$470,000 – AUTO ACCIDENT

posted in: Case Results 0



Rear-ender — Truck

Driver underwent two multilevel cervical fusions






Claudia Murray v. Houston Shutters, LLC and Mario A. Picado, No. 2013-01954


Harris County District Court, 125th, TX


Kyle Carter



Eric D. Nielsen, The Nielsen Law Firm PC, Houston, TX


Karl D. Drews, Cooper, Jackson & Boanerges, Houston, TX (Justin Lee Johnson (settled))
Bruce C. Gaible, LeClairRyan, Houston, TX (Houston Shutters LLC, Mario A. Picado)
Shannon R. Ramirez, LeClairRyan, Houston, TX (Houston Shutters LLC, Mario A. Picado)

On July 17, 2012, plaintiff Claudia Murray, 55, was in a vehicle stopped at a stoplight on Highway 105 in Montgomery County. Mario A. Picado, operating a truck in the course and scope of his employment with Houston Shutters LLC, rear-ended her. Murray claimed neck injuries. Murray sued Picado for negligently failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to control his speed, following too closely, and failing to brake or turn to avoid the collision.

She sued Houston Shutters on a theory of respondeat superior.

Picado and Houston Shutters stipulated that Picado’s negligence was a proximate cause of the accident, but they disputed the nature, extent and causation of Murray’s injuries.

In addition, Picado and Houston Shutters pointed out that, on Oct. 17, 2012, three months after her accident with Picado, Murray was rear-ended by Justin Lee Johnson. Picado and Houston Shutters argued that Johnson’s negligence was the sole proximate cause of Murray’s injuries, if any, on or after Oct. 17, and they designated him as a responsible third party. Murray then added Johnson as a defendant.

Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Picado alone was responsible for Murray’s injuries or, in the alternative, that he was at least 90 percent responsible.

In November 2014, while represented by her prior attorney, Murray settled with Johnson in mediation for $25,000. The case went to trial on Murray’s claims against Picado and Houston Shutters only.


aggravation of pre-existing condition; fusion, cervical, two-level; hardware implanted; neck; pins/rods/screws

Murray claimed that the Picado accident aggravated pre-existing, age-related degenerative conditions and a previously undiagnosed congenitally small spine.

Most of Murray’s treatment, including two multilevel cervical fusions with placement of steel rods, took place after the Johnson accident.

However, she claimed that she started searching for an orthopedic surgeon to operate on her before the Johnson accident.