Case details

Plaintiff was intoxicated prior to entering taxi, driver claimed





Result type

Not present

back, knee, lower back
On May 22, 2010, plaintiff Joshua Teagarden, 24, an executive assistant at a talent agency, was waiting to enter the rear passenger seat of a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria taxi, operated by Manuk Mkhitaryan, after two of Teagarden’s friends had already entered the vehicle. He claimed that before he was able to enter the vehicle, Mkhitaryan ran over the heel of his right foot, causing him to fall down in the street. There were no independent witnesses and no police report was prepared on the incident. Teagarden sued Mkhitaryan and the owner of the taxi, Harout Dagesian, who was operating under the umbrella of the Independent Taxi Owners Association of Los Angeles. Teagarden alleged that Mkhitaryan was negligent in the operation of the taxi and that the Taxi Owners Association was vicariously liable for Mkhitaryan’s actions. Teagarden claimed that while he was waiting to enter the rear passenger seat of the taxi, Mkhitaryan drove forward, running over the heel of his foot and causing him to fall into the street. Mkhitaryan denied driving over Teagarden’s heel and claimed that the transmission of his taxi was in park the entire time. Mkhitaryan also claimed that Teagarden was intoxicated. Defense counsel noted that following the incident, Mkhitaryan drove Teagarden and his friends to a bar, where Teagarden admitted he stayed for one or two hours and drank “a couple of beers.”, Teagarden claimed he sustained soft-tissue to his right knee, right heel and lower back. No paramedics were summoned to the scene after the alleged accident and Teagarden was initially examined by his treating expert physician, who referred him for physical therapy. Teagarden subsequently received therapy on 19 occasions over a two month period, consisting of electrical stimulation and exercises. He also underwent an MRI of his right knee, the results of which were normal. Teagarden was given five follow-up examinations by his treating expert physician during the course of his therapy. Teagarden had no residual complaints after four to five months and he did not make a claim for any loss of earnings. However, he claimed his medical costs were $2,200 for the examinations with his treating expert physician, $3,510 for the physical therapy treatment and $1,430 for the MRI of his knee. The plaintiff’s expert and treating physician testified to the medical services rendered to Teagarden, and opined that the charges given thereafter were reasonable and necessary. The defense’s medical expert testified that most of the medical services rendered to Teagarden were neither reasonable nor necessary, and that the charges were excessive. The expert also testified that there was no indication for an MRI of Teagarden’s knee.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Torrance, CA

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