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Milton, Leach, Whitman, D'Andrea & Eslinger, P.A., a general litigation law firm located in Jacksonville, FL, is pleased to announce that attorney  Joshua A. Whitman obtained a $5.2 million verdict in favor of his client, the plaintiff.

This action involved a dramatic accident in which a vehicle crashed through the doors of a hotel lobby and pinned the plaintiff against a wall. The plaintiff, a resident of Southern California, brought suit against the valet parker who had custody of the vehicle as well as his employer. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant valet parker negligently left the car running in reverse and then negligently pressed the accelerator, rather than the brake. The defendants stipulated to negligence and the case was tried on the issue of damages only.

The plaintiff, age 54 at the time, was exiting the lobby of a hotel and was entering the valet area. Evidence showed that the defendant valet parker, in the course and scope of his employment with the defendant parking corporation, left a car outside the hotel running in "reverse" instead of "park." As the car began rolling backward, the defendant valet parker jumped into the vehicle in an attempt to stop it. However, the defendant accidentally stepped on the car's accelerator, rather than the brake. The car crashed through the lobby doors and into the hotel lobby, striking the plaintiff and pinning him against a wall. Evidence showed that the plaintiff was trapped behind the wreckage for approximately 30 minutes before rescue workers could release him. The jury saw video evidence from the hotel surveillance cameras of both the impact and the extraction.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with a pelvic crush injury resulting in permanent neurological and vascular damage. He testified that he continues to suffer pain and muscle weakness in his hip and right leg, which limits his physical activities. The plaintiff was also diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and depression which his experts causally related to the incident and related injuries. The plaintiff claimed past medical expenses exceeding $200,000.

At the time of injury, the plaintiff was employed as the general manager for a national chain of high end steakhouses earning more than $100,000 per year. The plaintiff contended that he attempted to return to work, but could last only seven months in his prior position due to his pain and physical limitations. The plaintiff's vocational expert opined that the plaintiff is no longer gainfully employable. The plaintiff's economist calculated the plaintiff's past loss of earnings to be nearly $200,000 and his future loss of earning capacity to be in excess of $1million.

The defendants contested the nature, extent and permanency of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the incident. The defense introduced a surveillance video of the plaintiff which the defense contended contradicted his claimed physical limitations.

The jury awarded the plaintiffs $5,200,000 in damages comprised of $4,900,000 to the plaintiff and $300,000 to his wife for her loss of consortium claim. The defendants' post-trial motions were recently denied.

Plaintiff's neurologist/biomedical expert: Richard Boehme from Jacksonville, FL.

Plaintiff's physical medicine/rehabilitation expert: Jeff Johns from Jacksonville, FL.

Plaintiff's life care expert: Michael Lobatz from Encinitas, CA.

Plaintiff's radiology expert: Luis Jorge from Jacksonville, FL Plaintiff's psychology expert: Robert Steiber from La Jolla, CA.

Plaintiff's physical therapy expert: Lupita Trullijo from Jacksonville, FL.

Plaintiff's urology expert: Irwin Goldstein from San Diego, CA.

Plaintiff's vocational/rehabilitation expert: Len Matheson from St. Louis, MO.

Plaintiff's economic expert: Bernard Pettingill from Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

Plaintiff's psychiatric expert: Cal Collarusso from La Jolla, CA.

Plaintiff's orthopedic surgeon: Ward Brooks from Fallbrook, CA.

Defendant's neurologist: Daniel Kantor from Jacksonville, FL.

The plaintiff obviously bore no culpability or comparative negligence in this action involving a car crashing through a hotel lobby and pinning him against a wall. Unfortunately, the plaintiff just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and the defense had no grounds on which to dispute the negligence of the defendant valet parker.

Thus, with damages being the only issue at trial, the main focus of the defense centered on the introduction of video surveillance of the plaintiff. The defense suggested that the plaintiff's actions in the video were inconsistent with his testimony and that he was embellishing his pain and limitations.

However, the plaintiff called a number of medical experts in multiple disciplines to elaborate the extent of the plaintiff's permanent neurological and vascular damage.

In the end, the jury was apparently not persuaded by the surveillance video and awarded the plaintiff a substantial $5.2 million in damages.

For more information on Milton, Leach, Whitman, D'Andrea & Eslinger, please visit or the International Society of Primerus Law Firms.