Nancy Rivera v. Sofa Mart, LLC, et al.
Partner Jaime A. Saenz and Associate Victor Rodriguez, Jr. defended Sofa Mart, LLC and its employee Gabriel Gonzalez in a case involving an automobile accident that occurred when an armchair chair fell onto the expressway. Mr. Gonzalez, a salesman for Sofa Mart, was transporting the recliner from one Sofa Mart location to another Sofa Mart location in his personal pickup truck on his day off from work. The recliner fell out of the bed of the truck onto the expressway. Plaintiff was driving her 2007 Ford Expedition behind Mr. Gonzalez and took evasive action to avoid hitting the recliner. A third vehicle, a 1994 Ford Ranger, also took evasive action and successfully avoided the recliner but collided with Plaintiff’s Ford Expedition. Both vehicles sustained minor damages. Plaintiff, 37 years old at the time of the accident, claimed debilitating injuries to her lower back resulting in surgery in her lumbar spine that included a laminectomy and discectomy at L5-S1, a laminotomy and foraminotomy at L4-L5, and a lateral fusion at the L5-S1 level with hardware placement. Due to continued complaints of pain, Plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon recommended a second surgery to remove the hardware at L5-S1, and to perform a fusion and discectomy at L4-5. Trial on the merits began on March 18, 2013, and concluded on May 23, 2013. Plaintiff asked for $2 million plus punitive damages. The jury deliberated for nine hours and returned a verdict for the Plaintiff in the amount of $652,371.95. The parties settled the case prior to the entry of final judgment.