Type of action: Personal injury, auto accident
Injuries alleged: Crushed urethra; bulbar urethral stricture
Name of case: Perkins v. Brown
Court: Lynchburg Circuit Court
Case no.: CL15000979-00
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge or mediator: Judge F. Patrick Yeatts
Date resolved: 8/27/2021
Special damages: $22,413.42
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorney for plaintiff (and city): James B. Feinman, Lynchburg
Description of case: Plaintiff Andrew Perkins was injured on Dec. 10, 2014, in a head-on collision with defendant David Brown.
Witnesses testified Brown was travelling west after dark on Timberlake Road with his lights off. Perkins was making a left turn onto Enterprise Drive and could not see Brown’s unlit black SUV. An expert witness toxicologist testified Brown’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.20% at the time of the accident, which is two and a half times the legal limit of 0.08%.
Perkins suffered a crushed urethra, leaving him with a permanent urinary tract impairment. He had more than $22,000 in medical bills.
Brown had three DWI convictions since 2014 and his license was suspended at the time of this accident for driving while intoxicated.
The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $500,000 compensatory damages and $500,000 punitive damages. Upon hearing the verdict, the defendant’s counsel moved to reduce the compensatory damages award to $300,000 to comport with the ad damnum clause. The court also reduced the punitive damages award to $350,000 to comport with the ad damnum and the statutory limit on punitive damages.
James B. Feinman, Perkins’ attorney, explained to him that the court had reduced the verdict, and this was proper under the law. Feinman explained to the plaintiff that there was only $250,000 in insurance coverage, but that he would attempt to make State Farm pay the entire $650,000 judgment. The plaintiff understood and agreed to this course of action.
Feinman made demand on State Farm to pay the entire judgment of $650,000. State Farm had never made a policy limits offer to protect its insured, and only offered $90,000 shortly before trial.
Within one week State Farm agreed to pay the full $650,000 judgment with post-judgment interest. Upon informing the plaintiff, the plaintiff refused to accept it. His view was that “the jury awarded me $1 million, and I will not accept a penny less.” The plaintiff refused to endorse the settlement check.
Feinman consulted the Virginia State Bar and received input on how to proceed. At the conclusion of a hearing the plaintiff agreed to endorse the check satisfying the judgment and the case was resolved.[021-T-172]