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Driver hurt in John Doe crash gets punitives — $250,000 verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//May 18, 2020

Driver hurt in John Doe crash gets punitives — $250,000 verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//May 18, 2020

This was a John Doe case. The John Doe defendant driver came upon plaintiff’s vehicle, in which he was traveling as a passenger on Interstate 664, from the rear. John Doe was weaving in and out of traffic and cut off plaintiff’s vehicle by approximately two feet. John Doe was driving at full highway speed and immediately slammed on his brakes, thus leading to a collision during which plaintiff’s vehicle slid and overturned on the median.

The property damage was significant and plaintiff broke his collarbone in the crash. After being taken to the emergency room, plaintiff’s shoulder was immobilized in a sling; the bone mostly healed in approximately eight weeks.

Two years after the collision, plaintiff continued experiencing shoulder pain several times a month. Plaintiff’s counsel chose not to introduce into evidence medical specials of around $1,700.

Plaintiff demanded compensatory and punitive damages and successfully argued that “brake checking” was willful and wanton conduct, which warranted the jury’s consideration of punitive damages. This argument survived demurrer, a motion in limine and a motion to strike.

After deliberating for about an hour, the jury returned a verdict of $80,000 in compensatory damages and $170,000 in punitive damages, with interest from the date of the injury.

Type of action: Auto accident
Injuries alleged: Mildly displaced clavicle fracture
Name of case: Orsetti v. Doe
Court: Virginia Beach Circuit
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge: Judge Frucci
Date resolved: 03/04/2020
Special damages: Medical bills not submitted; lost wages of $7000 submitted to the jury.
Offer: $25,000
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $250,000
Attorney for plaintiff: Edwin S. Booth, Virginia Beach
Plaintiff’s experts: Dr. Eric Neff
Defendant’s experts: N/A
Insurance carrier: GEICO


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