Case details

Plaintiff: Van struck shoulder after entering construction zone





Result type

Not present

decreased range of motion, left shoulder, rotator cuff, shoulder, tear
On Sept. 1, 2010, plaintiff Kenneth Dent, 42, a construction laborer employed by Ghilotti Brothers Construction, was working on a repaving and beautification project on Bush Street, just east of Laguna Street, in San Francisco. At approximately 9:30 a.m., a Marin Cleaners van operated by Robert Brigham, traveling eastbound on Bush Street, allegedly crossed into the construction zone. Dent claimed he was struck on the left shoulder by the van’s passenger side mirror, causing a torn rotator cuff of his left shoulder. Brigham’s van did not stop at the scene, but Dent identified it as a Marin Cleaners vehicle. Dent sued Brigham and Marin Cleaners. Dent alleged that Brigham was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Marin Cleaners was vicariously liable for Brigham’s actions since Brigham was working in the course and scope of his employment. Dent contended that the southernmost lane of eastbound Bush Street was coned off as a construction zone, while the other two lanes were used as thruways. He claimed that Brigham traveled into the southbound lane, which caused the contact between the van’s passenger side mirror and his left shoulder. Brigham claimed Dent was negligent for turning his back to oncoming traffic., Dent’s supervisor took him to a Kaiser emergency room on the date of the incident. Two months later, Dent was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff in his left, non-dominant shoulder, for which he initially treated conservatively with physical therapy and a steroid injection. However, Dent claimed conservative treatment did not remedy his condition and he ultimately underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Dec. 18, 2010. He then followed up with post-surgical physical therapy. Dent claimed he did not have a good result from his surgery and developed adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder). He alleged he tried to work for six months following the accident on limited duty, but could not perform his duties and had to quit his job as a construction laborer. However, Dent claimed he might return to work as a non-emergency dispatcher. He further claimed he is now physically limited due to decreased range of motion and discomfort in his left shoulder, which has limited him from household repairs and other physical activity. Thus, Dent sought recovery of $31,146.48 in past medical costs, $185,251 in past lost earnings, $397,721.85 in future lost earnings, and roughly $750,000 in damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that all of Dent’s complaints regarding his left shoulder were due to pre-existing wear and tear caused by many years working as a construction laborer.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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