$2.75 Million Settlement
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
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
A Buchanan County, Missouri plaintiff has agreed to a confidential settlement of her personal injury lawsuit for $2,750,000. On September 11, 2009 plaintiff, age 43, was a passenger in a single vehicle accident. Plaintiff and her husband filed a lawsuit shortly thereafter in Buchanan County Circuit Court.
As a result of the accident, plaintiff suffered a severe left ankle fracture. Plaintiff underwent multiple surgeries to her ankle including open reduction external fixation, irrigation and debridement with 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 plaintiff underwent left ankle fusion.
In December 2010 plaintiff began pain management treatment and underwent multiple invasive procedures for her left ankle pain, sciatic nerve injury and back pain. Plaintiff's 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, plaintiff underwent surgery in October 2012 for permanent placement of a spinal cord stimulator.
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.
Plaintiff underwent neuropsychological evaluations on three occasions with invalid results and disputed interpretations. Defendants developed a theme that plaintiff's claims of cognitive impairment were fabricated or at least exaggerated.
An IME by defendant's neurologist in December 2012 diagnosed plaintiff with complex regional pain syndrome type II. Plaintiffs' case then focused on this diagnosis as an explanation for plaintiff's severe complaints of chronic pain, emotional disturbance and cognitive problems.
Subsequent to the accident, plaintiff continued her employment as a teacher's aide. However, 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.
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 plaintiff's lifetime would exceed $100,000. Plaintiffs' economist claimed a loss of household services of $300,000. After mediation, plaintiffs agreed to a confidential settlement of $2,750,000 and confidentiality as to all parties and defense representation.