Rob Blank and Mike Forte Win at Trial in Polk County, Florida
12.29.16Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell attorneys Rob Blank and Mike Forte defended Mid-State Plumbing, Inc. and its employee Gregory Taylor in a motor vehicle personal injury trial in the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Bartow, Polk County, Florida. Plaintiff alleged the right side of her Blazer was struck by the Mid-State van Taylor was driving, causing her Blazer to rollover. Plaintiff was ejected from her Blazer and landed in the roadway. Plaintiff underwent a fusion at her sacroiliac joint; her past medical specials amounted to approximately $250,000. Her surgeon recommended a future lumbar fusion and future cervical fusion at a cost of approximately $200,000 each.
Plaintiff claimed she was wearing her seatbelt, that her injuries occurred in the vehicle and that she came from out of the seatbelt during the rollover. However Blank and Forte proved to the jury that Plaintiff was not wearing her seatbelt, that the seatbelt was fully functional, and that Plaintiff’s injuries were the direct result of blunt force trauma from her ejection into the road due to being unbelted.
During his closing argument, Plaintiff's counsel asked the jury to award Plaintiff total damages in the amount of $2.275 million. Although the jury awarded Plaintiff $250,000 for past medical expenses and $400,000 for future medical expenses, the jury assigned 75% of fault to Plaintiff and only 25% fault to Taylor. The jury also determined Plaintiff did not meet the no fault threshold, and therefore did not award any damages for pain and suffering. Due to Plaintiff’s comparative fault, her net verdict amounted to only $162,500 before setoffs for PIP payments and medical bill write-offs. Defendants served a $350,000 proposal for settlement, entitling them to attorneys’ fees which should result in a judgment in Defendants' favor.