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Mondelli v. Kendel Homes Corp.

With regard to the Mondellis' appeal, we conclude that the district court abused its discretion in excluding the testimony of Drs. Pour and King. This exclusion of evidence was prejudicial error. The district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow joinder of the claims of the Mondelli family.

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Trial is legal surgery, the narrowest specialty, and it requires unique skills. Our clients want our service and hope they never need it again- like surgery.

Mediation Resolves Closed Head Injury

It was a short drive from home to Jenifer’s babysitting job. She knew the road well and was in no hurry. Jenifer waved goodbye to her mother, and departed for what she thought would be a simple, typical, pleasant evening. Little did Jenifer know that her life was about to change unalterably.

Jenifer never reached her babysitting destination. She was driving slowly and carefully. Approaching a turn, she signaled, looked in the mirror, and started to turn. Suddenly, a roaring sound, then a crash. Jenifer heard it, and then lost awareness of her circumstances. She was out for days.

The oncoming driver’s impact speed with the left side of Jenifer’s car was estimated at over 75 mph. The impact tore Jenifer’s car rear axle out from under her car literally leaving her car in pieces.

The Injury

At the hospital, Jenifer’s blood pressure was unstable. Then it fell rapidly. Her respiration rate faltered, and then it too, seemed to halt.

The attending physician bagged Jenifer, instituted emergency measures, and then called for a helicopter. Within 40 minutes, Jenifer was in route to a medical center. There, she was in intensive care for 5 days before her miraculous recovery began.

Within a couple weeks it was clear Jenifer had a closed head injury, but would largely recover by all superficial measurements and appearances. Within a year, Jenifer was again at the top of her class, scoring remarkably well academically, and building a paper trail of success for herself. By the time mediation came at the defendant’s request shortly before trial was scheduled, Jenifer had graduated from high school and won acceptance to a pre-nursing program.

Yet, something was much different in her life. Her personality had changed. Constant conflicts with her siblings, disputes with her parents, and discontent with her circumstances had left Jenifer seemingly bitter, unpleasant, and hard to get along with. Nothing at all about her injuries seemed tangible. But they were.

Insurance Company Inaction

The insurance company thought Jenifer’s circumstances merited a nominal award. Her recovery, it thought, meant all was well. Then, Domina Law pc marshaled the evidence.

Careful case development and attention to detail by attorneys David Domina and Audrea Kappert produced remarkable medical testimony for Jenifer. In a video taped deposition requested by the defense, and under questioning by Domina, neuro-psychologists and physiatrist witnesses described Jenifer’s closed head injury as mild, but distinctly and significantly impactful on her life. Looking forward into Jenifer’s future, Domina and Kappert were able to focus the witnesses on how Jenifer’s personality change, and her difficulty getting along with others, would translate into life long problems. The testimony went something like this:

Do these changes mean, doctor, that Jenifer must be more concerned about compatibility with her mate or her family?
Certainly.

Is this predictable?
Yes.

Does it mean she may even have trouble finding a mate or to have a family?
It will be more difficult, and she will have to be more careful if her relationship is to succeed.

Does this mean everything about Jenifer’s future relationships and activities will be complicated by what has come about here?
Let me put it this way. If I ask you to walk a hundred yards under your normal health circumstances you would have no problem. But if were tied to a heavy metal ball and had to drag it, you could still walk, but it would be harder.

Doctor, do you mean that Jennifer’s mild closed head injury and the impact it will have is the “ball and chain” of her life?
You could certainly say so.

At mediation, Jenifer’s case was settled for an amount dramatically exceeding initial offers, and entirely within expectations held by Jenifer’s parents and Jenifer. As a result, her future looks bright, Jenifer has the funds to equip herself with the tools she needs to cope with her known impairment.

Advocacy-in the courtroom and at mediation-makes a difference.

Categories: Personal Injury

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