A St. Louis County jury has awarded a $2.5 million verdict to a woman whose car was struck in a T-bone collision by a man pulling out of his driveway.
“It was a damages case,” said Christopher Finney of Finney Injury Law. “The defense denied any negligence, but we got a directed verdict at the close of all the evidence on negligence so that just left damages.”
Finney represented plaintiff Holly Brown, who was injured when John Clifford’s vehicle collided with hers while she was driving home after visiting her grandchildren.
“She had chronic neck pain that developed [and] that she never had before,” said Finney, who introduced testimony from two treating doctors indicating the problems were both permanent and a result of the crash.
Finney said the defense withdrew its medical expert before trial.
He said the defense argued that Brown’s difficulties were age-related degenerative changes and were not as serious as the plaintiff contended. Finney contended that his client now had difficulty with hobbies such as yoga and gardening.
“There was evidence that she did not do the things she used to love to do,” he said.
Finney said no documentation of lost wages or medical bills was submitted, and scans of her neck came back negative for obvious problems. Still, he said he believed the physician testimony was strong.
“I think the case turned on the fact that the jurors understood that there is more to these cases than just medical bills and lost wages,” he said. “They honestly understood that a value under the law in Missouri must be placed on the way someone experiences their life.”
Benjamin Kates of Rouse & Cary represented the defense. He didn’t return a call requesting comment.
$2.5 million verdict
Venue: St. Louis County Circuit Court
Case Number/Date: 17SL-AC26803/Nov. 8, 2018
Judge: Ellen Dunne
Last Pretrial Demand: $300,000
Last Pretrial Offer: $42,089.60
Caption: Holly Brown v. John Clifford
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Christopher J. Finney, Finney Injury Law, Clayton; Craig Schlapprizzi, Law Offices of Donald L. Schlapprizzi, St. Louis
Defendant’s Attorney: Benjamin Kates, Rouse & Cary, St. Louis