GMR Partner Joe Petka was back in his hometown of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where he won a jury trial involving knee surgery. Mr. Petka defended a motorist who was sued after he rear-ended the plaintiff.
The plaintiff testified that he banged his knee on the dashboard in the collision and had immediate right knee pain. However, following the April 2020 accident, the plaintiff did not seek treatment for ten days. The plaintiff blamed this delay on the Governor shutting the State down because of the COVID Pandemic. The plaintiff presented to a therapist who sent him for an MRI of the knee, which showed a lateral meniscus tear. The plaintiff completed therapy and returned to have the meniscus surgically repaired over two years later. Despite the surgery, the plaintiff continued having knee pain and had a cortisone injection in his knee just months before the trial. The plaintiff did not have any prior history of knee pain.
For the defense, Mr. Petka argued that the knee surgery was unrelated to the accident. He pieced this argument together because the plaintiff did not go to the emergency room or get any treatment until ten days later. Additionally, after the knee MRI and consultation with the knee surgeon a month after the accident, the plaintiff did not return to the surgeon until another year and a half later. Therefore, Mr. Petka argued that some intervening cause likely necessitated the surgery. Finally, Mr. Petka’s medical expert testified that the original MRI did not show a meniscal tear and that the tear operated on 1 ½ years later was unrelated to the accident.
The 12-person Delaware County jury accepted Mr. Petka’s arguments and unanimously found in favor of Mr. Petka’s client after just 30 minutes of deliberation.