46-year-old Christie Wilson was injured in a rear-end collision on February 19, 2015. She suffered neck and low back strains. As a result of her physical limitations, she was unable to begin a specialty shoe sales position at SAS shoes. The owner of the company had agreed to a salary of $150,000. At trial, plaintiff waived her $12,000 in past medical specials, which was mostly chiropractic care. She claimed $594,623 in past and future lost income and $100,000 in general damages. Plaintiff called Todd Simpson, D.C. of Brea. He saw plaintiff on 53 visits over 9 months. He testified her pain was chronic and that his care did not totally resolve her injuries. Plaintiff called economist David Fractor, Ph.D. to provide opinions about the lost job opportunity and the offset earnings. His calculations were used by the court in determining the verdict.
The defendant disputed the entire lost earnings claim. Defense orthopedic surgeon Daniel Kaplan, M.D. (La Habra) testified that plaintiff had soft-tissue injuries that should have resolved within weeks of the collision and that the only reasonable care would have been 8-10 physical therapy visits and home exercise. Defense CPA, Alan Lurie, testified he did not believe there was any lost income because he did not have enough documentation to allow him to evaluate the claim. He further contended that he believed that SAS shoes could not afford to pay the claimed $150,000 salary.
Defense counsel waived jury the morning of trial. Following a 3-day bench trial in Orange County, Pamela S. Liosi and Eric V. Traut of the Traut Firm obtained a verdict of $669,623.
The pre-trial offer from Allstate was $10,000 and in closing, defense counsel asked that the judge award only that amount. Plaintiff served a C.C.P. § 998 for $100,000, which Allstate allowed to lapse. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge awarded plaintiff $75,000 in general damages and $594,623 in loss of income.
The defendant’s policy with Allstate policy $1 million. With interest and costs, the verdict will exceed $700,000.
Eric is set to receive the incredible honor of the Orange County Chapter of American Board of Trial Advocates's Joseph McNeil Civility and Professionalism Award. This award is given to a member whose integrity, civility and professionalism inspires trust among counsel and clients, and promotes respect for the profession. Eric will be given the award at the Installation Dinner in January 2018.
Eric will speak at the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel's 57th Annual Seminar on a panel comprised of a mediators, a plaintiff attorney, a defense attorney, and potentially Judge Helen Bendix with the LASC settlement program. Eric will present the plaintiff’s perspective on this issue.
Eric spoke at Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles insurance bad faith issues panel for CAALA Vegas 2017, known as the nations largest trial lawyer convention. Eric spoke on the topic of "Handling UM/UIM Claims and Spotting Bad Faith Issues" in front of a large audience.
Eric was recognized in last month's Orange County Attorney Journal for chairing the College of Trial Advocacy!
Thanks to the amazing reviews from his satisfied clients, Eric has received the Avvo Clients' Choice Award! This award only comes from positive reviews from clients!
Eric was featured in Orange County Attorney Journal for his chairing the College of Trial Advocacy last month!