Case details

Plaintiff claimed unsafe turn caused wrist fracture





Result type

Not present

fracture, shoulder, wrist
On May 5, 2011, plaintiff Emanuele Secci, 43, a video editor for CBS News and a concert pianist, was riding his motorcycle on westbound Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. At approximately 10:45 p.m., while crossing the intersection with Laurel Avenue, Secci crashed into the front, passenger side of a taxicab operated by Aram Tonakanian, who was attempting a left turn from eastbound Santa Monica Boulevard onto northbound Laurel Avenue. Secci claimed to his left wrist, left heel, and right shoulder. Secci sued Tonakanian; the believed owner of the taxi, Arnold Nikogosyan; and Tonakanian’s employer, United Independent Taxi Drivers Inc. Secci alleged that Tonakanian was negligent in the operation of the vehicle and that Nikogosyan and United Independent Taxi Drivers were vicariously liable for Tonakanian’s actions. Although Nikogosyan was the registered owner of the taxi, he was ultimately dismissed from the case after it was discovered that he had sold the car to Tonakanian before the accident. United Taxi of the South-West was also added to the complaint, but it was never served. In addition, Tonakanian agreed to tender his $100,000 policy limits and was let out of the case. Thus, Secci proceeded to trial against United Independent Taxi Drivers only on the claim that it was liable for Tonakanian’s actions because he was an agent of the company. Secci claimed that he was traveling straight on a green light and that Tonakanian attempted an unsafe left turn in front of him. Thus, he claimed that Tonakanian failed to yield to oncoming traffic at the subject intersection. United Independent Taxi Drivers claimed that Secci was at fault for the accident. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert opined that Secci was inattentive as he approached the subject intersection and that Secci could have avoided the collision. United Independent Taxi Drivers also claimed that it was not responsible for the acts of Tonakanian, as Tonakanian was not an employee, but, rather, an independent contractor that drove a taxi for United Taxi of the South-West, a separate corporation., Secci sustained a fracture of the left wrist and bruises to his left heel and right shoulder. He also claimed he was dazed and confused following the accident. As a result, Secci was taken by ambulance to an emergency room and on May 10, 2011, he underwent open reduction with internal fixation on his left wrist. He then treated with physical therapy through August 2011. Secci claimed residual pain and discomfort in his left wrist with limited range of motion. He alleged that as a result, he now very limited in performing as a concert pianist since he can no longer play a lot of pieces. Thus, Secci sought recovery of $33,999 in past medical costs, $67,998 in damages for his past pain and suffering, and $335,000 for his future pain and suffering. Counsel for United Independent Taxi Drivers contended that Secci overtreated with physical therapy. Counsel also contended that Secci had not received medical treatment for 2.5 years, despite complaining of residual wrist pain.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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