Case details

Plaintiff never recovered from previous pelvic injury: defense





Result type

Not present

nerve damage, neurological, neuropathy
On Dec. 3, 2014, plaintiff Keren Farley, 37, was driving west on Avenue 384, in Kingsburg, when she stopped at the intersection with Road 8, which had a four-way stop. As she entered the intersection, the passenger side of her sport utility vehicle was broadsided by a vehicle operated by Pedro Bautista, who entered the intersection from southbound Road 8. Farley’s vehicle spun around and safely came to rest, while Bautista’s vehicle went into a fence. Bautista then tried to reverse out of the fence, but as he accelerated, his vehicle again struck Farley’s vehicle, this time on the driver’s side. Farley claimed to her pelvis. Farley sued Pedro Bautista and the registered owner of the vehicle, Saul Bautista. Farley alleged that Pedro Bautista was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Saul Bautista was vicariously liable for Pedro Bautista’s actions. Saul Bautista was ultimately dismissed from the case. Farley claimed that she stopped for her stop sign on Avenue 384 prior to pulling into the intersection, but that Pedro Bautista failed to stop for his stop sign on Road 8. She also claimed that Bautista was negligent for striking her vehicle a second time. Pedro Bautista admitted liability for the accident., Farley claimed that she was an eggshell plaintiff and that the subject collision re-aggravated a prior injury that she suffered while previously giving birth. Specifically, 18 months before the subject motor vehicle accident, Farley suffered a stretch injury to the sacral plexus, the network of nerves formed by the lumbosacral trunk (at L4 and L5) and sacral spinal nerves (at S1-2, S2-3 and S3-4), when she gave birth to her fourth child. The nerves from the sacral plexus area also are associated with female reproductive organs and the bladder. Farley claimed that her prior injury had resolved prior to the subject collision, as she was able to give birth to her fifth child. However, she claimed that the subject collision re-aggravated her pre-existing injury. As a result, Farley was taken to a hospital after the motor vehicle accident. Farley claimed that she now has numbness to her female reproductive organs, a loss of sensation during sexual relations and an inability to know when her bladder is full, resulting in a loss of bladder control. The plaintiff’s urogynecology expert opined that Farley has numbness to her female reproductive organs as a result of the crash. The expert opined that the collision’s impact caused Farley’s pelvic organs to shift, causing a stretch injury to the sacral plexus with resulting nerve damage. The expert further opined that since Farley’s nerves were previously injured, the nerves would not be able to recover from re-injury, causing Farley to be permanently numb. The plaintiff’s urogynecology expert and treating urology physician both testified about Farley’s issues with her bladder and the inability to feel when her bladder is full. As Farley’s medical costs were mostly paid by insurance, she only sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Her husband, Jonathan Farley, sought recovery for his loss of consortium based on reduced sexual relations due to his wife’s injury. Defense counsel denied that Ms. Farley recovered from her pre-existing injury. The defense’s OB-GYN expert opined that Ms. Farley did not recover from the prior nerve injury, which she sustained during the delivery of her fourth child, and that none of Ms. Farley’s medical records showed a total recovery prior to the subject motor vehicle accident. Defense counsel noted the Farleys rejected Pedro Bautista’s full policy limits offer, and claimed that the policy was open.
Superior Court of Fresno County, Fresno, CA

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