Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-end crash caused cognitive deficits





Result type

Not present

cognition, concentration, depression, head, headaches neck, impairment, mental, psychological
On March 25, 2015, plaintiff Archie Toribio, 60, a Silicon Valley computer engineer, was driving on an off-ramp for a freeway in the San Jose area when his Corvette was rear-ended by a 1999 Hino truck operated by Kevin McIntosh. The impact caused substantial damage to Toribio’s car, causing him to hit his head on the glass roof and sustained a 2-centimeter laceration. Toribio claimed he also sustained other to his head and a neck injury. Toribio sued McIntosh and the owner of the truck, McIntosh’s employer, California Environmental and Litho Inc., which was in the business of transporting toxic chemicals. Toribio alleged that McIntosh was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that California Environmental and Litho was vicariously liable for McIntosh’s actions. In response to requests for admissions, McIntosh initially denied fault for the crash or being the cause of any alleged injury. However, at deposition, he admitted that he looked away from the roadway and caused the accident. He also admitted that he knew at the scene that Toribio was injured. (McIntosh was videotaped for deposition, and had no explanation as to why his formal written responses were denials of fault and causation.), Toribio sustained a 2-centimeter laceration to his head. He also claimed he suffered soft tissue to his head and neck, as well as suffered from cognitive deficits as a result of the crash. After the accident, Toribio complained of neck pain, nausea, and headaches. He then complained of persisting difficulties with his memory, attention, and concentration. However, all of his brain and neck imaging, and other medical examinations, were negative for any abnormality, so when his pain and memory symptoms persisted for over a year, he became depressed. Toribio claimed he had a brief episode of depression 15 years before the crash, when he underwent heart surgery, but that he otherwise was in full remission as of the date of the crash. Toribio claimed that his cognitive deficits are permanent. He alleged that he returned to work after the accident, but that almost two years later, he had to resign due to chronic neck pain and persistent problems with his memory, attention and concentration. Thus, Toribio sought recovery of $4,800 in past medical costs for the treatment of his head and neck soft-tissue complaints. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Toribio’s wife, Lisa Laun, presented a derivative claim, seeking recovery for her loss of consortium. The defense’s medical experts attributed 100 percent of Toribio’s cognitive deficits to his depression. However, plaintiff’s counsel asserted that Toribio had no depression for a year after the accident and that Toribio didn’t become depressed until he realized his brain injury was permanent. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel claimed that the defense’s neurology expert overreached and that the expert’s opinion was at odds with the factual history. Plaintiff’s counsel also claimed that the defense’s expert neurologist made a particularly bad presentation that lacked authenticity and simply parroted the previous opinion of the plaintiff’s neuropsychology expert.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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