Case details

Plaintiff claimed defendant ran red light and caused collision





Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical, knee, meniscus, neck, strain, tear, traumatic brain injury, wrist
On Aug. 19, 2010, at approximately 6 p.m., plaintiff Nadelle Williams, 45, a truck driver, was in her Dodge Caliber on northbound on S. Rancho Santa Fe Road in San Marcos when she proceeded through the intersection with Melrose Drive on a green light. As she entered the intersection, her vehicle was struck by a Chevrolet Suburban operated by Todd Nielsen, who was eastbound on Melrose Drive and ran the red light at the intersection. Williams claimed several bodily as a result of the impact. Williams sued Nielsen for motor vehicle negligence. She alleged that Nielsen, who was the general manager of a GM dealership, North County GMC Pontiac, which was owned by My Escondido BCG, LLC, was working at the time of the accident and was operating a vehicle owned by the dealership. As such, Williams also sued My Escondido BCG, LLC (doing business as North County Buick), North County Buick Cadillac GMC, North County Cadillac, North County GMC and NC GMC #9 LLC (doing business as North County GMC Pontiac), alleging that they were vicariously liable for Nielsen’s actions. GMC #9 LLC was ultimately dismissed by the plaintiff, and the matter continued against the remaining defendants. Williams claimed that Nielsen was originally stopped at a red light at the intersection of Melrose Drive and S. Rancho Santa Fe Road when Nielsen decided that he had been waiting too long for the red light to turn green and chose to run it. Nielsen claimed that that when he got to the front spot at the intersection, he waited, but the traffic light for the Melrose Drive direction did not phase. He claimed that as a result, he thought the traffic light was malfunctioning. Nielsen alleged that he ultimately decided to use the traffic signal as a stop sign, with S. Rancho Santa Fe Road acting as a through street, and proceeded into the intersection when he believed it was clear to so. However, Nielsen claimed that when he was more than three-quarters of the way through the intersection, the right passenger side of his vehicle was impacted by the front of Williams’ vehicle, causing both vehicles to move and Williams’ vehicle to spin. Williams countered that the vehicles in line before Nielsen entered the intersection on a green light and that the defendant just decided to run the red light. However, defense counsel argued that Williams was not in a state to be able to probably remember anything about the accident, if the plaintiff’s alleged head injury was accurate., Williams claimed that she was knocked unconscious at the scene and was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Williams claimed that she sustained blunt force trauma to her head, resulting in a mild traumatic brain injury. She also alleged bilateral numbness and pain in her hands and wrists, with more pain occurring on the left side. This ultimately required a carpal tunnel release to her left wrist. In addition, Williams claimed that she sustained a cervical strain with pain and stiffness, a supraspinatus tendon tear to her left shoulder, and a left meniscal tear to her left knee. She ultimately underwent surgery to treat her rotator cuff injury and torn meniscus. Williams claimed approximately $120,000 in medical specials. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed Williams being unconscious at the scene and contended that the plaintiff had a prior significant medical history, including an extensive number of work related over many years. Counsel noted that Williams’ surgeries started as far back as 1979, and included a right wrist surgery, a right distal ulnar partial resection, a right carpal tunnel release, an arthroscopic debridement and right ulnar styloid excision osteotomy, a right shoulder surgery involving rotator cuff repair and subacromial decompression with debridement of the labrum and manipulation of the shoulder under anesthesia, a left shoulder surgery described as arthroscopic Bankart repair, a subscapularis repair, a subacromial decompression and distal claviculectomy, and a right tibial surgery. Defense counsel added that films of Williams’ lumbar spine in February 2007 revealed lower lumbar scoliosis, degenerative changes at the L4-5 level, and degenerative changes of the facet joint at L4-5, while an MRI showed foraminal stenosis at L4-5 and L5-S1 on the right side with low-grade central stenosis at L5-S1. Counsel further contended that an MRI of the cervical spine in September 2009 revealed a mild annular disc bulge at C5-6. In addition, counsel noted that, as part of her general ‘physical maintenance,’ Williams testified to receiving chiropractic treatment for a period of time prior to 2009. On Sept. 1, 2009, Williams was involved in a work-related accident, in which she suffered a right shoulder sprain and rotator cuff syndrome, defense counsel contended. Counsel further noted that a physician’s report dated July 2, 2010, confirmed a tear of the right rotator cuff that had to be repaired arthroscopically in October 2009, and that Williams was scheduled to return to work June 1, 2010. However, the physician reported that Williams still complained of right shoulder pain, which she described as intermittent pain at the end of a long day and with repetitive overhead lifting as of July 2, 2010. Defense counsel contended that following the August 2010 motor vehicle accident in question, a qualified medical examiner evaluated Williams in October 2010 and reported that she should be on permanent modified work, with restrictions from very heavy lifting and heavy lifting on a repetitive basis, which was consistent with the right-upper-extremity work restrictions made by another physician. Counsel also contended that Williams’ 2009 work injury was resolved by compromise and that the plaintiff was released with an 8 percent whole-person impairment relative to her right shoulder. In addition, defense counsel contended that as a result, Williams was advised of her right to receive ‘supplemental job displacement benefits,’ but that it appeared that she never took advantage of the benefits for employment retraining.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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