Schwarz v. Maguire
PS Partners/Associate: Gary E. Snodgrass, Partner and Deanna J. Brady, Associate
We represented: Marilyn Maguire
Venue: St. Louis City Circuit Court
Plaintiff Paul Schwarz was stopped on his 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster Motorcycle at the intersection of Vandeventer and Boyle in the City of St. Louis on October 14, 2008. The defendant Marilyn Maguire stopped her 1992 Honda Accord behind plaintiff’s motorcycle. Both were waiting on Boyle to turn right, or southbound, onto Vandeventer.
According to plaintiff, he rolled his motorcycle forward about ten feet to get a better look at oncoming traffic and stopped. The defendant believed plaintiff was turning onto Vandeventer and removed her foot from the brake and did not touch the accelerator. She did not see plaintiff’s motorcycle stop and she impacted the rear of plaintiff’s motorcycle. Plaintiff claimed the impact pushed his motorcycle across two lanes of travel into the center of the intersection. Neither plaintiff nor the motorcycle fell to the ground. Defendant claimed the motorcycle only moved forward two to three feet.
Plaintiff did not make any complaints of injury at the scene of the accident; however, he claims he felt pain in his neck later that evening. The following day, plaintiff treated with a massage therapist. He received four treatments over the course of one month, with total charges in the amount of $180.00.
Three months later, plaintiff saw his primary care physician, Dr. Fischer, who ordered an MRI. The MRI revealed a herniated disc at C5-6 that was possibly touching the spinal cord. About one month later, plaintiff saw an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Mirkin, who discussed conservative treatments and surgery. Plaintiff was not interested in conservative treatment and he underwent fusion surgery of his neck at the C5-6 level on July 16, 2009. Dr. Mirkin testified via videotaped deposition that the herniated disc he treated was a direct result of the motor vehicle accident. Plaintiff did not receive any other treatment and his medical expenses totaled $79,791.98, of which $20,938.71 was actually paid. The remainder was written-off or adjusted with no further obligation on plaintiff’s part to repay the balance.
Defendant’s orthopedic expert, Dr. Marvin Mishkin, testified via videotaped deposition that plaintiff’s herniated disc was the result of degenerative disc disease and was not caused by the accident, and therefore, the fusion surgery was not caused by or related to the accident. Defendant’s biomechanical engineer expert, Doug Morr, testified live at trial that the acceleration plaintiff would have felt upon impact would be comparable to walking down stairs or plopping on a chair. He did not find any forces that could have caused any significant cervical injury. At most, plaintiff would have suffered a minor cervical sprain or strain in the impact.
The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $400.00. Prior to trial, the parties entered into a high/low agreement in the amount of $30,000.00/$100,000.00. Therefore, judgment was entered in the amount of $30,000.00 in favor of plaintiffs.
Last Demand: $75,000
Last Offer: $30,000.00. Plaintiffs rejected $30,000.00, but agreed to a high-low of $30,000.00 to $100,000.00
Verdict: Plaintiff $400.00