Morrison Mahoney Partner Bridget Lopez and Associate Scott Gilmond recently obtained a favorable verdict after a two-week jury trial in Middlesex Superior Court (Woburn) involving a three-vehicle rear end accident.

Plaintiff alleged that he suffered a traumatic brain injury with resulting cognitive difficulties, headaches, sound sensitivity, and vision sensitivity, as well as PTSD. He alleged the symptoms had persisted for over 4 years following the accident and were expected to be permanent. He called several friends and family members who testified that his functioning was severely limited following the accident.

Plaintiff presented expert testimony from a neurologist and a neuropsychologist that the alleged conditions were related to the accident, and that the conditions were expected to be permanent. He also presented expert testimony from a vocational rehabilitation counselor that he was unable to continue his prior work as an executive producer with his film production company and had a future lost earning capacity worth over six million dollars.

The defense relied upon the plaintiff’s prior medical records, which revealed similar and consistent cognitive complaints over the several years leading up to the accident. Extensive social media evidence of the plaintiff’s activities in the years following the accident, including numerous trips and vacations to Europe and the Caribbean, were also admitted showing that the plaintiff’s activity level was inconsistent with his symptoms.

The defense further called several experts to refute the claims.  Most importantly, the defense neurologist testified that the plaintiff’s presentation on the day of the accident did not support a diagnosis of concussion, as he did not display any altered mental state or amnesia according to the EMS and ER records. Indeed, he was not diagnosed with a concussion at the ER and there was indication that the ER providers specifically looked for evidence of a concussion (at the plaintiff’s request) but ruled it out. Nevertheless, plaintiff self-reported to later providers that he had a concussion, and this diagnosis was subsequently carried through his medical records.

The defense psychiatrist testified that the plaintiff did not suffer from PTSD from this minor accident and that the symptoms of the plaintiff’s pre-existing mental health conditions could mimic the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. Lastly, the defense neuropsychologist testified that the plaintiff gave poor effort on several rounds of neuropsych testing, and that when he gave normal effort, he obtained normal results.

After 8 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict, finding the defendant negligent, but that the negligence did not cause the plaintiff any injury. The jury ultimately ended up agreeing to the carrier’s offer at mediation, which was substantially lower than what plaintiff’s counsel originally requested, resulting in a favorable outcome for both the defendant and the insurer.