Case details

Plaintiff claimed employer liable for employee’s head-on crash





Result type

Not present

ankle, anxiety, brain, brain damage, brain injury, cognition, depression, dislocation, face, facial, facial laceration, fracture, impairment, mental, nose, psychological, traumatic brain injury
On Oct. 12, 2016, plaintiff Delia Flores, 58, a medical coder, was driving on the eastbound side of Edison Avenue, a two-lane highway in San Bernardino County. When Flores was east of the intersection with Walker Avenue, her mid-size vehicle was struck head-on by a vehicle operated by Lewis Rocchetti, who had moved from westbound Edison Avenue into the eastbound lane in an attempt to pass a westbound 18-wheel tractor-trailer that was operated by Juan Ayala Roman. Flores sustained to her head, face, a knee, abdomen, a finger, pelvis, internal organs and an ankle. Flores sued Rocchetti; Rocchetti’s employer, ConvergeOne Inc.; Roman; and the owner of Roman’s tractor-trailer, Esteves Logistics Corp. Flores alleged that Rocchetti and Roman were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. Flores also alleged that ConvergeOne was vicariously liable for Rocchetti’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment and that Esteves Logistics was vicariously liable for Roman’s actions. The matter ultimately continued against ConvergeOne only. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that Rocchetti was driving home from work at the time of the accident. However, counsel contended that Rocchetti was an exempt employee who was given a cellphone and laptop so that ConvergeOne could get in touch with him when he was not in the office. Counsel also contended that when Rocchetti was hired, he was told that travel would be less than 10 percent of his job responsibilities. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that Rocchetti traveled off-site three different times during the 11 months he worked for ConvergeOne and that whenever Rocchetti traveled off-site, ConvergeOne reimbursed him for mileage. Accordingly, plaintiff’s counsel argued that the vehicle use exception to the “coming and going” rule applied, as ConvergeOne received a benefit from Rocchetti having his car at work and readily available in case he needed to drive to a client’s site. ConvergeOne’s counsel argued that Rocchetti was not in the course and scope of his job at the time of the accident, as Rocchetti only used his vehicle three times in close to 11 months. Counsel contended that on two of those instances, Rocchetti volunteered to travel to a client’s site and that on the third instance, it was pre-planned., Flores sustained a bimalleolar fracture and an open talar fracture with dislocation to her right ankle. She also sustained a distal fibula fracture to the left ankle, a fracture of the inferior wall of the right orbit, facial lacerations, and a traumatic brain injury. In addition, she sustained a right pelvic fracture with abdominal bleeding and other internal . Flores was immediately taken to a hospital, where a ring finger was partially amputated surgically. On Oct. 13, 2016, one day after the accident, Flores underwent surgery on her left ankle, right eye and left knee. The next day, she underwent an abdominal wound closure. On Oct. 18, 2016, Flores underwent surgery on her right ankle. She then underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery on the right tibia on Oct. 21, 2016, and a surgical repair of the right orbital floor fracture on Oct. 26, 2016. In addition, she underwent irrigation and debridement of the right ankle on Nov. 17, 2016, a total knee replacement on Nov. 14, 2018. Flores also underwent both in-patient and out-patient physical therapy, and both in-patient and out-patient occupational therapy. Flores claimed that as a result of her traumatic brain injury, she suffers from cognitive impairment, depression and anxiety. She alleged that as a result, she was unable to return to work and requires supervision, care and assistance, such as at-home care and/or skilled nursing care. In addition, Flores claimed that she requires additional medical treatment, including a future ankle fusion. Flores sought recovery of $718,589 in past medical costs, $82,874 in past lost earnings and $1,189,096 in future medical costs. She also sought recovery of an unspecified amount of damages for her past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

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