Case details

Parties disputed future care required for paralyzed plaintiff





Result type

Not present

fracture, neck
On Dec. 19, 2015, plaintiff Anthony Taylor, 27, a custodian, was a passenger in a vehicle that left the Antelope Valley Mall, in Palmdale, after shopping with his girlfriend and her mother. At around 4:45 p.m., as they were traveling on eastbound West Avenue O, in Lancaster, Taylor’s vehicle collided into a vehicle operated by Samantha Schilling, who darted out from a two-way stop sign on northbound 15th Street West. Taylor sustained to his neck and was paralyzed. Taylor sued Schilling, alleging that Schilling was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Taylor’s girlfriend and her mother settled out. Taylor claimed Schilling ran the stop sign on 15th Street West and drove into oncoming traffic, colliding with the vehicle he was in. Thus, he claimed Schilling failed to yield the right of way when pulling from a stop sign. Schilling admitted negligence at trial., Taylor sustained fractures to his cervical spine at the C5 and C6 levels, causing substantial spinal cord damage. He was immediately paralyzed upon impact, and the fire department removed him from the car. He was then transported to Antelope Valley Hospital, in Lancaster, where it was determined that he was rendered a quadriplegic. Taylor subsequently required a tracheostomy at the hospital and the surgical removal of hardware from a prior spinal fusion for scoliosis. He also required the placement of a halo brace to keep his neck stabilized. In addition, Taylor required another hospitalization for treatment of bedsores, which are alternately termed “decubitus ulcers” or “pressure sores,” and sepsis. Taylor was born with developmental disabilities and was given up for adoption, but he later found a home where he was nurtured. He later worked as a custodian, had a fiancée and was entirely self-sufficient, despite his disabilities. However, Taylor now needs to be cared for by a home health aide as a result of the sustained in the crash. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Taylor should have 24-hour care from a licensed vocational nurse. Thus, Taylor sought recovery for his past and future lost earnings, future medical care, and past and future pain and suffering. During closing arguments, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Taylor $113 million in total damages. Defense counsel contended that Taylor is mostly self-sufficient, despite his paralysis, and that Taylor only needed minimal assistance and care. Specifically, counsel argued that a home health aide was adequate. According to the life care plan presented by the defense’s expert life care planner, Taylor would only require $7.5 million to $9 million for quality care to be provided for the rest of his life. Defense counsel also argued that Taylor had made significant progress over the six months that preceded the trial, in that Taylor had increased his independence and overall outlook toward the future. Thus, in response to the amount requested by plaintiff’s counsel during closing arguments, defense counsel asked the jury to award Taylor only $18 million.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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