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William Rivard and Jeff Schultz Obtain Summary Disposition Based on Lack of Threshold Injury in Automobile Negligence Case

Harvey Kruse lawyers William F. Rivard and Jeffrey G. Schultz recently obtained Summary Disposition in a case against their client, and MSJ Automotive Trading, LLC, for alleged injuries the plaintiff suffered in an automobile accident. The attorneys contended that Plaintiff received no threshold injuries in the automobile accident and that it did not affect her pre-injury activities, as Plaintiff alleged in her complaint.

The plaintiff, Cicily Johnson, alleged that she injured her back and neck when she exited a driveway and made a left turn, colliding with the vehicle driven by defendant Sharon Marie Gardner, an employee of defendant MSJ Automotive Trading, LLC. At the accident scene, Plaintiff stated to the police officers that she had not been injured, she had been wearing her seatbelt, and the airbags did not deploy. Despite her statements that she had not been injured, she was still taken to the hospital for evaluation, where she was found to have not been injured. However, three days after the accident, she went to a pain specialist instead of her primary care physician.

In her complaint against Ms. Gardner and MSJ Automotive Trading, LLC, which owned the vehicle Ms. Gardner was driving, Plaintiff alleged she had suffered “serious and disabling injuries to her skeletal system, nervous system, and the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and tissues of her legs, feet, knees, and other parts of her body, as well as serious and disabling injuries which required surgical intervention.”

Although she had never been diagnosed with back or neck trauma, Plaintiff underwent four MRIs, two of her cervical spine and two of her thoracic spine. The plaintiff claimed she had an “altered signal intensity” on a thoracic spine MRI and she had to see a psychologist for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All the MRIs were unremarkable, except one indicated some degenerative discs at T-12 unrelated to the accident.

Attorneys Rivard and Schultz filed a Motion for Summary Disposition to dismiss the case. Mr. Rivard and Mr. Schultz argued that the plaintiff failed to show a threshold injury caused by the accident and that her pre-accident activities had not changed in any way due to the accident but by her own choice.

The court agreed with attorneys Rivard and Schultz and granted their motion for summary disposition, ruling that the plaintiff had been unable to establish an objective manifestation of any impairment or injuries caused by the injury and had therefore not met her burden of proving a threshold injury.