Venue: Buchanan County Circuit Court
Date: July 2013
Plaintiff's Attorney: James Montee, The Montee Law Firm, P.C., St. Joseph, MO
Defense Attorney: Confidential
Ankle Fracture Develops Into Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
A Buchanan County, Missouri plaintiff has agreed to a confidential settlement
of her personal injury lawsuit for $2,750,000. On September 11, 2009,
the plaintiff, age 43, was a passenger in a single vehicle accident. The
plaintiff and her husband filed a lawsuit shortly thereafter in Buchanan
County Circuit Court.
As a result of the accident, the plaintiff suffered a severe left ankle
fracture. She underwent multiple surgeries to her ankle, including open
reduction external fixation, irrigation and debridement with the placement
of a wound vac, and removal of the implanted hardware. Eight months after
the accident, plaintiff complained of hypersensitive pain in her left
foot and underwent a neurectomy of her peroneal nerve in the left calf.
In November 2011, the plaintiff underwent left ankle fusion.
In December 2010, the plaintiff began pain management treatment and underwent
multiple invasive procedures for her left ankle pain, sciatic nerve injury
and back pain. Her treatment included lumbar facet injections, left ankle
sensory nerve blocks, lumbar medial nerve branch blocks, and SI joint
injections. As a result of chronic neuropathic pain, the plaintiff underwent
surgery in October 2012 for permanent placement of a spinal cord stimulator.
The plaintiff also claimed that as a result of the accident she developed
depression and cognitive impairments. Discovery in the lawsuit examined
whether these issues were a result of post-concussion syndrome, chronic
pain, or entirely inorganic in nature.
To that end, the plaintiff underwent neuropsychological evaluations on
three occasions with invalid results and disputed interpretations. The
defendants developed a theme that the plaintiff's claims of cognitive
impairment were fabricated or at least exaggerated.
An IME by the defendant's neurologist in December 2012 diagnosed the
plaintiff with complex regional pain syndrome type II. The plaintiffs'
case then focused on this diagnosis as an explanation for the plaintiff's
severe complaints of chronic pain, emotional disturbance, and cognitive problems.
Subsequent to the accident, the plaintiff continued her employment as a
teacher's aide. However, the plaintiff claimed that as a result of
complex regional pain syndrome she would not be able to continue employment
in the future and would be totally disabled as a result of the progressive
nature of complex regional pain syndrome.
The plaintiffs' past paid medical bills nearly totaled $300,000. In
addition, experts on both sides agreed that the future cost to maintain
the spinal cord stimulator, pain management, and prescriptions over the
plaintiff's lifetime would exceed $100,000. The plaintiffs' economist
claimed a loss of household services of $300,000. After mediation, the
plaintiff agreed to a confidential settlement of $2,750,000.