Woman Accepts $2 Million Settlement for Injuries

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Fresno Woman Gets $2 Million in Settlement for Her Injuries

A woman from Fresno has agreed to a $2 million settlement with DD’s Discounts. The settlement is for an injury that she suffered when a employee from the store, cart had ran over her foot almost two years ago.

Fresno attorney, Jacob Rivas represented Johanna Magana, stated that the agreement was reached at the start of the civil trial at the Fresno County Superior Court. The Potential jurors were told that the corporate officials lost the key evidence. That would mean that they lost the video from the store’s surveillance cameras, which would show the incident.

Jacob Rivas’ statement:

Once the jury found out they were hiding evidence, it didn’t look good for them.

Any efforts to talk to the officials or lawyers for DD’s Discounts were unsuccessful.

Jacob Rivas and Court Documents Explain the Dispute:

On April 5, 2012 Magana and her seven year old daughter had went to DD’s Discounts at the Ashlan and West Avenues to buy and Easter dress. There was a store employee was pushing a metal cart in the store that hit the outside of Magana’s left foot with the cart.

The hit was painful enough that it caused Magana to limp. She went and reported what happened to the store manager. Afterwards she paid for items and left the store.

The next day Magana returned to the store, asking for a copy of the incident report. However, the store official declined her request.  Rivas filed the personal injury lawsuit in July 2012, he then requested for the video as well from the store’s surveillance cameras. That tape should have been able to show the accident from several different angles. However, despite several attempts, the company officials denied having any videotapes showing the incident.

Before the trial, store and corporate employees stated in depositions that the videotape had mysteriously disappeared or destroyed. Whatever the case may be, Rivas declared that he was going to argue that the evidence was “wilfully suppressed”.

 Rivas had asked some of the potential jurors about their views of “suppression of evidence”.  Many of them responded that if evidence isn’t produced, then someone has something to hide. He also explained the extent of  Magana’s injuries and asked what they thought about awarding her for damages. The jurors were open to the idea.

The met cart that hit Magana’s foot weighed around 100 pounds. Magana’s doctors were all ready to testify in her defense, saying that the injury resulted in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is a rare neurological disorder which involve the limbs being disabled by pain, swelling and impairment of motor function.

According to Rivas and his experts,  CRPS is pretty simple to get. You can just slide into second base or twist an ankle and you can get it.  At first Magana treated her pain with some medication and physical therapy. That didn’t work so she had to get injections in her back. Then undergo surgery to her spinal cord.

According to Rivas, Magana’s pain forced her to leave her job. She was a teacher’s aide at the Fresno Unified School District. 

At first, DD’s Discounts lawyers offered her $100,000 to settle. Rivas was seeking around $4 to $5 million. Then, the lawyers for DD’s Discounts upped their offer to $500,000, just a month before the trial and $1.2 million just a day before the jury selection. After the jury learned of the missing tape both sides agreed on $2 million. Magana will need lifelong care according to Rivas.

Daniel A. Gibalevich

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