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Our VerdictsMr.DiPino’s Cervical Fusion and Fibromyalgia Case

February 5, 2019

On January 4, 2014, Barbara Wilke drove her car south bound on Southwest Highway proceeding on a green light. Phil Johnson, a self employed truck driver, headed east on the intersecting street. His brakes failed as he tried to slow for his red light. Mr. Johnson’s truck broadsided Ms. Wilke’s car on the passenger side. She claimed aggravation of her pre-existing fibromyalgia and neck injuries leading to a cervical fusion. She filed suit against Mr. Johnson and adduced medical evidence showing approximately $671,000 in medical bills and an inability to work after her physicians put her on social security disability. After obtaining all the medical records and deposing 8 of her physicians, Mr. DiPino engage Dr. Martin Lanoff to review the medical records and deposition testimony. The defense contended that the plaintiff’s cervical fusion was unrelated to the accident with Mr. Johnson, her fibromyalgia was in fact not aggravated by the accident, and that her injury was solely a neck strain. Plaintiff demanded Mr. Johnson’s $2 million in coverage. The defense offered $50,000. The parties agreed to submit the case to a binding arbitration before Judge Michael Panter of ADR Systems Inc. After a lengthy arbitration in which all parties and medical witnesses testified, counsel for Ms. Wilke asked for $3.1 million dollars. The defense disputed the causal relationship of the injuries to the accident and urged an award of $40,000. After several days of deliberation, Judge Panter returned an award of $125,000.