Amy Anderson wins defense verdict in Federal Court

Tried 5/11/15 – 5/15/15

Plaintiff was driving north on Naperville-Plainfield Rd. with his 14 year old son in the front seat. He was travelling at or near the speed limit of 45 mph as he neared the intersection with Boughton. He could see a large dark van approaching from the opposite direction in the left turn lane. Defendant, the head women’s lacrosse coach at Denison, was in the area recruiting. She was travelling south on Naperville-Plainfield Road behind the dark van with her view of oncoming traffic blocked. The large dark van made a left turn in front of plaintiff’s vehicle as plaintiff’s vehicle entered the intersection and as the light for north and southbound traffic turned yellow. Immediately behind the van was the defendant’s vehicle, also turning left, resulting in an impact in the intersection.

The defense contended that plaintiff was contributorily negligent as he and his son admitted he never applied his brakes at any time before entering the intersection even though he knew the turning van was going to be close. The defense argued that defendant’s actions were reasonable as she was travelling at 20-25 M.P.H and the van she was following made no hesitation or indication of oncoming traffic.

Plaintiff and his son were both kept overnight in the hospital after the accident. The son sought no further treatment. Plaintiff suffered a fracture of the C7 laminate, a right ankle and right knee sprain. Plaintiff further contended that a right ankle surgery performed over a year after the accident, bilateral wrist surgeries performed almost 2 years after the accident, bilateral tennis elbow and ongoing neck pain were related to the accident. Plaintiff’s wife sought loss of consortium.

The defense contended plaintiff’s degenerative condition in his neck is the cause of his continuing neck pain complaints. Further, his years of competitive cycling, including Olympic trials in 2007 led to degenerative conditions in his wrists that required the surgeries in 2014 and the cause of his bilateral tennis elbows. Defense also contended that the ankle surgery in 2013 was not related to the accident as the ligaments found torn, requiring surgical repair were not torn in the accident based on MRIs taken in the months after the accident. The jury awarded less than half of the last settlement offer and found plaintiff 30% at fault.