This wrongful death case settled at mediation two weeks prior to trial with no offers being made until the mediation. On March 7, 2017, the defendant had a medical event that caused him to cross over the grassy median and strike the decedent’s car head on, resulting in her death. The defendant’s passenger described the defendant becoming unresponsive, turning his head to the left, and shaking prior to impact. Authorities investigated the accident, but did not charge the defendant after concluding that the accident was caused by a sudden medical emergency. The defendant had no history of prior seizures. The defendant had another seizure several weeks after the motor vehicle accident.
After extensive discovery, and work with experts, the plaintiff determined that the defendant’s medical incident was actually an alcohol withdrawal seizure. Plaintiff secured significant information that the defendant did not disclose in written discovery or depositions. The contents of the information are covered by a protective order.
Plaintiff retained several experts including a doctor board-certified in internal medicine and neurology, a board-certified neurologist, a toxicologist, and a psychiatrist who was board-certified in general, addiction and forensic psychiatry. Defendant maintained lack of notice for his sudden medical emergency defense, but was going to have significant credibility issues if the case went to trial. A witness had seen the defendant’s hand trembling about 45 minutes prior to the accident. The decedent was survived by her husband of 40+ years and two adult children. The family was still very close and ultimately came to the conclusion that they wanted to settle the case at mediation.[19-T-055]
Type of action: Wrongful Death – Motor Vehicle Accident
Name of case: Estate of Dorothy Pearson v. Sormanti et. al
Court: Loudoun Circuit Court
Case no.: 109527
Tried before: Mediation
Name of judge or mediator: Hon. Jane Marum Roush (Ret.)
Date resolved: Jan. 16, 2019
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff: Kevin L. Locklin and Brian P. Coleman, Manassas
Plaintiff’s experts: Peter Bernad, MD (neurology and internal medicine), Ruben Cintron, MD (neurology), Alexander Obolsky, MD (General, Addiction, and Forensic Psychiatry), S. Rutherfoord Rose, PharmD (toxicology)
Defendant’s experts: Seth Tuwiner, MD (neurology)
Insurance carrier: Chubb