PERSONAL INJURY                     The defendant disputed the wage loss
           TRUCK v. VAN                      claim contending that the plaintiff was
          Rear-End Collision                 not medically required to retire from the
                                             force, and thereafter did not mitigate his
SETTLEMENT: $450,000                         employment damages.

COURT/DATE: Third District Court,            INJURIES: The plaintiff argued that the
Salt Lake County / January 5, 2004           accident caused a labral tear in the right
                                             shoulder and cervical fusion surgery.
ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff – Reilly                The consequential limitations required
Atkinson (Yuhl, Rhames, Yuhl &               his retirement from the force because he
Atkinson, LLP, Santa Monica).                could no longer handle the physical
                                             requirements for a peace officer. The
Defendant – Peter H. Christensen             plaintiff acknowledged pre-existing
(Strong & Hanni, Salt Lake City, Utah).      shoulder and back symptoms. However
                                             these conditions were minor and could
FACTS & CONTENTIONS: In 1998,                not have required the surgeries or his
the plaintiff, age 55, was driving his       retirement from the force.
pick-up truck and horse trailer outside
Salt Lake City when the trailer was          SPECIALS IN EVIDENCE: MEDS,
violently rear ended by the defendants       $60,000
van. The accident severed the trailer and
slid the plaintiffs truck across the         SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS: Before
freeway resulting in two subsequent          the suit was filed in July 2000, the
collisions. The plaintiff complained of      defendant offered $1250,000 for
right shoulder pain and underwent            settlement. After three years of
shoulder surgery within two months. He       litigation, the defended increased its
experienced progressive radicular            offer to $250,000, with a demand by the
symptoms ultimately requiring a cervical     plaintiff of $790,000. The matter
fusion in 2000. The plaintiff retired from   proceeded to mediation in Las Vegas
the Sheriff’s office in 2001 because of      before Jim Armstrong, in January 2004,
limitations due to the injuries and          resulting in a $450,000 settlement.

The defense argued that the second and
third collisions of the accident caused
the plaintiff’s injures; the plaintiff had
significant pre-existing symptoms and
pathology, including a recommendation
for right shoulder injury before the
accident; the plaintiff’s treating
physicians could not opine that the
accident caused either the shoulder or
cervical injury let alone the surgeries.

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