Case details

Plaintiff: Electric cart accident led to symptomatic arthritis





Result type

Not present

ankle, distal fibula, fracture
On June 20, 2010, plaintiff David Dawson, 51, a stage hand, was working at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles when his right leg was struck in the calf area by an out of control electric cart. As a result, his right leg’s fibula was fractured. Dawson sued Patina Restaurant Group LLC, which handled all the concessions for all of the catering service at the Hollywood Bowl, and Jeff Roter, who was in the electric cart. Dawson claimed that Roter was negligent in causing the cart to lunge forward and strike him. Roter testified that he jumped in the electric cart, on the passenger side, and accidentally hit the accelerator pedal. Thus, the defendants admitted liability., Dawson claimed that his right leg was struck below the knee and above the ankle, in the calf area, causing contusions and a fracture of the distal fibula. He was subsequently taken to a hospital and released later that day with his foot and ankle in a soft shoe brace. A week later, Dawson presented to his employer’s industrial clinic and was eventually referred to his treating orthopedics expert. Dawson claimed that his fibula fracture healed after six weeks, but that he suffers from ongoing pain to his right foot and ankle joint. He alleged that pre-accident, he suffered from degenerative arthritis that was asymptomatic, but that after the accident, he suffers from degenerative and post-traumatic arthritis in his foot and ankle, which cause him pain and disability. Thus, he claimed that he was able to return to work as a stage hand after six weeks, but that he now works fewer hours to reduce the stress on his foot and ankle joints. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert calculated the force on Dawson’s body from the collision and opined that it was substantial. The plaintiff’s treating orthopedics expert opined that Dawson’s ongoing ankle and foot problems were caused by the subject accident. The orthopedics expert also opined that in four to five years, Dawson will need a foot and ankle fusion, which will result in an inability to continue his profession as a stage hand. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Dawson’s residual , as well as his economic loss. The defense’s orthopedics expert testified that the subject accident caused Dawson’s fibula fracture, which healed completely in six weeks, but that Dawson’s foot and ankle joint pain problems are not related to the subject accident. Instead, the expert opined that Dawson’s joint pain complaints are all due to his pre-existing, degenerative arthritis.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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