On November 13, 2015, Harrison + Hull attorneys Richard Harrison and Matthew Mumm went to trial in the 17th Judicial District Court of Tarrant County, Judge Melody Wilkerson presiding. After a 2.5 day trial, the jury took just one hour to deliberate and award zero damages to the Plaintiff. Below are the details of this trial as furnished by Verdict Search:
Case: William R. Cave v. Carlos Cardenas
Court: 17th Judicial District Court, Tarrant County, Texas
Date: November 13, 2015
Facts of the Case:
On Jan. 31, 2012, Plaintiff William R. Cave was driving a sports utility vehicle south on Hemphill Street in Fort Worth, Texas. Carlos Cardenas, Defendant, was headed northbound on Hemphill Street in a sedan. Both drivers were approaching the Allen Avenue intersection. Cardenas attempted a left turn onto Allen Avenue, and the right front corner of his sedan hit the rear left side of the Plaintiff’s SUV.
Cave sued Cardenas for negligently failing to yield the right of way, failing to keep a proper lookout and making an unsafe left turn. Prior to trial, Cardenas stipulated to liability.
Alleged Injuries and Damages:
Plaintiff claimed aggravation of pre-existing neck, mid-back and lower back problems, including lumbar disc bulges. He went to a chiropractor on Feb. 15 and underwent physical therapy and chiropractic treatment on 10 occasions.
Five weeks later, on April 16, he started treating with a different chiropractor, who treated him more than 30 times. Cave also began treating with a pain management specialist. MRI’s showed disc bulges, and Cave was referred to a spinal surgeon, who recommended a two-level lumbar laminectomy and fusion.
This second chiropractor testified as an expert for the plaintiff, opining that the accident was the cause of Cave’s complaints. Cave sought $44,607 in past medical bills. He also sought damages for future medical bills, past and future physical pain and mental anguish, and past and future physical impairment.
The defense denied that Cave’s symptoms were caused by the accident. Cave was HIV-positive and had been taking medication for it for years. The defense argued that those medications caused neurological damage, which in turn were the cause of Cave’s pain.
Cave denied prior neck and back pain, until the defense introduced medical records showing that he had indeed complained of pain in those areas before the accident.
The defense chiropractic expert opined that, given Cave’s two-week delay in seeking treatment, no causal connection existed between the accident and Cave’s complaints, and Cave’s symptoms after the accident were only a continuation of his prior symptoms. The expert further opined that, regardless of causation, the number of Cave’s chiropractic and physical therapy treatments was excessive.The defense orthopedic expert said he saw no evidence of trauma and that Cave’s HIV and related medication were the more likely causes of his symptoms.
The defense further argued that Cave’s MRls showed desiccation and degenerative conditions, rather than any evidence of trauma. Defense counsel also noted that Cave had undergone a cervical fusion in the past. Defense counsel finally argued that the accident was relatively minor and that the resulting injuries, if any, were limited to minor strains not requiring treatment.