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FEATURED CASE

ECONOMIST’S TESTIMONY HELPS 6-YEAR-OLD PARAPLEGIC WIN $5.5 MILLION IN BENCH VERDICT


Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to show the loss of economic capacity and to calculate the present value of an extensive life care plan for 6 year old paraplegic, Courtney Lorraine Cooper, of New Orleans.

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Case: Darlene Cooper, et al. vs. Mary Darr, et al.

Court: New Orleans Civil District, New Orleans, LA

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Ernest Lee Caulfield, Kim A. Dugas and Maurice A. Williams; New Orleans, LA.

Case Synopsis: On December 18, 1991, Courtney Cooper, a 6- year-old female, was pushed from a playground structure while at school, and was rendered T12-L1 level paraplegic as a result. Plaintiffs contended that the structure was improperly installed and that the area immediately around the structure was improperly maintained by having an insufficient depth of gravel and wood chips.

Defendant’s economist valued the life care plan at $800,000 to $1,100,000 and contended there would be no loss of wages because the child has maintained an IQ of over 120. Robert W. Johnson & Associates valued the life care plan at $3,000,000 and calculated lost wages at $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. 

Attorney Comments: “Your testimony made an experienced and conservative judge very comfortable with the reasonableness of your numbers. In fact, he said your testimony was grounded in common sense and was the most understandable and sincere that he has ever heard from an economic expert.”

Results: The defendants offered $3 million prior to trial. The court assigned 50 percent of the blame to the school board and 50 percent to the firms involved in the installation of the structure. The judge approved a total verdict of $5.5 million which included his award and the prior settlements. The girl’s mother was granted $50,000 plus interest and costs from the time the suit was filed in early 1992.

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