GMR Wins Jury Trial with Traumatic Brain Injury Claim in Delaware County, Pennsylvania

GMR Partner Eamon Merrigan prevailed in a high-verdict-potential general liability claim in which the plaintiff presented four experts alleging that she sustained a traumatic brain injury due to the defendants’ negligence. Eamon’s clients hired the plaintiff to clean their home every two weeks and had been doing so for several months before the alleged incident. The plaintiff claims she always used the hinged door in the garage to exit the home. The plaintiff alleges that as she was leaving on July 5, 2016, she opened the hinged garage door, and it came into contact with two metal beach chairs hanging on the wall nearby, causing them to fall and strike her in the forehead. However, she admitted during the trial that she had never seen the chairs at any point before they fell, not even on the date of their alleged incident, as she approached and opened the door at issue.

Plaintiff was diagnosed with a mild concussion/minor traumatic brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, and cervical spine sprain and strain. She claimed that she has experienced chronic headaches, blurred vision, cognitive dysfunction, and neck pain ever since. She presented the testimony of her treating neurologist, treating optometrist, and treating pain management specialist, as well as the testimony of a neuropsychologist, who was a hired expert. They all testified that the plaintiff’s traumatic brain injury and related symptoms were caused by the alleged incident at issue and had become permanent. However, they all also conceded that no objective testing results showed any brain injury and that the vast majority of people who suffer mild concussion/mild traumatic brain injury experience complete resolution of symptoms within several weeks to several months of the injury.

Eamon focused on the plaintiff’s burden to prove her claims. He argued that, as to liability, she could not even tell the jury how the incident happened without speculating and that if she did not know how it happened, there was no way that the jury could. As to damages, he argued that her claims were based purely on subjective complaints. Ultimately, 11 of the 12 jurors found that the plaintiff did not prove that Eamon’s clients were negligent and entered a verdict in their favor.