Cumberland County Jury Awards $486,000.00
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Bridgeton, New Jersey: A Cumberland County Jury returned a verdict of $486,000.00 in favor of a 35-year-old Millville resident for injuries she sustained in a car accident on April 20, 2004. Hence, the verdict was rendered after three days of trial before the Honorable Michael Brooke Fisher, JSC.
Louis J. DeVoto of Rossetti & DeVoto, P.C. in Cherry Hill represented the plaintiff.
What Happened in the Car Accident?
Joanne Saduk was seriously injured on April 20, 2004 when the car she was driving was struck in the rear at a high rate of speed while stopped to make a left turn onto South Street from Delsea Drive in Port Elizabeth. “The force of the crash was significant blowing out the rear window and causing a lot of damage. Even the defendant was knocked out for a period of time,” stated DeVoto.
Ambulance transported Saduk to the hospital and has been under medical care since for unrelenting back pain and right leg pain. After seeing her family doctor in follow-up she was referred to a local chiropractor, James Beebe, DC. Dr. Beebe treated Joanne for 5 months but despite the treatment, the pain continued. Then, tests done to determine whether an orthopedic injury was sustained were negative. That’s when her doctors began suspecting the worst, said DeVoto.
Afterward, the doctors referred her to a sensory nerve specialist to see if a malfunction of the sensory nervous system caused the pain. After clinical exams and more tests, Joanne was finally diagnosed with having a Sympathetically Mediated Pain Syndrome from an injury to the sensory nervous system. Her treating doctor, Philip Getson, D.O. specializes in recognizing and treating the disorder. He opined that the crash caused the condition, was incurable and only medications could control it. While not brought out at trial, DeVoto confirmed that the medical literature supported the causal relationship and the testing that was done to confirm the diagnosis.
It was undisputed that Joanne had never had any prior problems to her back nor had she had any degenerative aging problems. Saduk testified at trial that she has constant pain in the low back that radiated into the right leg. She was out of work by doctors’ orders for eight months following the crash and has only returned with modifications. Her daily life has been a struggle especially having to care for her young son and doing routine tasks such as housework and yard work.
However, the defense claimed that the testing done was not objective. “What they couldn’t explain,” stated DeVoto, “was what was causing the pain that she felt and every treating doctor confirmed with their examinations. It was clear that the jury believed Joanne who was pleased with the jury’s verdict.”
Judge Fisher molded the verdict to $450,000 to account for the wage disability payments that Joanne had received through her employer’s disability plan and in order to prevent any double recovery on the wage loss.
Joanne Saduk v. James Huckleberry CUM-L-000122-06
Attorney for plaintiff:
Louis J. DeVoto
ROSSETTI & DEVOTO, P.C.
20 Brace Road, Suite 115
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Attorney for defendant:
Hal Thomasson, Esquire
David B. Wright & Associates
3000 Atrium Way, Suite 310
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054