Case details

Plaintiff: Crash-related injuries resulted in army discharge




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

fracture, hip
At around 2:20 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2014, plaintiff Edwin Hallett, 35, a sergeant in the army, was operating his motorcycle north/eastbound on Del Monte Boulevard, in Monterey. As he entered the intersection with Hannon Avenue, his motorcycle struck the front, right wheel area of a Lexus sedan operated by Margaret Johnsen, who was making a left turn from Del Monte Boulevard onto Hannon Avenue. Hallett was subsequently thrown off his motorcycle, and he struck the pavement on the other side of Johnsen’s vehicle. Hallett allegedly sustained to his pelvis, hip, hand and tailbone. Hallett sued Margaret Johnsen and the co-owner of Ms. Johnsen’s vehicle, Rolf Johnsen. Hallett alleged that Ms. Johnsen was negligent in the operation of the Lexus and that Mr. Johnsen was vicariously liable for Ms. Johnsen’s actions. The matter proceeded to mediation. Hallett claimed he could not avoid colliding with Ms. Johnsen’s vehicle, which was making a left turn in front of him. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel asserted that Ms. Johnsen was negligent for making an unsafe and illegal left turn in front of oncoming traffic at the intersection of the roadways. The defendants did not dispute liability at mediation., Hallett sustained multiple pelvic fractures, including a displaced fracture of the right inferior pubic ramus, a fracture of the right anterior acetabular wall, a fractured coccyx, and diastasis (or separation) of the pubic symphysis with multiple bony fragments. He also suffered a large pelvic hematoma, internal bleeding, and a dislocated thumb on his right hand. Hallett was subsequently airlifted from the scene and taken to Regional Medical Center of San Jose, in San Jose. Coil embolization and occlusion of the left pelvic branch off the left, common femoral artery was performed to stop the internal bleeding. Thereafter, closed reduction surgery was performed to close the diastasis of the right sacroiliac joint by placing a 5-inch screw through the joint. The multiple pelvic fractures caused painful instability of the pelvic ring, requiring months of rehabilitation. Hallett claimed his dislocated thumb caused some loss of grip strength in his right, dominant hand. He also claimed that the pelvic trauma had resulted in some degree of erectile dysfunction. However, Hallett continued to be on active duty in the army during his rehabilitation. Although Hallett was ambulatory, an army physical evaluation determined that he would never regain the ability to evade enemy fire again, which made Hallett unfit for service in the army. As a result, Hallett was honorably discharged in January 2016. Hallett claimed that he will have a lifetime of disability and pain in the hips, groin, and pelvic joints and that his unstable pelvis made him unstable on his feet, causing him to have limited mobility and occasionally fall. He also claimed that his pain management requirements made him unemployable. Thus, Hallett sought recovery of $127,251.81 in past medical expenses based on the army’s medical lien and $527,000 in future medical expenses based on his future of pain and orthopedic management, including possible future right hip arthroplasty surgeries. He also sought recovery of at least $986,296 in past wages and benefits, had he continued his successful army career to retirement in 28 years, versus what he is allegedly likely to earn in a new vocation. Additionally, Hallett sought recovery of at least $58,427 in future loss of army retirement benefits. Hallett’s wife, Felicia Bantea (who was initially erroneously named as Felicia “Banetea” in court documents), filed a derivative claim for her alleged loss of consortium, but the claim was dismissed prior to the mediation. Defense counsel disputed the extent and duration of Hallett’s and disability, as well as disputed Hallett’s current and future employability. Defense counsel particularly disputed the need for any further medical treatment or surgery; the reasonableness of past bills; and the amount of future medical expenses, loss of income, and loss of retirement benefits. Counsel further asserted that Hallett was receiving army retirement benefits and disability and that all medical expenses were covered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Superior Court of Monterey County, Monterey, CA

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