Jury Verdict Update: Record $10 Million Verdict for CRPS

milk-crate-1-1481770A recent Cook County jury verdict proves why every claims examiner and attorney sits up and takes notice when a plaintiff claims complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

In September, 2016 a jury in Cook County awarded a record verdict of $10 million to a plaintiff who was hit by a dolly and developed CRPS. According to Jury Verdict Reporter, the last highest CRPS verdict in Cook County was for $9,858,000 in 2008.  The facts of the recent case are as follows:

  • The plaintiff was picking up a prescription at a convenient store.
  • A vendor of the store was pushing a two-wheeled dolly through the store.
  • The vendor overloaded the dolly so the merchandise rose over his head and blocked his view.
  • The product on the dolly weighed over 350 lbs.
  • As the vendor pushed the dolly through the store so he could stock the product, he struck the plaintiff from behind.

The plaintiff claimed the impact caused significant traumatic bruising to the back of her right calf and she eventually developed CRPS in the right leg. The plaintiff also claimed the CRPS spread to her left leg.

The plaintiff’s alleged symptoms included persistent burning sensations in both legs and feet. Her treatment included high doses of morphine and the implantation of a spinal cord electrical stimulator to help alleviate the pain.

The plaintiff was a dentist and claimed the injuries forced her to work part-time. She also claimed her lifestyle was impacted because she could no longer hike, scuba dive or perform as a Japanese dancer.

The defendant vendor company admitted negligence during trial and initially asserted the plaintiff was contributorily negligent, but dropped that allegation before closing arguments. Regarding damages, the defense argued the incident was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff did not have CRPS, the plaintiff was exaggerating her symptoms, the plaintiff was addicted to opioids and her ongoing complaints were caused by opioid-induced nerve damage.

One interesting note about this case, according to the Cook County Clerk’s Website, the plaintiff did not sue the retail store where this incident took place, just the vendor.