Case details

Plaintiff entered intersection on red light, defense argued





Result type

Not present

eye injuries, lower back, neck
At around 1 a.m. on March 10, 2013, plaintiff Alicia Corrao, 35, a general manager of Selma’s Pizzeria, was driving home from work, traveling on westbound Cecil Pasture Road, in Ladera Ranch, when she stopped for a red light at its intersection with Crown Valley Parkway. As she pulled into the intersection to begin her left turn, she was broadsided on the driver’s side by a shuttle van operated by Homayoon Joudathasselghobi, who was in the course and scope of his employment with Prime Time Shuttle Inc. The impact caused Corrao’s vehicle to be pushed over 100 feet down the roadway. There were no witnesses to the accident. Corrao claimed to her back. Corrao sued Joudathasselghobi and Prime Time Shuttle Inc. Corrao alleged that Joudathasselghobi was negligent in the operation of the shuttle van and that Prime Time was vicariously liable for its employee’s actions. Red Vans Management Services Inc. and Rideshare Port Management, LLC, were mistakenly identified as owners of Joudathasselghobi’s shuttle van. The entities were ultimately dismissed from the case prior to trial for a waiver of costs. The matter then proceeded to trial against Joudathasselghobi and Prime Time Shuttle only. Corrao claimed that she began her turn when her left turn arrow turned green. Thus, she claimed that Joudathasselghobi was negligent for running a red light and speeding. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the physical evidence showed that Joudathasselghobi was traveling at 55 mph and, thus, was speeding before the collision. He further opined that the light sequence timing charts showed that Corrao had a green light and that Joudathasselghobi had a red light at the time of the collision. Defense counsel argued that before the collision, Joudathasselghobi was northbound on Crown Valley Parkway, traveling at about 45 mph. Joudathasselghobi asserted that as he approached the subject intersection, he had the green light and that Corrao pulled out into the intersection against a red light. He also alleged that he slammed on his brakes and swerved, but that his van struck Corrao’s vehicle at 40 mph (which was agreed upon). The defense’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the physical evidence did not support the argument that Joudathasselghobi was speeding before the collision. He also opined that the light sequence timing charts did not answer the question of who had the green light, contrary to the opinion of the plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert., Corrao was taken by ambulance to Mission Hospital, in Mission Viejo, where she was treated for neck, back and eye . Over the next two years, Corrao underwent MRIs of her neck and back, and she received chiropractic care for her neck and back, and epidural injections for her back. She ultimately underwent a discogram, which revealed an L5-S1 protrusion that irritated the nerve root. Corrao subsequently underwent a microdiscectomy at L5-S1 on June 5, 2014. Corrao claimed that she missed one year of work from November 2013 to November 2014. She also claimed that she still suffers from lower back pain and that as a result, she was recommended for a future two-level fusion at L4-5 and L5-S1. Thus, Corrao sought recovery of $912,500 in total damages, which included past medical bills of $193,500, future medical bills of $225,000, past lost earnings of $44,000, past pain and suffering damages of $150,000, and future pain and suffering damages of $300,000. Defense counsel argued that Corrao’s lower back condition was degenerative and that it became symptomatic as a result of a sideswipe motor vehicle accident that occurred two months before the subject accident. However, Corrao and her treating doctors denied this. The defense’s orthopedic expert acknowledged that Corrao’s emergency care and 16 weeks of chiropractic care were reasonable and necessary, but opined that all of Corrao’s other medical care was unrelated to the subject accident. Thus, the expert suggested that only $16,600 of Corrao’s past medical care was related to the subject accident. In addition, the defense expert opined that Corrao would not need a future fusion surgery. Defense counsel argued that Corrao’s one year of missed work was likewise unrelated to the subject accident. Thus, defense counsel suggested that Corrao’s damages only totaled $66,600, which included $16,600 in past medical bills and $50,000 in damages for Corrao’s past pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Orange County, Orange, CA

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