Case details

Plaintiff claimed customer negligent in use of electric cart





Result type

Not present

arterial, back, bulging disc, cervical, fusion, neck, stenosis
On July 21, 2016, plaintiff Joseph Gough, 57, a home-improvement company’s marketing manager, was in the store where he worked when he was struck by an 8-foot aluminum piece of trim that was placed horizontally in an electric cart operated by a customer, Robert Belcher. One end of the trim struck a counter, causing the other end to swing into Gough’s neck and head, knocking him to the ground. He sustained to his neck and carotid artery. Gough sued Belcher and an entity believed to be Belcher’s employer, Victory Retail Support, LLC. Gough alleged that Belcher was negligent in the operation of the electric cart and that Victory Retail Support was liable for Belcher’s actions. Victory Retail Support was dismissed from the case once it was discovered to be an incorrect employer. Belcher argued that the cart should have contained a warning/instruction sign, or some employee should have helped him with the trim or told him not to place the trim in the cart horizontally., Gough was taken to an urgent care center the same day of the accident. One month later, after several doctor visits and scans, he was diagnosed with a cervical disc bulge with severe stenosis in his neck, as well as a dissected carotid artery, a major blood vessel in the neck. Gough underwent a series of cervical fusion surgeries in January 2017 and then one more in June 2018. Gough continues to work in the same capacity, but he has lifting restrictions. The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgery expert opined that surgery at the next level would be required in 10 to 15 years. Gough sought recovery of past and future medical costs, including $220,000 in future surgical and therapy costs. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Gough’s neck condition was pre-existing.
Superior Court of Orange County, Orange, CA

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