by the fracture. Defense counsel asserted that Ganor was very athletic, participating on two softball teams and weekend beach volleyball, among other sports. Counsel argued that a medical record showing Ganor was seen with two skinned knees from sliding into second base a year after the accident was evidence that Ganor’s knee complaints were not limiting, and was further evidence that the continuing mild left knee complaints were likely due to normal knee degeneration caused by a vigorous lifestyle.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case