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Powell & Espat Important Case Results

Verdict for the Plaintiff Davidson $1,488,000.00, Hillsborough County, Florida

The Defendants were Strawberry Petroleum, Inc. and Arnold Hadel

This case was tried before a jury by Matthew Powell in Hillsborough County Florida with the Honorable Circuit Court Judge Sam Pendino

This was a motor vehicle crash between a semi tanker truck and a pick up truck. The plaintiff was rear ended by the semi, and pushed into another semi stopped ahead. There was no loss of consciousness by the plaintiff. Prior to the crash, the plaintiff had virtually no prior wage history. He was a self employed handy man who worked at his families day care center.

The defense contended that since there was no loss of consciousness, there could not be any brain injury. Also, that since he had never earned wages in the past, that he should not be entitled to any future loss of earnings, or earning capacity.

The defense had a defense neuro-psychological exam done on Mr. Davidson, and the defense psychologist attempted to use a psychological test know as the Fake Bad Scale. The Fake Bad Scale attempts to tell us when people are malingering, or not telling the truth.

We filed a motion to exclude the Fake Bad Scale test because it is junk science. Our motion to throw out this defense evidence of malingering was granted. The court found that the Fake Bad Scale test was not scientific, was unreliable, and was basically a modern lie detector test, and therefore not admissible as evidence.

The trial lasted 4 days. Most of the witnesses were medical doctors who testified about injuries caused by the crash.

The jury was shown a PET scan of the brain, as well as a SPECT scan of the brain. The jury also heard from neurologists, and psychologist that Mr. Davidson had received a "Mild Traumatic Brain Injury" which is difficult to detect, but still a very real injury, that will never improve with time.

Because we made an offer to the defense to settle the case for 25% less than the jury verdict early on, the court awarded the Plaintiff his costs and attorney fees. The total recover for the plaintiff was over $1,500,000.00.

Verdict for the Plaintiff Mitch Stahl $440,000.00, Hillsborough County, Florida

The Defendants were Allstate Insurance Company, BCI Engineers and Scientists, Inc. and Douglas B. Partington

This case was tried by Matthew Powell before a jury in Hillsborough County Florida with the Honorable Frank Gomes as the Circuit Court Judge.

This is a case involving 2 different rear-end collisions. The first crash happened on July 15, 2003. Mitch was stopped for a red light. He was hit from behind at a high rate of speed (approximately 20 mph). His car was severely damaged. The person who caused the crash had only $10,000.00 of liability insurance. Mitch Stahl also had Underinsured Motorist Insurance with his family through Allstate Insurance Company. The claim against the bad driver of the first crash was settled before suit was filed, but Allstate denied any further payment based upon 2 arguments. The first was that Mitch Stahl was not living with his parents at the time of the crash, and therefore was not covered under the policy, and secondly, that Mitch was not hurt bad enough, and the $10,000.00 that he received was enough to fully compensate him for his injuries.

Suit was filed by Matt Powell against Allstate for the injuries suffered by Mitch Stahl. Unfortunately Mitch Stahl was involved in a second rear-end collision on November 1, 2005, just 90 days before the trial was to start against Allstate for the July 15 2003 accident against Allstate. Since Mitch was involved in a second crash, Matthew Powell asked the judge to allow him to amend the complaint, and sue both defendants in one suit. This strategy of suing both parties in one suite effectively prevented each defendant from pointing the blame for Mitch’s injuries on the other crash, which they could have done if each claim was brought by itself.

The second accident facts were that a vehicle driven by a BCI Engineers & Scientists, Inc. employee, Doug Partington hit a pickup truck in the rear, then that truck hit Mitch Stahl’s pickup truck, which was towing a trailer. The property damage to the trailer was minimal, and the property damage to his pickup truck was virtually none, however, the crash injured Mitch Stahl by aggravating his prior injuries.

The defense of the claims was that Mitch Stahl had received his no fault PIP medical bills of $20,000.00, and that since he recovered $10,000.00 from the first wreck, he did not have any damages. The defense also argued that he had a prior back or neck injury, and that he might have a birth defect to his spine called spina bifida.

Mitch Stahl was a self employed automobile car detailer. The defense hired investigators to follow him around, and they obtained video surveillance of him washing and waxing his customers cars for 4 hours.

The medical evidence shown to the jury was that Mitch Stahl had a Digital Motion X-Ray after the 2003 crash, and an MRI, and then another Digital Motion X-ray and MRI of his neck after the 2005 accident. The jury was shown the two different MRI’s of Mitch’s spine and could compare them.

The trial lasted 4 days. At the end of the trial, the jury found that Mitch Stahl did have a permanent injury that was caused by the negligence of the two different drivers. After deducting the $20,000.00 for Mitch’s PIP, and $10,000.00 for the settlement with the first driver, the jury found that Mitch Stahl had suffered a loss of $440,000.00 from both crashes. The jury found that Allstate owed Mitch $205,000.00 for the first crash. This was over Mitch’s policy limits of $25,000.00 by $180,000.00. There was a written offer to settle the case with Allstate for 4,500.00 made during the suit, which caused Allstate to have to pay costs and attorney fees in addition to the judgment of $205,000.00. Allstate agreed to pay the verdict and not take an appeal, in exchange for waiving the costs and attorney fees.

The second part of the case against BCI was a verdict of $240,000.00. An offer to settle with them during the suit was made for $16,000.00, which they rejected. This offer also triggered costs and attorney fees. They chose not to pay the judgment, asked the court for a new trial, or a reduction in the verdict which was denied. This portion of the case is still pending in the appellate court.

Verdict for Plaintiff Mark Severino $1,000,000.00, Hillsborough County, Florida

Defendants were Instantwhip – Tampa, Inc. and Dale Eibert

This case was tried before a jury by Matthew Powell in Hillsborough County Florida before the Honorable James M. Barton, Circuit Judge.

This case stems from a rear end crash that happened on I-4 in Tampa. Mark Severino was driving his company truck for New World News. He delivered newspapers and magazines to bookstores and magazine shops in malls and airports. While he was stopped for traffic on the highway, another truck driven by Dale Eibert who was working for Instant Whip failed to see that traffic had come to a stop, and rear ended Mark’s truck. The defendant claimed that this was a minor fender bender that did not cause anything beyond minimal damage to the bumpers of each truck.

Mark went to his workers compensation doctor that same day. He then went to the hospital for a second opinion. Over the course of a few months the doctors found that he had a small tear to the triangular fibro cartilage in his wrist. He underwent a surgery to correct this condition. He also had continuing neck pain and radiating pain and numbness down his hands and arms. He saw Dr. Frank Gomes, M.D. who found that Mark had herniated discs in his neck. Mark had to have surgery to fix this condition.

Even after the surgeries, Mark was having a difficult time with his memory and concentration. He saw a neurologist Dr. Rosanna Garner, and a neuro-phsycologist Vallerie McClain for treatment. They found that Mark had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury from the crash.

During the jury trial, the defense presented numerous photographs of the back of Mark Severino’s truck and said to the jury that with such minor property damage, there is no way that he could be hurt. The defense called various doctors who testified that Mark did not have a permanent injury, that during the exam of him, that Mark did not try very hard, and insinuated that he did not give full effort at the defense medical exam because he was faking his injuries and just trying to get money. The defense also put into evidence several hours of surveillance video-tape of Mark and his four daughters swimming in a pool.

Despite all of the defense efforts to deny responsibility for Mark’s injuries the jury found that Mark did have a permanent injury, that he had suffered medical expenses, and that his pain and suffering in the future with the ability to earn wages was worth $1,000,000.00.

After the verdict, the defense asked Judge Barton to reduce the verdict, but he said no. That the jury verdict was fair and should be paid. The defense then paid the verdict.

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