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Stevenson v. Serth

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

March 25, 2015

ANDRE STEVENSON
v.
SANDRA MARIE T. SERTH AND TRAVELERS CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 708-000, DIVISION " L" . HONORABLE DONALD A. ROWAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING.

AFFIRMED.

TIM L. FIELDS, ATTORNEY AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

MICHAEL R. ZSEMBIK, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Metairie, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and Hans J. Liljeberg.

OPINION

HANS J. LILJEBERG

Page 613

[14-846 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] In this personal injury case, the trial court rendered a judgment in accordance with the jury's verdict, dismissing plaintiff's case with prejudice. Plaintiff filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (" JNOV" ) or, alternatively, for a new trial, which was denied by the trial court. Plaintiff appeals the denial of this motion. For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case arises from a motor vehicle accident that occurred on November 26, 2010. Plaintiff, Andre Stevenson, contends that he was stopped in a gas station parking lot, waiting to drive onto Veterans Memorial Boulevard in the eastbound direction, when a Chrysler PT Cruiser driven by defendant, Sandra Serth, ran a red light and struck a Nissan Maxima, causing the Maxima to strike plaintiff's vehicle. Mr. Stevenson claims that he suffered neck and back injuries as a result of the collision.

On November 3, 2011, Mr. Stevenson filed this lawsuit against Ms. Serth and her insurer, Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America (" Travelers" ), asserting that Ms. Serth's negligence caused the accident and that she and [14-846 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] Travelers are liable for the damages he sustained. A jury trial was held on February 12, 2014.

At trial, Mr. Stevenson testified that his neck and back were injured in the accident and that he went to Louisiana Primary Care for medical treatment three days after the accident and continued to receive treatment there through July 7, 2011. Mr. Stevenson stated that his neck and back did not improve with the treatment he received, so he was referred to have MRIs of his neck and back. Dr. Glorioso, the radiologist who reviewed plaintiff's cervical MRI performed on May 24, 2011, indicated in his report that Mr. Stevenson has two bulging discs, one at C3-C4 and one at C6-C7. The radiologist who reviewed plaintiff's lumbar MRI, Dr. Shore, indicated in his report dated November 11, 2011, that " [f]indings are consistent with small annular tear in the posterior aspect of the L3-4 disc."

Mr. Stevenson started treating with Dr. David Wyatt, an orthopedist, on August 16, 2012, for his neck and back pain. Mr. Stevenson stated that Dr. Wyatt gave him epidural steroid injections twice in his back and once in his neck. According to Mr. Stevenson, he did not have any pain before the accident, but he has had neck and back pain since the accident, though the pain differs from day to day.

On cross-examination, Mr. Stevenson admitted that his treatment at Louisiana Primary Care only consisted of hot or cold compresses on his neck, electro-stimulation or vibration to his neck and back, and use of an exercise bicycle. He was also provided with a back brace. Mr. Stevenson acknowledged that after he saw Dr. Wyatt in May of 2013, he did not return to see him again until October of 2013, though Dr. Wyatt's records indicate he asked him to return in a ...


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