Following a two-week trial in Bexar County, Texas, in November 2022, attorneys Oliver Krejs and Lucas Peterson obtained a verdict of less than one percent of Plaintiffs’ request to the jury at trial. 

The underlying low speed, rear end collision occurred when Plaintiffs' vehicle, a 2003 F-150, was stopped at a light. Defendant’s driver, operating a Freightliner 18-wheeler, had come to a stop directly behind them. While stopped, he dropped a piece of paper, reached down for it, and allowed his foot to slip off the brakes. The 18-wheeler idled into the back of the F-150. Plaintiffs,  two males in their 30s, claimed that they had to undergo disc fusion surgeries on their lower backs because of this impact. Past medical bills for Plaintiffs were just shy of $800,000. 

Defendants admitted liability for causing the impact. The sole issue for the jury was the extent of Plaintiffs' damages. Plaintiffs worked as tree-trimmers prior to the impact, and they claimed that their alleged injuries prevented them from working again. Both Plaintiffs gave tearful testimony about the impact and described how the alleged injuries significantly impacted their daily lives. 

To counter these claims, Defendants called Plaintiffs' live-in girlfriends to testify about the alleged life changes. Defendants were able to elicit favorable testimony regarding the extent of the injuries and life impact from both girlfriends. 

San Antonio-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dennis Gutzman performed the laminectomy, discectomy, and lateral fusion surgeries, which involves the insertion of titanium screws into the spine, on both Plaintiffs. Dr. Gutzman testified that his pre-operative examination of both Plaintiffs revealed herniated discs in their lumbar spines, necessitating the surgeries. Dr. Gutzman further stated that he had seen both Plaintiffs' herniated discs during their surgeries. Dr. Gutzman testified that Plaintiffs had permanent restrictions and would need future surgeries to remove the titanium screws from their spines. 

In response to Dr. Gutzman, Defendants called neuro-radiologist Dr. Lenard Nadalo, who guided the jury through radiologic images of both Plaintiffs' spines, explaining in detail why the images did not support Plaintiffs’ acute injury theory. 

Defense biomechanical expert Michael Carhart then explained to the jury that the forces exerted on Plaintiffs were equivalent to the forces exerted on one's spine when hopping or jogging. He discussed studies, which have attempted to identify the impact forces necessary to result in disc herniations and explained why the forces in this impact were so low that it was extremely unlikely either Plaintiff received a disc herniation as a result. 

During closing, Plaintiffs’ counsel asked the jury for $4.25 million. The jury awarded Plaintiffs just $31,000 in total damages.