Type of action: Personal injury
Injuries alleged: Traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, pituitary gland injury, secondary post-traumatic hydrocephalus, post-traumatic hypersomnia, musculoskeletal back and neck pain
Name of case: McKenzie v. Ikefuna and The City of Charlottesville
Court: Charlottesville Circuit Court
Case no.: CL20-98
Tried before: Mediation
Name of judge or mediator: Michael E. Harman
Date resolved: 11/17/2022
Special damages: $220,000 in past medical expenses
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Jonathan T. Wren and Robert E. Byrne Jr., Charlottesville; Kevin W. Mottley and Benjamin P. Kyber, Richmond
Description of case: The plaintiff was a 54-year-old man who had recently survived a cancer diagnosis after going
through radiation treatments. He had been in remission for a year. On March 15, 2018, he was traversing East Market Street within a clearly marked crosswalk when he was struck by a car owned by the city of Charlottesville and being driven by a city official, who was going to a meeting. A city police officer witnessed the incident and ticketed the city official for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a clearly marked crosswalk. However, in the resulting personal injury case filed by the plaintiff, the city never admitted liability.
The plaintiff initially left the scene of the incident and walked away after declining to be transported to the emergency room in an ambulance. He had been summoned to appear in the Charlottesville General District Court for a return date, and he did not want to miss the court date. However, at court, he experienced nausea, headache and dizziness. After court, he immediately drove himself to the University of Virginia hospital’s emergency room. Over the ensuing days, he experienced classic symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion. He was eventually diagnosed as having suffered a likely concussion by his primary care physician. In the months that followed, the plaintiff developed chronic depression and was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress
disorder by a psychiatrist and a therapist.
The plaintiff’s treating brain injury medicine doctor referred the plaintiff for an evaluation of hydrocephalus, after the plaintiff complained of balance difficulties and incontinence. The plaintiff was examined at VCU Health, where a neurosurgeon diagnosed him as suffering from secondary post-traumatic hydrocephalus from the incident. The neurosurgeon surgically inserted a shunt in the plaintiff’s brain to help with the hydrocephalus symptoms.
The plaintiff was referred to a neuroendocrinologist experienced in the treatment of neuroendocrine disorders following traumatic brain injury. After conducting objective lab studies, the neuroendocrinologist determined that the plaintiff suffered from severe growth hormone deficiency. The specialist concluded the deficiency was most likely caused by a disruption of the pituitary gland’s normal function following the brain injury.
Due to excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue following the injury, the plaintiff was also referred to a pulmonologist and
sleep specialist. After conducting objective sleep studies, the specialist concluded that the plaintiff suffered from post-traumatic hypersomnia, or excessive daytime sleepiness, from the traumatic brain injury.
The plaintiff was unable to continue working in the banking and financial services industries, where he had worked most of his adult life, due to the difficulties he experienced as a result of his various diagnoses.
The plaintiff’s past medical expenses were approximately $220,000. The plaintiff’s life care planner and treating brain injury medicine doctor concluded that his future care needs were likely to be $2-$3 million. It was estimated by the plaintiff that his lost earnings totaled $430,000.
Following a mediation with Michael E. Harman of The McCammon Group, the case settled for $5 million several weeks before trial.
Plaintiff’s counsel Kevin W. Mottley provided case information.[022-T-221]