Recent Trial Decision Details the Importance of Effective Discovery in Litigated Cases
Recently, in De Mora v. Greater Omaha Packing, defended by Dallas Jones, Judge Martin rejected the plaintiff’s claim that her low back condition was caused by an altered gait due to a compensable ankle fracture. Judge Martin rejected the opinions expressed by the plaintiff’s experts, because it did not appear that those experts were aware of the substantial preexisting low back problems from which the plaintiff suffered as late as 5 months before the plaintiff fractured her ankle at work. The defendant disproved that the employee’s assertion that she had engaged in substantial walking while limping, contributing to Judge Martin’s rejection of the plaintiff’s claim. The defendant’s experts prepared extensive reports and fully explained how the plaintiff’s post-accident problems were identical to her pre-accident problems, and the plaintiff’s onset of low back pain 4 months after breaking her ankle was exactly what the physicians would expect from the nature of the plaintiff’s preexisting problems even if her gait was not altered. Prior to trial, the plaintiff asserted entitlement to benefits in excess of $200,000.00. The value of the Award is $0. This decision highlights the importance of ensuring that all preexisting medical records are secured and fully analyzed by credible experts, and that those experts provide well-explained opinions why non-work causes are the more likely explanations for the plaintiff’s presentation of symptoms after the accident. For questions regarding this case or effective use of discovery in workers compensation matters, please contact Dallas Jones at 402-475-1075.