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FEATURED CASE

ECONOMIST QUANTIFIES AND LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR SUPPORTS AMPUTEE'S DAMAGE; VERDICT: $22,000,000


Economist quantifies lost wages, benefits and future medical expenses for unemployed amputee. LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR validates loss of enjoyment of life damages.

Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to (a) present testimony that would assist the jury in quantifying the economic impact of the amputation of one leg and the degloving of the other leg and (b) prepare a Life Activity Calendar that would graphically illustrate how the injury has changed the plaintiff’s life.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Case: Pogosyan,, et al., v. Southern California Rapid Transit Division, et al.

Court: Los Angeles County California Superior Court, NO. BCO70359

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Brian J. Panish, Brown Greene (Greene, Broillet, Taylor & Wheeler - Santa Monica) and Robert S. Shtofman (Law Offices of Robert S. Shtoman - Los Angeles, California).

Case Synopsis: Mrs. Lusik Pogosyan, a 45-year-old mother, was getting into her car after finishing an "English as a Second Language" class. She was struck by a vehicle involved in a police pursuit. The Plaintiff suffered a left leg amputation through the knee, a degloving of the right leg and crushing injuries to her pelvis and other areas.

Expert Testimony: Robert W. Johnson testified that, (a) assuming Mrs. Pogosyan would have become a teacher, the present value of her lost earnings and benefits was $521,000 and (b) because of the fact that medical expenses are rising faster than interest rates, the present value of Mrs. Pogosyan's future medical expenses would be $2,753,000. For closing argument, a colorcoded Life Activity Calendar, illustrating the negative impact to the quality of her life after the injury, was prepared on the actual testimony of Mrs. Pogosyan and her family. The near total elimination of her normal activities with her children, church and homemaking tasks were documented and graphically demonstrated by the Life Activity Calendar.

Results: Prior to trial the defense originally accepted plaintiff’s demand of $435,000 but later denied it. Then at the beginning of trial the defense offered $500,000. The jury returned a verdict of $22,000,000 which included $3,250,000 in economic (lost wages and medical expenses) damages and $17,000,000 in general damages.

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Attorney’s Comments: "Damages were difficult because the plaintiff was both unemployed at the time of the accident and was taking "English as a Second Language" to qualify for a job. The presentation by Robert Johnson of her lost earnings capacity gave the jury a logical, rational and understandable way to quantify these difficult areas of damages.

"During cross examination, Mr. Johnson’s answers were so succinct, direct and complete that the defense attorney couldn't even look him in the eye.  The Life Activity Calendar powerfully validated the plaintiff’s family testimony so well that the defense offered no rebuttal."

Hint: Using the Life Activity Calendar as demonstrative evidence during cross examination is a highly effective tool for discrediting a defense theory as well as providing crucial corroborating evidence supporting your case. Attorneys should not overlook the persuasive power of graphic presentations (such as the Life Activity Calendar) to a jury, especially when its accuracy can be verified by the opponent's own witness.