Case details

Plaintiff claimed injuries due to intersection crash




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

carpal tunnel syndrome shoulder, wrist
At around 11 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2013, plaintiff William LaPointe, 58, an unemployed disabled man, was driving south on Frazee Road, in San Diego. As he entered the intersection with Hazard Center Drive, his vehicle collided with the front, passenger corner of a vehicle operated by Joseph Phillips, who was making a left turn from Hazard Center Drive. LaPointe claimed to his left shoulder, left wrist, and right foot. LaPointe sued Phillips, alleging that Phillips was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The matter proceeded to mediation. However, due to Phillips’ insurer allegedly refusing to tender its policy limit when initially demanded, LaPointe’s participation in the mediation was contingent upon the defense agreeing to pay for the mediation. LaPointe claimed he had a green light and that Phillips drove against a red arrow, into his path of travel, causing the head-on collision. Phillips claimed that LaPointe ran a red light and caused the collision. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that during depositions, Phillips was unable to recall much of the collision, including the fact that his vehicle hit a third vehicle after the collision with LaPointe., The airbags in LaPointe’s vehicle deployed from the force of the impact, bruising his left arm. LaPointe claimed that he sustained a rotator cuff tear of his left shoulder, and fractures of the calcaneus and cuboid of his right foot. He also claimed he developed traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome in his left wrist as a result of the collision. LaPointe was subsequently transported by ambulance to Sharp Memorial Hospital, in San Diego. He thereafter returned home to Arkansas, where he underwent two surgeries, including a combined rotator cuff surgery on his left shoulder and carpal tunnel release on his left wrist, which were performed seven months after the collision, on May 21, 2014. He also underwent a surgery, which required the use of internal fixation hardware, on his right foot to treat the calcaneocuboid fracture nine months after the collision, on July 29, 2014. LaPointe claimed that despite both surgeries, he continues to experience every day pain in his right foot and left shoulder. He alleged that his right foot pain is exacerbated by the fact that he wears a left leg prosthesis from a below-the-knee amputation during his youth. Thus, LaPointe claimed that as a result of the 2013 accident, he has been required to bear more weight on his left leg, resulting in painful swelling and sores where his left leg prosthesis attaches. He also alleged that he may require future surgery to remove the metal plate in his foot, which will require him to be in a cast or boot for a minimum of six weeks post-operatively. Thus, LaPointe sought recovery of $30,241.12 in past medical costs and $20,000 in future medical costs for the possible future surgery. He did not seek recovery for any lost wages, but sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. In addition, his wife, Cynthia LaPointe, presented a derivative claim, seeking recovery for her loss of consortium. Defense counsel contended that Mr. LaPointe did not sustain a foot fracture from the subject collision and that Mr. LaPointe’s symptoms were due to degenerative arthritis caused by years of favoring the right foot after his left foot amputation at age 12. Counsel also contended that the carpal tunnel release surgery was unrelated to the collision and, instead, was due to chronic stress on the joint.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case