Case details

Plaintiff claimed lumbar injury from multiple vehicle accident





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, herniated disc, lumbar
On June 1, 2010, at approximately 8 a.m., plaintiff Demel Franklin, 35, a maintenance/construction worker for the Los Angeles County Sanitation District, was driving his pickup truck on eastbound Florence Avenue in Bell Gardens when he enter the intersection with Eastern Avenue and was broadsided by a station wagon operated by Manuel Garcia Amaya, who was traveling on southbound Eastern Avenue. Franklin was then broadsided by another pickup truck, this one operated by Daniel Hernandez on eastbound Florence Avenue. Franklin claimed he injured his lower back in the accident. Franklin sued Amaya; Hernandez; the owner of Hernandez’s truck and Hernandez’s employer, Mission Beverage Co.; and the parent company that leased the truck to Mission Beverage, Topa Berkeley Ltd. Franklin alleged Amaya and Hernandez were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles, and that Mission Beverage and Topa Berkeley were vicariously liable for Hernandez’s actions since he was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. Franklin claimed that he entered the intersection on a green light and that Amaya ran a red light, causing the initial broadside collision. He further claimed that Hernandez was following too close behind him in lane one on eastbound Florence Avenue, causing in the second collision. Amaya claimed that he entered the intersection on a yellow light, and therefore had the right of way and was not liable. Hernandez claimed that he was traveling in lane three, and not lane one, on eastbound Florence Avenue and that Franklin’s vehicle was pushed into his path. Thus, Hernandez, Mission Beverage and Topa Berkeley claimed they were not liable for the second collision., Franklin was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room. He was diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation at the L5-S1 level, which he claimed was either caused or aggravated by the subject accident. He ultimately underwent a microdiscectomy on Feb. 18, 2011. Franklin claimed the surgery did not resolve his condition and on Jan. 16, 2013, he underwent a lumbar fusion at L5-S1. He also received physical therapy throughout his treatment and recovery. Franklin claimed he still experiences pain and radicular symptoms, and has been unable to work since the accident. He further claimed difficulty with other activities and hobbies, such as coaching football. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Franklin $1.8 million in economic damages and an unspecified amount for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed Franklin’s alleged and damages. Counsel argued that Franklin treated excessively for minor soft-tissue and that Franklin was fully healed with no residuals.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Pomona, CA

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