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Bridgeton, New Jersey.: A Cumberland County Jury returned a verdict of $486,000.00 in favor of a 35 year old Millville resident for injuries she sustained in a car accident on April 20, 2004. The verdict was rendered after three days of trial before the Honorable Michael Brooke Fisher, JSC.
The plaintiff was represented by Louis J. DeVoto of Rossetti & DeVoto, P.C. in Cherry Hill.
Joanne Saduk was seriously injured on April 20, 2004 when the car she was driving was struck in the rear at a high rate of speed while stopped to make a left turn onto South Street from Delsea Drive in Port Elizabeth. "The force of the crash was significant blowing out the rear window and causing a lot of damage. Even the defendant was knocked out for a period of time," stated DeVoto.
Saduk was transported by ambulance to the hospital and has been under medical care since for unrelenting back pain and right leg pain. After seeing her family doctor infollow-up she was referred to a local chiropractor, James Beebe, DC. Dr. Beebe treated Joanne for 5 months but despite the treatment, the pain continued. Tests done to determine whether an orthopedic injury was sustained were negative. That's when her doctors began suspecting the worst, said DeVoto. She was referred to a sensory nerve specialist to see if the pain was being caused by a malfunction of the sensory nervous system. After clinical exams and more tests, Joanne was finally diagnosed with having a Sympathetically Mediated Pain Syndrome from an injury to the sensory nervous system. Her treating doctor, Philip Getson, D.O. specializes in recognizing and treating the disorder. He opined that the condition was caused by the crash, was incurable and could only be controlled with medications. While not brought out at trial, DeVoto confirmed that the medical literature supported the causal relationship and the testing that was done to confirm the diagnosis.
It was undisputed that Joanne had never had any prior problems to her back nor had she had any degenerative aging problems. Saduk testified at trial that she has constant pain in the low back that radiated into the right leg. She was out of work by doctors' orders for eight months following the crash and has only returned with modifications. Her daily life has been a struggle especially having to care for her young son and doing routine tasks such as housework and yard work.
The defense claimed that the testing done was not objective. "What they couldn't explain, stated DeVoto, was what was causing the pain that she felt and every treating doctor confirmed with their examinations. It was clear that the jury believed Joanne who was pleased with the jury's verdict."
The verdict was molded by Judge Fisher to $450,000 to account for the wage disability payments that Joanne had received through her employers' disability plan and in order to prevent any double recovery on the wage loss.
Joanne Saduk v. James Huckleberry CUM-L-000122-06
Attorney for plaintiff:
Attorney for defendant: Louis J. DeVoto
ROSETTI & DEVOTO, P.C. 20 Brace Road, Suite 115 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Hal Thomasson, Esquire
David B. Wright & Associates 3000 Atrium Way
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054