Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to provide economic testimony in quantifying the present cash value of future lost earnings.
Location: San Francisco, California
Case: Dr. Doe v. White General Contractor Company, et al.
Court: San Francisco Superior Court.
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Cynthia Bernet-McGuinn and Miles B. Cooper of the Law Offices of William L. Veen, San Francisco, California.
Judge: Hon. Donald Mitchell.
Case Synopsis: On February 28, 2001, Dr. Doe, an orthopedic resident, was attending an orthopedic surgery convention in San Francisco. As he and some colleagues were walking on the sidewalk near the corner of Third Street and Mission in front of the Argent Hotel, a 2 ft. by 8 ft. piece of ¾ inch plywood, weighing about 40 pounds, fell from a 22-story high rise construction project across the street. The board struck Dr. Doe, barely missing his head but striking him on the left shoulder with sufficient force to knock him to the ground. As a result of this event, Dr. Doe suffered severe bruising and a stretching of the nerves in his brachial plexus, the branch of nerves which extend through the shoulder from the cervical spine and provide control to the muscles of the left shoulder, arm and hand. Dr. Doe was taken to the emergency room at San Francisco General Hospital and then released. He returned to work with no missed time. The total cost of his medical treatment was $2,000.
Gradually, the injured nerves resulted in a wasting injury of small muscles in his back.
Dr. Doe lost some grip strength, and ability to hold heavy objects for prolonged periods, in his left arm. Dr. Doe had been an above average resident, and his earnings in his first three years of practice grew from $95,000 to over $400,000. This financial performance was well above the median for a surgeon of Dr. Doe’s experience. His treating doctors and experts testified that he had a mild brachial plexus injury and that he suffered a loss in his earning capacity as a result of his inability to perform certain types of surgeries. Dr. Doe will be relegated to the earnings level of either an instructor ($125,000) or a part-time general surgeon ($204,500). Defendants asserted that he had either residual injuries from a dislocated shoulder in high school or carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of his surgical practice and had no loss of earning capacity.