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March 2015

Gordon & Rees Team Prevails in Personal Injury Claim

A true Gordon & Rees team effort recently resulted in a personal injury plaintiff being forced to dismiss her suit. The client operates a nationwide chain of health clubs with high-end amenities such as full-service spas, Pilates and boxing studios, and personal trainers. The plaintiff sued for negligence, alleging that her personal trainer “overstretched” her leg to the point of “tearing the ligament from the bone.”

The claim was suspicious from the start because there were no records that the plaintiff was at the club on the date she claimed the injury. Plaintiff’s deposition testimony, however, was quite specific on certain details of how the training session went, but she had selective inability to recall certain other key details. Following plaintiff’s deposition, the Gordon & Rees team, consisting of partners Robert Bragalone and Kenneth Perri, and senior counsel Ryan Fellman, discovered an unproduced medical record suggesting that the plaintiff was concealing the true cause of her injury – a fall. After an independent expert orthopedist opined that the stretch described by the plaintiff could not have caused her injury, the client adopted a “no pay” position for the claim.

Gordon & Rees persisted in an aggressive strategy to force plaintiff to prove her case and to expose the bias of her employer. Plaintiff identified her employer as the only eyewitness to her injury, but a suspicion of plaintiff’s romantic relationship with him, despite his marriage to another woman, cast serious doubt on his testimony. When the plaintiff and her employer both refused to answer deposition questions regarding their relationship, Gordon & Rees filed a motion to compel, which the judge granted. With the court-ordered deadline to testify regarding the romantic relationship on the horizon, the client maintained the “no pay” position, which allowed the Gordon & Rees team to force the dismissal of plaintiff’s lawsuit for no payment.

Robert A. Bragalone
B. Ryan Fellman
Kenneth S. Perri